Tuesday 27 August 2013

World's shiniest Siva won't come near mud

Quite a few cars that I stumble apon and write about here are in not the prettiest state. They have been tucked away in barns or left in the open for decades. And so it's nice to see a change from that every now and then. Thanks to Mini derivative fan and Andersen Cub owner Wayne Morris here's one great example. He wrote: "Hi Jeroen, I saw this Siva Buggy and thought of you... Well I did after I thought how awesome it was. Some very nice fabrication work has gone into it over the 9 years the owner has been rebuilding it, including Beetle rear wheels on adapter plates to Mini rear hubs and arms. Is there a word in Dutch for Bling? Because there is a lot under here most if not all made by the owner himself." Thanks Wayne, that is striking indeed!

Proud Siva Buggy owner can only smile after 9 years of restoring and polishing
Picture courtesy Wayne Morris 
Holy mackerel, now that is bling! Could this be world's shiniest Mini engine?
Picture courtesy Wayne Morris

Friday 23 August 2013

Home grown Specials (2)

May I present you another DIY Mini based creature of which at least some information is known? The car below made it to Cars and Car Conversions in 1967 and according to a little article in the mag it was made from a Mini Van by a man named Mike Gorman 'for his own personal use', altough Mike planned to put the car into production, or so they wrote. 

And I'm quoting the mag now: "Mike chopped off the rear, lifted the roof off and lowered it by four inches. He then built an all-steel rear end and fitted a suitably modified Scorpion front (see here what that looks like) - now a part of the car rather than just a bolt-on accessory. With all the ugly body seems from the Mini Van eliminated, a coat of gunmetal paint completes the finish. The car's engine is bored out to 1071cc but it is planned to use a standard 1100 cc engine in production. Inside the car is superbly trimmed in black with a sports-type steering wheel and bucket seats."

"It is planned to build the production models with a fibre glass rear end to cut the weight down (present weight is about 13 cwt) but apart from that everything will be as shown - including the wheels." According to the article the cost for a production version "hasn't been worked out in detail yet, but the complete car should sell for around 700 pounds." And they continued: "Remember, no definite plans are afoot yet, so don't expect to ring up and buy one tomorrow. However, if you are interested, drop a line to M. Gorman, -----, Herts." I did check the address, but unfortunately there's no Gorman around there anymore. However, I'd be much interested in acquiring one, so if you do read this mister Gorman... 

Mike Gorman's Mini special started life as a Van. It was meant to reach production
Picture courtesy Cars and Car Conversions

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Sir Stirling's SX1000

I wrote about the Ogle SX1000 Super a couple of days ago, saying the 'BOO 799' registered car did ring a bell (click here). It was Stirling Moss who used to drive the car in question and there are several pictures of him with it, taken in March 1963 outside the Carlton Tower Hotel in London. Now, I do not know if he actually owned the little Ogle but he surely had some sort of a relationship with the company in Letchworth. Not much later, in October 1963, it was announced Moss had commissioned Ogle to design and build his 'dream car', a fastback coupe based on a Lotus Cortina. Ogle did so but subcontracted Harold Radford to actually build it. The car was used in a couple of advertisements, but disappeared soon, only to be discovered in the Philippines not too long ago. Great find. I just wonder what happened to the SX1000?

UPDATE 4 September 2013: It's alive! Click here.

There is no doubt that this is the same 'Super' Ogle as seen in the article here
Picture courtesy Historic Images
Did Stirling Moss actually own it, or was it just a little promotional work for Ogle?
Picture courtesy TopFoto

That's a 997 Cooper engine with twin SUs under the bonnet. Moss looks surprised
Picture courtesy TopFoto

Smile! This actually is an Ogle SX250, but the SX1000 is behind it
Picture courtesy Leonard Brown

Stirling Moss' 'dream car' in October 1963. Ogle designed it but Radford built it
Picture courtesy Historic Images

Tuesday 20 August 2013

Mystery Mini derivative (35)

I'm not the biggest fan of modifying bread and butter cars by adding spoilers and skirts, wild paint, wide wheels, loud big bore exhausts and even louder stereos. But even I have to admit some of these creatures show an ingenious approach on craftmanship. How about the one below? I do not know much other then that it's supposed to have started life as a Mini in Germany. Mein Got. Look at these gullwing doors, that nose job, that bonnet, that screen. If this really is a Mini there's not much that has not been modified. Now that makes one curious, doesn't it?

What on earth is that? It is said to be a German Mini conversion, probably of the 1980s
Picture source unknown

UPDATE 25 March 2015: One more picture surfaces, thanks to the chap whop took the one above, too, on a show in Utrecht, The Netherlands. It was a Mini Van, at one point...

Thursday 15 August 2013

How to recognize Ogle's Super SX1000

Did you ever know there was an official 'Super' version of Ogle's pretty SX1000? I didn't. Until I had a beter look at the advertisement below. The clipping dates from early 1962, less than a year before David Ogle's unfortunate death. According to the article the SX1000 Super not only came with 997 Cooper engine as a standard, but also had bigger chrome bumpers with overriders, reclining seats, carpeted interior and some more features. 

With this information I couldn't resist having a look through all of my SX1000 pictures to see how many of the cars in my file came with the big chrome front bumper. I can tell you now there were surprisingly few. Just about all of the cars in there wear the moulded fibreglass front bumper - like here - it does suit the car better, or so I believe.

Oh, and by the way, the registration 'BOO 799' did ring a bell to me too. Yes - this was the car that Stirling Moss owned - or at least used - for a while. More on that later.

SX1000 'Super' came with extras and is easily recognisable by its big bumper
Picture via Pete Flanagan

Another Ogle SX1000 with the big chrome bumper, photographed in early '60s London
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Big bumper again. Surprisingly, the registration '5 MAR' is addressed to Ogle's first prototype
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

This 2001 picture shows another Ogle SX1000 'Super'. It does have 997 Cooper power
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Tuesday 13 August 2013

World's most colourful Yak is sold once more

I love it when cars keep on being offered for sale, every time in a different guise and with increased price. This Grantura Plastics Yak, judging by the number plate based on a 1964 Mini, is a great example. The first time I saw it was in 2009 when it changed hands for just over 800 pounds. Next, it was painted green, rather hastily or so it seemed as the red was already coming through. To give it an extra bit of flair the doors were fitted, albeit unpainted, and new seats covers were installed. Oh, and somebody decided it would look better with the grille upside down. It was sold again, now for just under 1,500 pounds so it nearly doubled. Not much later in 2012 it appeared in an auction of Barons auctioneers. The vendors got rid of the doors once again, but decided to give the wheels a striking yellow layer of paint. Plus also new bucket seats. It did not sell though - with the reserve now set at 2,250 pounds. Latest reincarnation was this year, when offered for sale by a Dorset dealer. This time in yellow. The wheels were painted silver once again: asking price 3,995 GBP. It sold, too. I just wonder when it will be offered next and in what colour...

2009: red. Not sure if this was the car's original colour though...
Picture courtesy ebay.co.uk
2012: green. With doors now. New seats covers, too, but grille is upside down
Picture courtesy ebay.co.uk
2012: green, still. Now with yellow wheels and new seats once more
Picture courtesy Barons auctioneers
2013: yellow. Also freshly painted wheels and hardtop. And it sold, too
Picture courtesy Panorama Bay

Tuesday 6 August 2013

Pellandine's first Pellandini

Did I really never post one word about the Pellandini? No I didn't. So it's about time. Hang on, I've got some good pictures of it, too. I believe the car you see here to be the first (of 7) Pellandini coupes built by Peter Pellandine in Cherry Gardens, Australia. That must have been in 1971. Pellandine later said it was Ferrari’s infamous Dino which had inspired him for the Mini based sports car and the Italian sounding name certainly helped that sporty image, too. Most cars used an 1100 engine while all of them came with monocoque fibreglass chassis-body structure with steel sheets bonded in to strengthen the suspension points. Mini-uprights were used at the front, while the rear was fitted with special aluminium ones. Both front and rear were fitted with wishbones, coil springs and telescopic dampers. I'm sure it must be a great thing to drive - when you get in, at least...

You'll have to believe me when I say this really a Mini based car. It is!
Picture Jeroen Booij archive
Ferrari's Dino gave Peter Pellandine the inspiration for his Pellandini
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Monday 5 August 2013

VitaMin MiniSprint lives!

One infamous MiniSprint racer has returned to the UK for the first time since decades and Pete Flanagan is once again our man. He sends in lots of pictures and information plus a video! He writes: "Hi Jeroen. Late last year I wondered if I could entice Jean Burgy, the owner of the BARC 1969 Hillclimb Championship winning BVRT MiniSprint to bring the car back to the UK for the first time since the mid 1970's. The car , first owned and raced by British Vita's Jeff Goodliff hadn't been run for many a long year but Jean spent months bringing his 180bhp supecharged, fuel injected, Weslake 8-port MiniSprint back to life and together with his pal Errol Monard kindly brought it over from Eastern France for the Cooper 'S' 50th birhday celebrations at Shelsley Walsh on July 28th. It was quite an occassion for many us to see the car bark into life for the first time, and what a symphony it makes! Jeff Goodliff himself couldn't make it on the day due to ill health but his son Simon came along and was taken aback by the sight and sound of the championship winning car built by his father some 45 years ago.The car is pretty much as it left Blighty all those years ago, more info here. Regards, Pete." Well done pal!

Ultra low and ultra light MiniSprint comes with one very chequered past
Picture courtesy Alan Cox 
With 8-port, blower and fuel injection car is said to be able to do 105mph in second gear
Picture courtesy Pete Flanagan
Look, no subframe! There's a solid rear axle with coil springs and disc brakes instead
Picture courtesy Pete Flanagan
It not only looks good, it sounds terrific, too. Click to watch video
Film footage courtesy Pete Flanagan / youtube 

Friday 2 August 2013

Building a brand new Jimini

With all those classic Mini derivatives needing a rebuild rather then a build, there is of course the exception to this rule. The Andersen Cub for example can still be build from a brand new kit, like ABS Motorsport's Sprint GT. Or how about the Jimini 2? Reader Nigel Lamb reminded me to that car. He wrote: "Hi Jeroen, having recently seen the Jimini 2 painted in U.S. Army colours on your blog (see here), I thought you might like to see my Jimini 2 which I built between 2008 and 2012 with the assistance from some very talented friends. It is powered by a 998cc A-series engine and is unique in having a forward hinging quick release bonnet along with wheel arch extensions. It has provided hours of fun to build and as a full 4-seater it has also been great to drive along the coast and down to the beach as we live on the West coast of Scotland. The Jimini was originally released as a Mk1 with a steel body construction, around 200 examples were built between 1973 and 1983. The design changed to the Jimini 2 in 1983 with the body then being made from GRP. With the design still looking fresh, the Jimini is still available today to build (website here) and must be considered one of the last Mini derivatives still in production. Kind regards, Nigel Lamb." Thanks very much Nigel, it looks like a cracking job if you ask me!

The kit arrives from the West Midlands to West Scotland. Nigel (left) is happy with it!
Picture courtesy Nigel Lamb
998 engine is fully reconditioned, as are the subframes and suspension
Picture courtesy Nigel Lamb

A car is born! Oblong headlights are a typical feature for the Jimini 2
Picture courtesy Nigel Lamb
The finished car with full roll bar, home made extensions and proud owner
Picture courtesy Nigel Lamb
These roads are made for this car! It took Nigel and friends 4 years to build it
Picture courtesy Nigel Lamb

Thursday 1 August 2013

Wells' Coldwell

A while ago I got in touch with Rob Wells, who's been buying, selling, racing, maintaining, building and rebuilding cars. All different sorts of cars but mostly racers. There'd been several Mini based ones, too, and coincidentally the Coldwell GT was mentioned. To my surprise Rob recalled he'd had one of those too (of only 4 built)! Unfortunately he didn't have any pictures of it, but when I looked in my own files I found that had some myself! Well, just two of them but it was good anyway. Rob easily recognized himself because of his helmet with 'Suzuki' written on it. He also remembered he'd modified the roof as the car was so low. And when you look closely at the picture below you will see that his Suzuki helmet just pops out of the open roof, with the rear view mirrors are right on top of it. The pictures were taken during a 6-hour relay race but Rob couldn't remember exactly when, but probably post-1973. He drove the car together with Bob Hurst and does remember the clutch went when he just came from a hairpin.

I don't know which of the four Coldwells this one is but can guess. It cannot be the one that went to race the Macau Grand Prix in 1970 (full story here), and I am guessing it's neither the one in the Maruyama collection that I photographed for my book (as that one has a bit of a documented past). It can also not be the one which Coldwell founder Bill Needham tracked down in a Sheffield garage some years ago, as that was still unfinished after all those years. That leaves only one car: the one that is believed to have ended up in an American museum of unknown wherabouts. Americans, come in..! 

Rob Wells in action in the Coldwell GT with modified roof. Note helmet popping out!
Picture Jeroen Booij archive 

Some fierce competition in 6-hour relay race. Note that Coldwell GT is lower than GT40!
Picture Jeroen Booij archive