Monday 28 April 2014

All you need to know about Blyton Park on May, 4

It's only a few more days before the first Mk1 Performance / Maximum Mini Action Day will take place at Blyton Park in Lincolnshire.

Our friends at Mk1 Performance Conversions have made a (provisional) itinerary with all the necessary information at hand. Click here to see it.

On the Saturday evening prior to the event, there will be a dinner party and some special guests will be there to talk Minis (and Mini derivatives!). From 8:30-0n the next day cars will arrive and there will be a small trader's area plus a small car boot area. As you can see on the picture below, the Maximum Mini display will be right next to the start line and pit lane - so we are garantueed to be in the middle of all the action!

Now for the cars on display there's still some uncertainties. At first I was were thrilled to have a quantity of Unipower GTs at hand (4, no less), but from what it seems now it's very much the question if they will make it! Fortunately a string of Cox GTM owners has stepped forwards at the same time, and there will be 4 of these rare beasts now, plus the freshly restored GTM Coupe of Richard Hawcroft, so that will be a nice slice of GTM history. Richard has also been so kind to exclaim several prices for cars attending the show. One of them is for the Best Mini Variant - apart from a trophy that's a 30 GBP Mini Spares voucher and replica Monte Carlo garage wall plaque. Now, if my copies of Maximum Mini 2 arrive on time (still unsure, can you believe it?) I will add a brand new book to that, too.
If you have any questions feel free to drop me a line on or give me a bell on my mobile phone: +31-620-816654. See you in Lincolnshire!

STOP PRESS: Books not available any earlier than this Summer. No advance copies at Blyton :(

Tuesday 15 April 2014

4 Updates: SHADO Jeep; Wildgoose; Unipower; Beach Boys

Over a week of no single update, so here's four in one:

- The SHADO Jeep that was found in a Tenerife scrap yard has been saved. Well done ElStellino and we look forwards to updates on this interesting project!

- The Wildgoose Brent that was offered for sale in auction made 7,700 GBP. With commission (12.5%) and VAT that not a bad price for a - erm - well-ripe little camper!

 - The slightly more thorough then expected fresh-up of Gerry Hulford's Unipower GT is finished and the car is ready for Blyton Park on Sunday May 4.

- The pictures of the Beach Boys and their Moke based 'Mini Surfers' do not show Brian Wilson, but his brother Carl Wilson instead. Here's another with Brian (left), or is it Carl again?

Thursday 3 April 2014

The Beach Boys and their Mini Surfers

Celebrity time once more, here on Maximum Mini. I just happened to come across some pictures of one of my favorite bands: the Beach Boys. This time with modified Mini Mokes, which made me wonder whatever happened to these cars. The built of the special Mokes was commissioned by Capitol Records and carried out by 'King of Kustom Kars' George Barris in 1966 (Barris had previously built the Mini based Surfite - click here). Supposedly 5 were built for the boys themselves and they were called 'Mini Surfers'. 

These special Mokes came with candy stripes both in and outside, a special fringed canopy, golden record wheel discs, 8-track sound systems with removable speakers, chromed bumpers and fake air intakes on the bonnet. But that wasn't all. Supposedly another 20 were built to give away to radio stations throughout the US to be raffled in special Beach Boys competitions. One of them was auctioned off in the 1970s together with more Barris creations. But whatever happened to the rest of them?

UPDATE 29 june 2017: one survivor appears to be found! Click here
UPDATE 9 March 2018: survivor now sold, restoration planned. More here

The Mini Surfer certainly had some unusual features such as golden records for wheel discs
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

A Moke for all of the Beach Boys. left to right: Brian Carl, Dennis, Mike and Bruce. Al on top
Picture courtesy George Barris

Barris and the Beach Boys were in their heydays in '66. What happened to these cars?
Picture courtesy George Barris

Tuesday 1 April 2014

The Summer of '69 - Unipower galore

45 Years ago a Unipower GT thundered along the Le Mans track during test day. Click here for it's full story. It's the car you'll be able to see in full splendor, fresh from a restoration, at Blyton Park on May 4. Meanwhile reader Peter Camping came across an old article of the car in a 1969 copy of l'Automobile magazine, of which the pictures are shown below. I especially like the drawing as I suspect the artist never to have seen the car from its rear. He's made the GT look even more like a miniature GT40!

Least as interesting is a picture coming from Spain. It was send over to me by Christian Sanmartin Castro who was wondering if I knew anything more about the car on it. All he knows is that it was photographed at Jarama racing track in 1969. Strangely I cannot find anything on a Unipower racing there in '69. Fact is that a Unipower was raced there two years before (and that, too, will make it to Blyton Park - click here), but that clearly is a different one. So which one could this one be? One of the Spanish cars, or perhaps a Portugese one?

A Unipower GT at Jarama race track in 1969. That's all we know about this one
Picture courtesy Christian Sanmartin Castro

The artist who made this drawing for l'Automobile magazine probably didn't see the car
Picture courtesy l'Automobile

Rare but sketchy image of the Unipower GT Le Mans car's power train as it was in 1969
Picture courtesy l'Automobile

At speed during the qualification for Le Mans on March 30, 1969. You can see it in May
Picture courtesy l'Automobile