Thursday, 14 August 2014

Minimach GT launch pictures emerge

Last week, I received a wonderful message from Francesco Gasparini of Italy. Francesco is a Maximum Mini fan with a soft spot for that unusual Italian Unipower GT clone - the ESAP Minimach GT. In fact, he was there with his father when the car was launched in 1968 and had lunch with all the people involved. He always kept the original press kit with its official pictures in it that he was handed over that day, and now sent over some copies of them - I'd never seen these before.

I saw the car back in 2007 and interviewed the daughter of Gianfranco Paduan, who designed the Minimach and built it before he was being kept from marketing it by both Universal Power Drives as well as the Italian authorities - a fascinating story. I understand from Francesco that the car is still in the hands of the same owner as it was back at the time, but it's awaiting restoration right now. Thanks very much Francesco, for sharing your pictures and stories!

Lunchtime  during the official Minimach launch. Francesco and his dad on the right
Picture courtesy Francesco Gasparini 

Press pack of 1968 Minimach GT - 'For the gentlemen invited'
Picture courtesy Francesco Gasparini 

One of the official press pictures - note double springs for tough road conditions (e.g. Targa Florio)
Picture courtesy Francesco Gasparini 

Rectangular headlights were one of many modifications from the basic Unipower design
Picture courtesy Francesco Gasparini 

Left hand driven but no gear lever in the door sill; Minimach had ordinary gear lever
Picture courtesy Francesco Gasparini 

Note sweeping lines over the car's totally new body. Rear is completely different, too
Picture courtesy Francesco Gasparini 

1 comment:

  1. No invite to the launch for Andrew Hedges then? :-)

    Makes you wonder if they were so keen on the Unipower GT why they didn't come to some licensing arrangement to market the original cars in Italy? Ironically the Italians took a low volume British production car with Italian looks and made it look like a British kit car! ;-) Autosport reported in May '68 that Hedges had a wry smile on his face when he first came across the car on the Targa Florio , not sure he was smiling when he later paid Gianfranco a visit! All interesting stuff, keep it coming!