Thursday 31 January 2013

Four More Broadspeed replicas

You know there may have been more attempts to replicate the Broadspeed GT than Broadspeed ever built cars. Several of these can be seen here, some of them better than others. But what I personally find surprising is that half of them were instigated in Australia. Are the Australians bigger fans of the fastback Mini then the Brits? This one was for sale over there a while ago, but it doesn't stop there. Recently I have tracked down more Broadspeed GT replicas, and believe it or not but all of them are from Down Under. 

1. In the first place there was one racer back in the late 1960s which clearly seemed Broadspeed inspired. Thanks to Tim Lamb I understand it was built by a chap named Leigh Siebler who raced it at Phillip Island, Victoria in '68 and who supposedly christened it the 'Lomin'. It's unclear whether it survives, and the only picture that I've seen is a particarly blurry one. Any more details would be welcome.

The Lomin looks to be Broadspeed GT inspired. It was built by Leigh Siebler
Picture via Tim Lamb

2. Secondly, I was sent a picture of a somewhat mysterious car that's in New Zealand and which, again, appears to be inspired (loosely at least) by the infamous Broadspeed Mini. I have no information other then that it looks to be a racing car, backed by Lee Motors in Matamata. UPDATE, see below.

Other then most, this Broadspeed replica looks much more modern in its looks
Picture via Pete Flanagan

3. Then we have a bit of a hero. It's Nathan Wilson of Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, who is currently building an all-steel replica himself. He has been able to use not one but two of the remaining Brian Foley built Broadspeed GTs as an example and seems to be doing a cracking job. I hope to tell you more about Nathan's ventures in the near future.

Based on a Mini, Nathan Wilson is building his Broadspeed GT replica, all from steel
Picture courtesy Nathan Wilson

4. Finally there's a car that is offered for sale by a company called Classic Throttle in Sydney. According to them it was based on a 1970 Mini Cooper S and "was commissioned in 1991 and built off the original plans. It is an exact replica of the official Broadspeed", which seems much of an exaggeration to me. In fact the rear of this almond green car, with its opening boot, looks in a way similar to the Lee Motors car. See the ad (it's priced at 44,995 Australian dollars - just under 30,000 GBP, oh yes) here.

Despite using Singer Gazelle lights, this rear is clearly very different to the original
Picture courtesy Classic Throttle
According to seller it is based on a 1970 Cooper 'S', with the conversion dating to 1991
Picture courtesy Classic Throttle
Seller states "It has the über cool Broadspeed style dash" - I do not agree
Picture courtesy Classic Throttle

UPDATE 1 FEBRUARY 2013: Friend of this blog Lee Norman, who runs Minibitz in Henderson, New Zealand, comments: "Hi Jeroen, just been checking out the latest post on your blog. I think I’m right in saying that the Lee Motors car was built by a guy from Hamilton, NZ named Chris Teesdale who is a customer of mine. The car runs a G13B Suzuki engine hence the name he gave it of “Minzuki”. I believe he sold the car off to the USA quite a number of years ago. He is or was a US dealer who imported a lot of NZ cars into the US. The car does pop up on forums from time to time. I’m sure I saw it recently advertised. The steel replica that’s still in progress looks awesome! I’m looking forward to seeing more of that. As for the almond green car......oh dear!! All the best, Lee". Thanks for that, pal!

UPDATE 21 February 2014: More Broadspeed GT replicas on their way! (click here)

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Lovely ladies - quirky Quasars

Why is it that some of world's weirdest vehicles seem to attract the loveliest girls? You may remember the Quasar Unipower - driven by French actress Mireille Darc here (click!). She wasn't on her own. Over the years I'd amassed several more shots of girls in Quasar Unipowers, but now that I was sent another two of one such crazy cube (with in it the particularly lovely Jenny Hopkirk - yes, she's married to that Irish bloke), I thought the time had come to show some of them. Enjoy, and keep them coming in.

Mobile shopping window. This press shot was taken right before the car's '68 launch in London
Picture archive Jeroen Booij 
Perfect London transport? Perhaps not if you get sandwiches in between London buses
Picture via Pete Flanagan 
Quasar Unipower is not the kind of car for Mini skirts. Oh, that's Jennifer Hopkirk
Picture via Pete Flanagan
Mireille Darc drove one of the Quasars through Paris trafic. See movie clip here
Picture courtesy 
This Quasar was known as the 'Triplex Spectrafloat Special' and promoted by Spectrafloat glass
Picture archive Jeroen Booij 
Another press shot, once again in London in 1968. I have no idea who these people are
UPDATE: the man is Unipower boss Andrew Hedges, but the woman..?
Picture archive Jeroen Booij 

This very cheeky image comes from French magazine 'Adam' of October 1969
Picture archive Jeroen Booij 
While this is a more recent image, for Quasar owner Neo Tony Lee. The car is in Paris
Picture courtesy Neo Tony Lee

Thursday 24 January 2013

Mystery Mini derivative (29)

There have been several attempts to build a Lotus 7-type car with Mini motorisation. The Status Minipower, designed by an ex-Lotus engineer, and the Australian Nota Fang may spring to mind, although these were of course both rear wheel driven. So how about this one? All I know is that it is supposedly called the 'Christopher Mini'. I looked up the registration 'UEL 175J', and that told me it is based on a 1970 Morris Mini 1000; is blue in colour and... is still on the road, too. But that where the track ends. I wonder if it is on its own, as it looks to be built well. Thanks to Peter Camping for sending in the picture!

UPDATE 25 January 2012. I have mistakenly mentioned Roald Rakers as the source for this picture - that should be Peter Camping. Luckily Peter knew a bit more about it, too. He wrote: "I do not know its exact name, but the car was built by Mike Christopher. The picture came from Kitcars International magazine in February 1992. Then-editor Ian Hyne wrote: "The editor paid a quick visit to the Bristol show back in November and among the various exhibits, (...) there was a car entered in the auction that is worthy of mention. A quirkily styled machine built on Mini mechanics, it was in fact designed and built by Mike Christopher, son of Ray Christopher of Poole based GT Developments, manufacturers of the GTD 40 and T70 replicas. The car has a tubular spaceframe chassis and a 20 gauge mild steel body and standard Mini mechanics. We don’t know who bought it or even if it is sold but if it did, the new
owner might be interested to know a little more about it." Well, that's a lot more then we did know, isn't it? Time to get in touch with the Christophers. And appologies to Peter again!

UPDATE 16 May 2014: It's alive! See pictures here

Mystery motor that's supposedly known as the Christopher Mini. Who knows more?
Picture through Peter Camping 

Tuesday 22 January 2013

Notts Nimrod for sale

Definitely no more then 15 Mini based Nimrods were built from 1969 to somewhere in the 1980s. Probably even less. And one of them has now appeared for sale in Nottingham. It's a car I had never seen before and it looks perfectly quirky to me - just like it should be. It's registered on a 1971-plate with a Morris 850 as a donor. The seller writes: "Would be ideal for: investment piece, classic car shows, conversation piece (brag to your mates)." I'm not too sure about that first option, but the last one sounds very appropriate. See it for sale here - and don't forget to drop me a line if you become the new owner!

Wide 10" wheels and screaming paint job combined with the Nimrod's amphibious looks
Picture courtesy
Nimrod's designer Mike Jupp was - and is - a cartoonist, which may explain a thing
Picture courtesy

Monday 21 January 2013

Restoring a pristine Unipower GT

After last week's snap of a Unipower GT at the Racing Car Show (click!), I received a message about another Unipower. In fact it was about one of the Unipower GTs in my book. The bright orange car in the Mk2 chapter, that is. I photographed that in Tokorozawa, Japan, back in 2008 where it was for sale at 5 million yens (35,000 GBP approx.). And it was sold, too. But by now it is undergoing a full restoration. That surprised me, as it appeared in pristine condition to me some years ago...

Back in 2008 the Unipower GT looked like this. I thought it was mouthwatering
Picture Jeroen Booij
But by now it is undergoing a full restoration. I wonder what it will look like next
Picture via Mike Blumell
Note removed a-posts and cluster holes to accomodate the big later type rear lights
Picture via Mike Blumell

Thursday 17 January 2013

It's showtime!

Back in the 1960s the highlight in darkest January used to be the Racing Car Show in London. If I'd ever be able to time-travel, this would be the place to go for me. Many Mini derivatives were introduced here, and I'm sure quite a few were sold there, too, in the Royal Horticultural Hall and later Olympia Hall with their signature parquet floorings. Over the years I have amasssed quite a few pictures of interesting cars taken at the show and wonder if a series of aricles would be appealing to you. Perhaps there are also readers out here who like to share their Racing Car Show pictures? Let me know.

"It does suit you doesn't it, Sir?" A Unipower GT at the Racing Car Show
Picture via Keith Johnson

Monday 14 January 2013

Surrey's memory lanes, with Tim Raven

The Maximum Mini forum is online for a week or two now, and although it's not yet blossoming, some interesting posts have appeared since. One that I particularly liked came in yesterday from Tim Raven. Tim wrote: "I'm nearly sixty years old, so I've lived through the halcyon days of Mini based kit cars. My father was a car enthusiast, although kit cars didn't excite him, even though he loved Mini's, I have a few memories that might interest."

"One day after school, my father took me to the then very famous Connaught Cars in Burnt Common, Ripley, Surrey. Connaught had built quite successful front engined single seater Grand Prix cars in the fifties. The racing cars had long gone, but Connaught's owner and former racing driver Alan Brown, ran the property as a garage and exotic car sales business. Connaught had been appointed agents for the Ogle Mini, and there sitting on the forecourt that day was an Ogle Mini with Mr. Brown's personal number plat "AB 1000", it looked fantastic to me, and instantly became a favorite for me."

"Another trip was to Byfleet, Surrey, to visit 'Ingham Engineering' to purchase Hi-Lo's for my father's Mini, but of more interest to me was the GTM mid engined coupe which they were manufacturing. This looked fantastic, it's racing car stance made the Ogle look a little pedestrian!"

"I'll never forget my excitement whilst waiting for the school bus, to see a "sports car fronted Mini", I saw it often, but in those days of no internet it took months to discover that this was a "Scorpion Mini Conversion", a sort of "E Type Jaguar" graft-on nose for any Mini derivative (see here-JB). Some years on from this, again waiting for the school bus, a very sophisticated Mini based buggy, with 13 inch wheels and a corrugated military appearance. It took years to discover this was a Siva Mule, an extraordinary sighting!"

"Hope this brings back some memories for older enthusiasts, Tim."

Being a younger enthusiast I love the stories, too, Tim! So thanks for that and keep them coming. I've also searched my files for ads of Connaught Garage in relation to the Ogle, but couldn't find any. What I did stumble upon was an ad for the Cox GTM which mentions 'Ingham Eng. Ltd.' in Byfleet, Surrey. In fact I know their demonstrator was registered 'JDB 260E' and was yellow of colour. It's also the car that made it to the cover of Cars & Car Conversions in June 1967 and you can see it briefly in this film footage. Anyone out here who knows what became of it?

Ingham Engineering were distributors of the Cox GTM in the south
Picture Jeroen Booij archives

Thursday 10 January 2013

CCC Cox GTM pre-CCC livery

Cool colour images continue to find their way to here. How about this one? It's the Cars and Car Conversions Cox GTM in its original guise with 999cc engine and yellow paint job. Yup, that's the car built by Richard Hudson-Evans - then-editor of the magazine. I don't know where this picture was taken, but it could be his first outing with the car at Snetterton in Spring 1970, a race that he supposedly won. The car was later painted bright red with CCC chequers and even made it to the Nurburgring 500kms race in September 1970. Oh, and in case you wondered - it's still out there after it was found in a Devon barn in the 1990s. It's been fully restored and was spotted last Spring and Summer.

Richard Hudson-Evans racing the Cox GTM, probably at Snetterton in 1970
Picture courtesy Keith Johnson

UPDATE 15:00: Thanks to Nick Wilkins I now know the picture is most probably not taken at its first race outing at Snetterton. He sent in another shot, taken during that event (May 1970), where the car can be seen wearing start number 131 rather then 96. Excellent picture, Nick!

The same Cox GTM with Hudson-Evans. This time definitely on its maiden race at Snetterton
Picture courtesy Nick Wilkins

Wednesday 9 January 2013

Deep Sanderson 301 proto: yellow, blue or white?

Don't think I ever tire of writing about Deep Sandersons. Actually former DS 301 prototype owner Guy Loveridge brought up an interesting issue after this post. He wrote: "Ref Deepy Prototype - Chris Lawrence always said it was primrose yellow, but I have a colour version of the car in the snow and it is pale speedwell blue, which concurs with Len Bridge's memory of it."

Meanwhile I looked up the colour issue in Chris Lawrence's biography. He wrote, back in 2008: "It was all finished and painted in time for the racing car show in January 1962, where it was nicely received by the public, and more or less ignored by the press. It was painted pale primrose yellow, which we correctly thought would look good under artificial lighting, and with its registration number 2ARX is was really smart."

After a couple of days Guy came back with the picture dug out from his old computer drive, saying: "There you go. Taken on a box-brownie, just before going into Olympia for the Racing Car show." Was that Speedwell Blue? It could be, but it could well be off-white, too. Guy said: "It could, although others who were there, Doug Blaine and Len Bridge, remember it going to the show in Speedwell Blue. My Dad went as a young man - 23 and was sure it was blue as well... his favourite colour..."
Judging from the picture provided by Guy - what do you think?

It's a colour picture of the Deep Sanderson 301 prototype. But what colour was it?
Picture courtesy Guy Loveridge
There are plenty of B&W shots of the car. This one was taken inside Lawrence's work shop
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Tuesday 8 January 2013

Greek Beach car nears completion

Just over two years after it was found in an Athens scrapyard and about exactly two years after it was titled 'Best Find of 2010' here, the restoration of the Beach car of John Reymondos nears completion. And what a job it must have been, with time, money nor effort saved to return the car to its former glory. Meanwhile John found out more about its history, too, and it turns out to be a fascinating one, with the first owner a Greek shipping magnate, the second one of his staff to whom it was given and the third a restaurant owner who took it over in the late 1990s. More about that soon.

Beach car is as it was when built back in 1961. It was driven by Issigonis
Picture courtesy John Reymondos
Wicker interior was renewed by the British company that originally made it
Picture courtesy John Reymondos

Matching numbers. Engine is fully reconditioned, too. It's a modest 850cc
Picture courtesy John Reymondos

Monday 7 January 2013

Mystery Maya GT wins 'Best Find'

Congratulation to Josh Willis, who won the 'Best Find of 2012' poll on this blog with his discovery of the Maya GT in Kent last March. Of the 80 votes, no less then 43% went to the quirky kit car, plenty to win the title as the number 2 ('the farm yard Mini Marcos') got 21% of the votes and the number 3 ('the German Deep Sanderson') 20%. One of the voters commented: "For true believers, the ancient Maya calendar is a prime source for the prophecy that something very big is going to happen this year, 2012. Perhaps even the end of the world, or the Find of the year 2012! This may be no coincidence ;-)." I quite liked that.

Anyway: I asked Josh how the project was going, and this is what he said: "I now have the logbook in my name and it will be retaining its original registration. Unfortunately I haven't started restoring it yet as I still have several other big projects on the go. It is currently under a tarpaulin waiting it's turn. I have had a quick look over it. The main thing is the box section chassis frame appears to be very rotten (not surprising for standing in a field for over 20 years!). It looks like a fairly simple box section frame that shouldn't be too hard to make a new one with the old one for reference. My other concern is the windscreen which is glass & is cracked. I'm guessing that finding a replacement is going to be quite difficult. Would you know if it the same as any other car screen?" As a matter of fact I don't, but I'm guessing one of my readers will be able to help..

The Maya GT as it was found in Ashford. It supposedly stood outside for 20+ years
Picture courtesy Josh Willis
Open windows and a cracked rear screen do not help to keep the elements out... 
Picture courtesy Josh Willis
This car could be the last of the unmodified Maya GTs with it's original nose section in place
Picture courtesy Josh Willis

Friday 4 January 2013

Stimson Scorcher lot doesn't sell

If you have been scouring the web for interesting vehicles between Christmas and New Year, you may have come across one unusual advertisement on eBay. A rare Stimson Scorcher made it to the auction website. "It's not a car. It's a motorbike/trike without the risk of sliding off or high-siding", said the seller, trading from a Gloucestershire airport hangar. And he offered not just one of those crazy Barry Stimson designed creatures for sale, but also the complete moulds, jigs, a finished frame with engine and suspension plus some more bits and pieces. Colin Baines, who previously owned the whole lot, wrote to me: "I used to own these moulds about 15 years ago and sold them to this chap in Cirencester. I had all the moulds, chassis and a new body. The chap I delivered them to had three of these 'things' in a barn in various stages of completion. Even Barry Stimson said they were dangerous!" But perhaps just because of that the Scorcher managed to acquire a bit of a legendary status and so, with a starting price of just 2,000 pounds, I was disappointed to see the complete lot didn't sell. And I assume the seller too. "What's a unique vehicle production setup worth? - You tell me", he wrote in his ad. The answer was deceiving. Perhaps the Scorcher is a bit too unique?

This Stimson Scorcher was part of the lot. It's almost complete but had no MOT
Picture courtesy 
Rear seat is missing, but perhaps it's healthier to drive (or ride?) without passengers?
Picture courtesy
Set of moulds is said to be complete, even the front spoiler - often not fitted - is there
Picture courtesy 
And that's the jig to make the chassis frame. No one seemed interested, unfortunately
Picture courtesy

Wednesday 2 January 2013

2013: the Maximum Mini Forum is here

Hello, and a happy new year to all! With 2012 now behind us I can tell you which car won the 'Best Find of 2012': it's the Mystery Maya GT, so I will soon write an update about that. Then there was last year's Christmas puzzle, which I'd decided to make somewhat more difficult after having received complaints about it being too easy in previous years. Well well, it resulted in very few answers via comments and e-mails, so I promise you the 2013 edition will be simpler again! If you want to know the solution - you will find it in the puzzle's update now. 

Furthermore I have decided that in 2013 it should be about time to start a discussion forum. And by contrast, I have immediately set up one. You can see it by clicking on the forum logo in the right hand column of my blog (or simply here) and I hope it will soon lead to some lively threads. I look much forward to hearing of you there, so please feel free to start a subject.

This is the logo for Maximum Mini's Forum - the place to discuss anything Mini based