Thursday 25 December 2014

Season's greetings

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year with lots of Mini (based) motoring to all readers of this blog and other Maximum Mini fans. Thank you for your support in 2014.

Wednesday 24 December 2014

Christmas puzzle 2014

It's time for the traditional Maximum Mini Christmas puzzle!
Last year there weren't too many of you giving it a go, and so I decided to make this year's puzzle easier. Now with questions rather than photographs that need to be recognized. Most information needed can now be found on the pages of this blog, so everyone with some time at hand (hey, it's Christmas…) should give it a try. The idea is as simple as it always has been: you give the answers to the 50 questions below and the one with the most and /or best answers wins a specially signed copy of that brand new book 'Maximum Mini 2'. Send your answers via the comments below or via email - - up until December 31 of this year. Good luck!

Film & TV

1. Which comical 1970 film featured a Unipower GT?
2. In which television series a Siva Buggy was used frequently?
3. What 1968 James Bond parody featured a Mini Moke based vehicle?
4. Which television series used not one but two Stimson Mini Bugs?
5. The 1964 movie ‘Beach Blanket Bingo’ features which Mini based one-off?

Still from Beach Blanket Bingo


6. What kind of equipment was once fitted to the Nimbus Don Parker Special’s engine?
7. What carburettor(s) ran the Deep Sanderson 301 at Le Mans in 1964?
8. What is the main (technical) difference between the Cox GTM and Heerey GTM?
9. What special cylinder head is fitted to the Fisher Spider?
10. What was unusual about the chassis construction of the Sekura Mini?

Don Parker's Nimbus Special. But what is that thing?


11. What was the price that a Beach car fetched last August at an auction in California?
12. What was the original selling price for the MiniSprint Traveller?
13. What was the base price of the ‘Hustler in Wood’ in 1980?
14. What was the price that Peter Sellers supposedly paid for his coachbuilt Hooper Mini?
15. What was the base price of the Wildgoose conversion on an existing Mini Van?

MiniSprint Traveller. What did it cost new?


16. What was the nickname of the Le Mans Mini Marcos in 1966?
17. The Unipower GT initially had another name. What was that name?
18. What was the nickname of the original Deep Sanderson prototype?
19. The Roamer was built under at least two more names. Which ones?
20. What was the name of the Dutch-built Stimson Mini Bug?

This Deep Sanderson had an unusual nickname

Trivia 1

21. Which British newspaper gave away a Broadspeed GT in a very easy contest?
22. The only British-built Nota Fang does not survive. What happened to it?
23. What was the only colour available for the Status 365 and why?
24. Which famous Italian designer offered a coachbuilt version of the Mini saloon in 1966?
25. Which other Mini based vehicle was designed by Scamp instigator Robert Mandry?

Which newspaper gave away a Broadspeed GT?

Trivia 2

26. What happened to the roof moulds of the Ecurie de Dez?
27. The Gecko was developed by a one-model specialist? What model did they specialize in?
28. Before the Butterfield Musketeer, Richard Butterfield (re)designed which car?
29. The Fletcher GT features a redesigned Ogle rear with light clusters of which car?
30. In which Mini derivative was the Minister for Interior of Uganda supposedly interested?

Fletcher GT: where are these rear lights sourced from?


31. In what kind of premises was the Lightspeed Magenta built?
32. In what kind of premises was the mould of the Taylorspeed MiniJem made?
33. In what kind of premises was the Ranger Cub built?
34. In what kind of premises was the Libra Magnum built?
35. In what kind of premises was the first AF Spider built?

Where was this Taylorspeed Jem mould made?


36. How many records did Allan Staniforth set with his original Terrapin in October 1968?
37. How many records that the TransXL Mini Marcos broke stand to this day?
38. Which Mini derivative amassed 10 sidecar records in one year?
39. Which 3-wheeler is said to have driven round Malory Park at under the lap record?
40. Which car set a record at Bathurst, Australia, when it was clocked at 127.8 mph?

The TranXL Mini Marcos on its way to another victory


41. How many inches shorter than a standard Mini saloon was the Gordon Mini?
42. How many Mini powered Davrians were officially built?
43. How many years did it take Robert Lawther to build the Lawther GT?
44. What is the number of Camber GTs and Maya GTs tracked down for this blog?
45. What was the capacity in ccs of the Kingfisher Sprint's engine in Turbosport guise?

One of how many Mini powered Davrians?

Numbers 2

46. How many Ogle SX1000s were built?
47. How many Codford Minis were built?
48. How many Foers Nomads were built by John Foers?
49. What is the kerb weight in kgs of the Hrubon Phaeton?
50. What was the age of Desmond ‘Dizzy’ Addicot when he passed away in 2005?

A rare Codford Mini. How many were made?

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Bitten by the Bison (9)

Oh lord, has it been long since we've heard of the CJC Bison project (click here for previous updates) and its intrepid and anonymous restorer! He's had a bit of difficulty with his (many) other projects, but there is now finally some news from him. He wrote: "The Bison has now been dropped off at the paint shop – photo as evidence!!"

"Its going to be painted radiant red, but with a satin black roof and pillars. It caused much amusement at the body shop. I just spoke to the lad there and he said they have never had so many people come in to have a look at a car they are working on. He said the normal response is 'What the fuck is that?!' They specialize in American stuff and classics, so have had a lot of strange looking stuff in over the years, but he said the Bison is the car that has had most interest!"

Fantastic news after all pal! In fact the CJC Bison is one of the cars I am looking much forwards to to seeing it in the next year!

Evidence: the CJC Bison is off to the paint shop. It was about time, too!

Monday 15 December 2014

Cox and Peel emerge from Yorkshire barn

2014 Is not over yet, but as you know my list with the 5 candidates for the title 'Find of the Year' has already been made (voting on right hand side of this blog please). I may have been too soon though, as Vix Fisher-Garrett‎ emailed me yesterday with an exciting barn find of not one but two Mini based cars of the 1960s: a Cox GTM and a Peel Viking. She wrote: "Hi Jeroen. My father has just recovered two cars from a barn in Yorkshire where they have been since the mid-1990s. They are in an extremely sorry state, especially the Peel."

"From documents that came with the car we believe the Cox may have been originally fitted with a 1120cc supercharged engine for hill climbing. The car is based on a 1961 Mini Van, and we have the original order to Cox in 1968 and invoice dated March 1969. There is a letter from 1972 from Allard's giving details about supply of a supercharger for it, to be used for hill climbing, using a 1120cc engine. There are photos of it from the 1990's when it was owned in Abergele, Wales, where it appears to have been fitted with 13" wheels and riveted on wheel arches. At some time the rear subframe has been fitted to a modified square tube space frame. It is now fitted with a 1000cc engine with twin SUs. The original invoice shows chassis number as BCW1- 146M7 but as of yet we have found no plate on the car."

"We know very little about the Peel. It does have a plate on the dashboard saying 'Peel, Isle of Man' and showing a number 809. It also has a round badge on the front for Peamore Garage, Alphington, Exeter, which is presumably a dealers badge. Registration document shows the original Mini was a 1964 model, 850cc. We have no idea why it has a 1980 registration plate on it now. From 1982 until it was sold in the mid 90's, it was in Devon. It has not been on the road since 1995, when it belonged to someone who lived near Exeter in Devon."

I have asked Vix what she and her dad plan to do with the cars and I was exited to near they may bring them over to Blyton Park in May next year. Vix: "He won't consider selling them as they are part of our collection, between myself and my father we have the Peel, the Cox, a Domino Premier, a Domino HT, a GTM Rossa and a Phoenix, until recently we had another Premier but that has gone on to it's new home. We are hoping to attend the Mini day in May with at least a couple of these, even if one of them arrives on the back of a trailer. Any history relating to these cars would be gratefully received." I haven't found anything specific on both of these cars but somebody else out here may know more…?

Another unspoiled Cox GTM, as recovered by Vix' father from a barn in Yorkshire
Picture courtesy Vix Fisher-Garrett

The Peel is said to be in an extremely sorry state but it doesn't look too bad
Picture courtesy Vix Fisher-Garrett

Happy together. Note the difference in size: the Peel is small; the Cox diminutive!
Picture courtesy Vix Fisher-Garrett

Friday 12 December 2014

What is the Best Find of 2014?

It's about mid-December and over here that means we're making up which was the best find of the past year. Quite a few Mini derivatives were found in sheds, gardens and garages once more and I made a selection out of 12, from coachbuilt Minis to three-wheelers and several odd contraptions in between.

Below, you will find the cars that have made it to the contest and to vote simply go to the poll on the right side of this blog (click here if you read this through an email message) where you tick the box of your favourite find. The one with the most votes wins - it's simple as that. Over to the candidates.

1. The Tenerife SHADO Jeep

An amazing discovery early this year was made on the isle of Tenerife, where a long-lost SHADO Jeep resurfaced in between lots of scrap metal. Full story here.

2. The sole Mean Sonora BMC

The story of this car was unraveled here and eventually led to the rediscovery of it in a Belgian garden. Full restoration underway by now. Full story here.

3. Enzo Ferrari's coachbuilt Mini

It's still not confirmed, but there is much leading to believe that this actually was the Mini Cooper 'S' owned by and coachbuilt for Enzo Ferrari. Full story here.

4. The ABC Tricar prototype

It took me years to find a proper ABC Tricar for photography when all at a sudden the prototype resurfaces in a barn in Buckinghamshire. Full story here.

5. The unbuilt Ranger Cub 4

Never seen one in the flesh, but there it was: a Ranger Cub with not three but four wheels. This one came in a field in Staffordshire. Story here.

From Germany with love

I had fanmail from Germany this week!
Vera Domnick wrote to me: "I am a real fan of those thrilling Mini derivatives, especially since we own one ourselves! And exactly this kind of car is featured in your book #2: a Hrubon Schmitt."
"Our Schmitt might be one of maximum three cars registered in Germany, although I do not know any other owner over here. Just Bart's yellow one in Belgium (see the book-JB), and some French Schmitts. For example the very worn car that Laurent Hrubon keeps in St. Tropez, whom we visited last summer. Of course, we took our little Schmitt along…"

"Our little 'Pinkie' is a very special one, since it was built from a kit by its only previous owner as an eye-catcher for his showroom. He owned a garage/workshop for British cars in Dusseldorf. It dates from 1985, showing only original 2,300 kms on the clock when we purchased it in February 2014. The colour is glitter-pink-metallic, with metal-flake added to the clear coating. Technically, it's a Mini 1000 with disc-brakes and brake-booster coming from an Innocenti Cooper, equipped with 10x5" Exacton wheels of early Mayfair Sport Minis. The rear window of the hood is shaped as a heart, black, perfectly fitting seats coming from an early Land Rover. It was also equipped with a tow-bar, which we removed temporarily for better handling. The sound reminds me of a racing car, since there is no air filter mounted, due to lack of space. The air for the carburettor is taken from the inside of the speedometer housing…"

"Driving this car is an absolutely great experience! You’ll always find brightly smiling faces all around yourself and the car. To get an impression, see some pictures attached. Maybe I will contribute to the little forum on your Internet site, introducing our 'Pinkie'. But this will be after Christmas, since I want to take a look at your book and the Schmitt article first. Cheers, Vera Domnick"

Well, it's already included here now, Vera. Enjoy the book and have a good Christmas!

Vera's Schmitt was built as centre piece for a Dusseldorf showroom, back in 1985
Picture courtesy Vera Domnick

She took it to St. Tropez last summer. It has Innocenti Mini 1000 engine and brakes
Picture courtesy Vera Domnick

Thursday 11 December 2014

Another Mini Coupe - but what is it exactly?

Regular Stefan Sellin, who has shared some obscurities with me before, stumbled upon another unusual Mini: one that's been converted into a coupe. Just like the New ERA Mini, the Ecurie de Dez, the Buckle Monaco or that other coupe from Down Under. He wrote: "Hi Jeroen, This one looks like a Ecurie de Dez Crayford Clubman. Maybe you know more about the car? I have never seen one like that with a Clubman nose."

I haven't either! But I have to admit it does share some of its looks with that of the Ecurie de Dez, although I don't think it is one. Des Higgins carried out his conversions until 1970  after which he destroyed the moulds (being 'fairly disappointed with that decision' later on). This car is clearly later and in fact dates back to January 1975. The British plates indicate it could have been a UK conversion.

So there we go again: who knows about this nice little Mini coupe?

UPDATE 15 September 2015: A conversion from Norfolk, or so it seems! Click here

For sale in the US of A recently, but on a British plate of 1975. What is this Mini Coupe?
Picture courtesy

It's based on a Morris Clubman and looks like an Ecurie de Dez conversion (which it isn't)
Picture courtesy

Thursday 4 December 2014

More Unipower GTs in need of TLC

They are not exactly barn finds, but two more Unipower GTs have been unearthed recently, and both of them are desperate for some tender loving care. The first of them - orange in colour - was stumbled upon about a month ago by your's truly and I will soon tell you more about it. The second one - green -was spotted by an arch Mini derivatives fan and avid reader of these pages even more recently. He wrote: "It looks to have been parked up a while for that cover to rot off. The lad that I asked about it didn't want to talk much. I asked him if he wanted to sell it and he said "No". But as time goes on, you never know..?"

Meanwhile, it won't be long before the traditional Find of the Year poll will be opened once more out here. If you know of other Mini based cars that have been unearthed recently, let me know, humble or heroic - it doesn't matter.

This Unipower GT has been standing on this very place for decades now…
Picture Jeroen Booij

…While this one is believed to has overcome the same thing. These cars need love!
Picture courtesy anonymous / Jeroen Booij archive