Friday 30 January 2015

Mystery Mini derivative (41)

This is not a Land Rover. Oh yes, it looks like one, that's for sure. But in fact it is quite a lot smaller and what's more: it is believed to be based on a Mini. The 10" Cosmic wheels do indeed point to that direction. Know more about it? Let me know!

Land Rover or Mini - or a bit of both perhaps?
Picture source unknown

Tuesday 20 January 2015

More Broadspeed GTS pictures emerge

You may know by now that the Broadspeed GTS spent most of its life in The Netherlands, where it was raced between 1967 and 1971, mostly on Zandvoort, before it languished in Amsterdam for another few decades.

We've seen a picture of the car in action before (here), taken by Hans Hugenholz. But Hans has more of them! Some of these below, taken at the Zandvoort track - designed by Hans' father - in 1969. During that year then-owner Tonio Hildebrand raced it at least three times under number 7 - and finished three times first in class. I think it had a golden bronze colour at the time. Great shots, love them!

The Broadspeed GTS in Zandvoort's Hugenholtz corner, named after the track's designer
Picture courtesy Hans Hugenholtz

Note it doesn't have the ram pipes poking through the bonnet like earlier at Zandvoort (here)
Picture courtesy Hans Hugenholtz

Capacity was 1293 or 1296cc back in 1969 and it was fast enough to beat all other Minis  
Picture courtesy Hans Hugenholtz

Monday 19 January 2015

Mystery Mini derivative (40)

This mysterious Mini based six-wheeler hails from France and was spotted in an ad by reader Vera Domnick. She wrote: "I just ran across this advertisment in France. Did you ever see this car before? Labelled as a Moke, it's really quite ugly..." The car is said to be of 1964-vintage and is offered for sale in Villedieu-les-Poêles, which is situated quite convenient for interested parties from the UK... see the ad here.

I think it may be based on a Scamp Mk2 or MDV six-wheeler, but I'm not totally sure. What do you think?

There are clearly hints of a Scamp Mk2 or an MDV in there. Or am I seeing things?
Picture courtesy

Six snow gyres and a big flat bed for carrying another Mini derivative?
Picture courtesy

An interior doesn't get much simpler. Again: that fits the suggested donors
Picture courtesy

Is that a Mini or Metro engine? One thing is clear: that is an awful lot of wiring!
Picture courtesy

Friday 16 January 2015

Stimson's stories (1)

Okay. How about a new series? Regular readers out here know I've been doing more of them - on Le Mans cars (Minis at Le Mans), on my Camber and Maya GT researches (The Camber / Maya files), on mysterious cases of disappeared derivatives (Urban Legends) and of course that all-time favorite of the Mystery Mini derivative. Anyway: time for new online series now, and this time it's all about what I believe to be the most prolific designer of Mini based cars: Barry Stimson.

From the late 1960s-on Barry designed, built, drove and marketed a great number of wild vehicles, and many of these were Mini powered. Not all of them were a hit, but it's a fact that there are some great tales attached to them. What's more: Barry likes to chat about them with me, and thanks to his free-of-charge telephone account it's not too difficult (or costly) either. Great. But where to start? Barry had a laugh about his first car, when I asked him about it. A Ford 93E of, he thought, 1937. It may not be a surprise that it didn't last very long in its original shape. "Any pictures of it?" I asked him, and to my great surprise I found them in my mailbox only minutes later. That was the one to start with.

Barry was 17 at the time and told me that his mum and dad thought he'd gone mad cutting up this still very usable car. Barry: "But it sort of started there... with a hammer… a saw... a spanner… and a vision. Mum hated the thing and banned me from parking it outside their house in Portsmouth! …Can’t think why? Oh, and yes, they are dustbin lids on the wheels!"

So there you go. Not a Mini derivative for this time, but there's much more to follow as this man was responsible from anything Mini based from three-wheelers to six-wheelers. Welcome aboard Barry!

Barry Stimson at the age of 17, here on his way to adventures in Africa…
Picture courtesy Barry Stimson

The first Stimson: a much modified Ford 93E, much to the horror of The Stimsons!
Picture courtesy Barry Stimson

 It was the start of a long list of cars, tricycles and amphibians to come. Note dustbin lids...
Picture courtesy Barry Stimson

 A disgrace to that neat and tidy street in southern England in the late 1950s!
Picture courtesy Barry Stimson

 Ever the optimist: Barry Stimson's balcony overlooks a marina, here some years ago
Picture Jeroen Booij

Monday 12 January 2015

Car and Car Conversions display is fabulous!

Now that's what a display should look like! Pete Flanagan sent in some images from last weekend's Autosport show at the NEC in Birmingham, where a Cars and Car Conversions magazine display was recreated on the stand of the Mini Cooper Register. Just as well as some racing Minis the show stoppers were the Cox GTM and Unipower GT, both as campaigned by the magazine in its heyday.

Pete adds: "It was great, really good feeback from not only Mini derivative lovers and owners but from some of the people who remember these cars from when they were new and rarely seen. I suggested your website to many of them to read up on them. We also had an opportunity recreate that photo from the '67 Racing Car Show, one I couldn't miss out on. Thanks go to the lovely young lady sat on the wing of my car who very sportingly agreed to play the part of Monika!" Well done boys and girls!

Two stunning cars flying the flag for what was one of the UK's greatest magazines
Picture courtesy Neil Burgess

We'll never get enough of this little stunner, won't we? The fabulous ex-CCC Cox GTM
Picture courtesy Pete Flanagan

Why not recreate that infamous and cheeky shot from 1967 while on the show? Well done!
Picture courtesy Pete Flanagan

That's the original picture with the same car and model Monika Dietrich on its nose
Picture archive Jeroen Booij

And with even less clothing on... Not sure if Pete tried to recreate this one too
Picture Richard Heseltine archive

Another ex-Deep Sanderson owner calls in

I am a sucker for Deep Sanderson stories, and so I was eager to track down a man named Richard Graham, who'd owned the Deep Sanderson 301 with chassis number 6 (more here and here) in the late 1970s and early 1980s. At the time, Richard wrote an elaborative article about the car's restoration for Alternative Cars magazine under the title 'Deep Devotion' but he wasn't easy to get hold of. Eventually he emailed me last weekend from Italy, where he lives now.

He wrote: "This was a long time ago, so my memory may not be all that accurate. I bought the car in 1978 as a pile of parts from a bloke in Essex. There was a body/chassis unit in original dark blue paint, doors, bonnet and engine cover, huge alloy petrol tank, radiator, front suspension and steering, JAP Pearce wheels and tyres, Mini rubber suspension and a lot of rear suspension parts, some of which looked like prototype parts. The interior was trimmed, and seats (more recent) came with the parts.
The heap of stuff looked like something left in the factory after closure!"

"What I didn’t have was an engine and gearbox, a gearchange, and information. Nearly all of the car went together easily. The huge petrol tank was obviously made for the car. The interior was simple.
But the rear suspension was a problem. I think, 35 years on, it was a matter of drive shaft lengths. Using one set of trailing arms the rear track was abnormally wide and the drive shafts too short, and with the “normal” looking trailing arms, the shafts were too long. Many weeks were wasted in trying this and that without much success. After all this time I’m not sure how, but I got around it somehow without having special parts made. Geometrically as well as dimensionally it seemed to work as it should, and is more or less like the drawing in the blog."

"I bought a racing spec Cooper 'S' engine and box from a bloke near Leeds and fitted it, made the exhaust system, and the gearchange – not as hard as I thought it would be. The car then ran, but I ran out of enthusiasm due to lack of time and facilities. I sold it to a fellow from Lancashire. I presume that is the same car now in Germany, rather shockingly painted red. It looks exactly the same in the engine department. I note that the fuel filler is now on show like the Le Mans cars (it wasn’t originally) and the rear wheel arches are different. Best regards, Richard Graham BA (Hons.) Dipl. Architect."

Thanks very much Richard, it's really great to hear of you. Meanwhile I have seen the car not too long ago and it is still in the same state as it was when I photographed it in 2012 (click here).

The car as it was after Richard restored it, still blue and with JAP Pearce wheels
Picture courtesy Richard Graham

Beautiful ghost view drawing that never made it to the Alternative Cars article
Image courtesy Richard Graham

And this is how it featured in the 1980 article in Alternative Cars magazine
Picture courtesy Richard Graham

And again, here how it looked just prior to the next restoration job in Germany
Picture courtesy Frans Josef Berg

The car as it is now. The current restoration is on hold due to other jobs 
Picture Jeroen Booij

Thursday 8 January 2015

Cars & Car Conversions resurrects in NEC

Good news for fans of that great late magazine Cars & Car Conversions (I am a fan). The Mini Cooper Register has announced to celebrate the magazine's 50th anniversary with a stand at this year's Autosport Show at the Birmingham NEC. Several competition cars that were made famous through the British motoring magazine will be on display, together with former 'CCC' editor Richard Hudson-Evans, too. His Mk1 Cooper S rally car '3000 KV' is there as well as the 1959 Mk1 racer, built over a series of articles in the magazine in the early 70's.

But the stars of the show are the Mini derivatives: the famous Cox GTM raced by Hudson-Evans at the Nurburgring (freshly repaired) as well as the ex-Janspeed Unipower GT which was campaigned by CCC's advertisement manager Brian Harvey and has now been restored by Pete Flanagan. All of them will be on display this weekend (Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 January) in Hall 9. I won't be there, unfortunately, but you should go. Make my day and find a batch of the early issues for me..!

Richard Hudson-Evans with the famous Cars & Car Conversions Cox GTM
Picture courtesy Stuart Poole

 And the same car and man (on right) almost 45 years ago...
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

The now-finished ex-Cars & Car Conversions Unipower GT will also be exhibited
Picture courtesy Pete Flanagan

Monday 5 January 2015

Early coachbuilt Cooper resurfaces in Spain

Rare derivatives and coachbuilt Minis continue to be found in 2015 and this year's first find goes to my Spanish colleague Francisco Carrión, who recently stumbled upon a collection with quite a few interesting cars that hadn't seen the light of day for a long time. Francisco was kind enough to share his story and photographs here as the car that is of interest to me is a coachbuilt Mini. Despite its looks it is not converted by Hooper or by Radford. Francisco: "It's an early Austin Mini Cooper with many special features. And although it doesn't have a film history like the Peter Sellers Minis that it looks very much alike, it is no less interesting!"

"The car was imported to Spain as an original Cooper, in red, and was shown at the official stand of the Spanish Austin importer at the 1964 Barcelona Motor Show. After that, a wealthy nobleman, fan of the Peter Sellers films, bought the car and sent it to Paris, where Roger Taka-Hira added the wicker sides on his request. At its return to Spain, the car was also re-upholstered in ivory leather and it received a nice wooden dashboard. The result was so convincing that the best friend of the owner - another wealthy man - ordered an exact copy. Of these two cars only this one is known to survive. It is in original unrestored condition, with only 50,000kms on its odometer."

To find out more about the car Francisco contacted Gerardo Peña, who is the son of the official importer of Austin to Spain in the 1960s, named SACAI. Peña himself worked some years in UK in the Austin factory also tuning some special Minis under the direction of Alec Issigonis. Francisco: "For example he told us many details about the Mini built for John Lennon using a engine block from Australia to get 1500cc… He has lots of interesting histories about special Minis and owns a special Moke with factory experimental roof and doors himself." Francisco will keep me posted on any special Minis in Spain, so there may be more to follow...

Spanish Mini Cooper certainly looks like a Peter Sellers Mini, but it isn't one of those
Picture courtesy Francisco Carrión

It's all original and is part of a large collection of classics - several more Minis too...
Picture courtesy Francisco Carrión

Wicker job was carried out by Frenchman Roger Taka-Hari who tackled more Minis
Picture courtesy Francisco Carrión

The car's interior is bespoke but not as out of the ordinary as most Radfords
Picture courtesy Francisco Carrión

The original red paint can still be seen under the bonnet. Is it a 997 or 998cc engine?
Picture courtesy Francisco Carrión

It's an ex-Barcelona show car that was sold through Madrid dealer T. Marion
Picture courtesy Francisco Carrión

Friday 2 January 2015

2015 is here and we have two winners

Happy new year!

Let's start 2015 with the announcement of the 'Best Find of 2014'.
You voted for the Mini engined Méan Sonora, which resurfaced last year in a Belgian garden. The car is currently under restoration by Louis Lempereur who is very happy with the results of the poll. 57% of the 131 voters chose his car as the Find of the Year. Louis wrote: "That is good news! The Méan friends here in Liège will also be very happy! I am busy now and my son who helps me with the project is currently in China, so there is not too much time for the Méan currently… But I promise to send you some info and pictures within 2 or 3 weeks. Thanks again for your support!" Looking much forwards to that, of course.

The Méan 'BMC Mini' Sonora when it was brand new back in 1967
Picture Maximum Mini archive

Meanwhile, we have another winner here, as I have had a good look at the answers that came in for the Christmas Puzzle. Only 4 of you decided to give it a go and among them Paul Wylde, once more, was the one with most right answers! Paul, let me know if you want another Maximum Mini 2 book, or somethings else. Of the 50 questions Paul gave 11 fault answers. Runner-up was Dean Renwick, who had 15 faults, but to my surprise he answered the more difficult questions perfectly right and made mistakes with the (in my opinion) easy ones! Arunas Racelis made 20 faults and Mikael Pettersson 21. All the right answers are listed below.

1. Which comical 1970 film featured a Unipower GT?
'Crimen Imperfecto'

2. In which television series a Siva Buggy was used frequently?
'The Perishers'

3. What 1968 James Bond parody featured a Mini Moke based vehicle?
'Salt & Pepper'

4. Which television series used not one but two Stimson Mini Bugs?
'The Freewheelers'

5. The 1964 movie ‘Beach Blanket Bingo’ features which Mini based one-off?
(Ed Roth's) Surfite

6. What kind of equipment was once fitted to the Nimbus Don Parker Special’s engine?
A Wade supercharger

7. What carburettor(s) ran the Deep Sanderson 301 at Le Mans in 1964?
A 45DCOE Weber

8. What is the main (technical) difference between the Cox GTM and Heerey GTM?
The subframe holding the Mini engine made place for a space frame

9. What special cylinder head is fitted to the Fisher Spider?
An Arden 8-port head

10. What was unusual about the chassis construction of the Sekura Mini?
It was made of steel profiling for the tractor industry, allowing super-slim pillars with no welding

11. What was the price that a Beach car fetched last August at an auction in California?
$165,000 ($181,500 with the auction fee on top of it)

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?

16. What was the nickname of the Le Mans Mini Marcos in 1966?
'La Puce Bleue' (the blue flee)

17. The Unipower GT initially had another name. What was that name?
Hustler GT

18. What was the nickname of the original Deep Sanderson prototype?
Perfume Delivery Wagon

19. The Roamer was built under at least two more names. Which ones?
Arrividerci Winchester and Moons Moke

20. What was the name of the Dutch-built Stimson Mini Bug?
Barclay Mini Bug

21. Which British newspaper gave away a Broadspeed GT in a very easy contest?
The Daily Express

22. The only British-built Nota Fang does not survive. What happened to it?
A Friesian bull decided to sit on it!

23. What was the only colour available for the Status 365 and why?
Yellow - it was the cheapest ready mixed (marine) gelcoat that the makers could get

24. Which famous Italian designer offered a coachbuilt version of the Mini saloon in 1966?
Bertone (the Bertone Mini Minor VIP)

25. Which other Mini based vehicle was designed by Scamp instigator Robert Mandry?
The RTV (Rough Terrain Vehicle)

26. What happened to the roof moulds of the Ecurie de Dez?
They were destroyed by Des Higgins himself, who soon regretted doing so!

27. The Gecko was developed by a one-model specialist? What model did they specialize in?
The VW Beetle

28. Before the Butterfield Musketeer, Richard Butterfield (re)designed which car?
A Triumph TR3 named 'Mulsanne'

29. The Fletcher GT features a redesigned Ogle rear with light clusters of which car?
The Austin 1800

30. In which Mini derivative was the Minister for Interior of Uganda supposedly interested?
The ASD Hobo

31. In what kind of premises was the Lightspeed Magenta built?
In a former British Railways goods shed

32. In what kind of premises was the mould of the Taylorspeed MiniJem made?
In a surfboard factory

33. In what kind of premises was the Ranger Cub built?
In a former Cinema theatre (which was supposedly haunted...)

34. In what kind of premises was the Libra Magnum built?
In a barn next to the house of Trevor Foxen's mother

35. In what kind of premises was the first AF Spider built?
In Alexander Fraser's kitchen

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?
Owen Greenwood's Mini 'sidecar'

39. Which 3-wheeler is said to have driven round Malory Park at under the lap record?
The ABC Tricar

40. Which car set a record at Bathurst, Australia, when it was clocked at 127.8 mph?
The Broadspeed GTS by Brian Foley

41. How many inches shorter than a standard Mini saloon was the Gordon Mini?
14.6 inches

42. How many Mini powered Davrians were officially built?
10 (5 Mk7s and 5 Mk8s)

43. How many years did it take Robert Lawther to build the Lawther GT?
5 years

44. What is the number of Camber GTs and Maya GTs tracked down for this blog?
10 (5 of each)

45. What was the capacity in ccs of the Kingfisher Sprint's engine in Turbosport guise?

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?
83 years