Friday 25 December 2015

Maximum Mini Christmas puzzle 2015

Time for tradition. The theme for this year's Christmas puzzle is: derivatives doors. I don't think it's too difficult and so there is a tie break question below in case more then one competitor come up with the right answers. The idea is simple as always: you give the full name and model designation of the 25 cars that these doors belong to and the first who has them all right wins a copy of Maximum Mini 2 plus a Maximum Mini poster. Send your answers via the comments below up until December 31 of this year. Good luck!

Tie break question: which three Mini based cars were raced at Brands Hatch during Boxing Day in 1962, 1963 and 1966 respectively?

Thursday 24 December 2015

Seasons greetings

Tomorrow you'll find the traditional Christmas puzzle on this page, but for now I already wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year with lots of Mini (based) motoring to all readers of this blog and all other Maximum Mini fans. Thank you for your support in 2015 and don't forget to vote for the 'Best Find of 2015'!

Rendering by Jeroen Booij. Cars: Taylorspeed Mini Jem and Camber GT

Thursday 17 December 2015

A Mini Marcos at Mugello

Another nice picture find by reader Ralph Hamilton: the Mini Marcos of Roy Johnson and Guy Edwards at the Gran Premio del Mugello in July 1966. The car, registered 'KLP 7D' was green with a white band, as can be seen in a picture of it the Nurburgring, which was taken a month later. The car was entered with 1300cc power and supposedly did not class for Mugello. So was this shot taken during practice? It seems to have been hot at least, for they were driving without the bonnet. What's more: what happened to it afterwards?

July 1966: the Johnson/Edwards Mini Marcos in the Gran Premio del Mugello
Picture Jeroen Booij archive / Ralph Hamilton

The same car, now in colour, and a month earlier at the 1000 kms of the Nurburgring
Picture courtesy Jesse Alexander

Tuesday 15 December 2015

Wide bodied beauties?

I love period modifications, but generally prefer to keep cars fairly standard. But who am I? There are plenty of other people out there with very different tastes, too. See below some pictures I came across recently. Not my taste, but worth sharing here never the less. What do you think?

A De Joux Mini GT is rare, but this one - used for hill climbing - has to be unique
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Not one Mini Marcos is the same, but this one stands out from most of them!
Picture source unknown

And another with severe body mods. Would be a good snow plough this winter, too
Picture source unknown

This GTM has almost doubled its width by adding massive flares for those ultra wide wheels
 Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Even the Unipower GT doesn't escape the hands of the body building enthusiast
 Picture Jeroen Booij archive

And another one. This car has by now been built back to its standard body shape
 Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Thursday 10 December 2015

What is the Best Find of 2015?

The end of 2015 is getting near, which means it's time to make up which the best find of the past year here - a Maximum Mini tradition. So far this year, 11 Mini variants worth noting were found in sheds, lock-ups, gardens and garages and I made a selection out of 5 of them.

You will find the cars that have made it to the contest below. 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. Now, over to the candidates.

1. The Spanish coachbuilt Cooper by Taka-Hira

A coachbuilt Mini, but not as we know it. This 1964 Mini Cooper was discovered by Francisco Carrión in Spain and turned out to be coachbuilt by Roger Taka-Hira. Full story here.

2. The Freewheelers Mini Bug

A beautiful Stimson Mini Bug was found in Switzerland (click), but it didn't have television history like the one that was found by Barry Tibury. Full story here

3. The German lock-up Landar

In the summer of 2015 one of the four Landar R7s built came out of a lock-up in Germany. It turned out to be the second car built in 1970. Full story here.

4. The Ranger threesome

After reader Ian Whitehead bought a project Ranger Cub he found another two of them, or at least the bodies plus a spare chassis frame. Full story here.

5. The Shropshire Mini Jem

You don't see a Mini Jem Mk1 very often, but Richard Proudlove found one in his native Shropshire. In a bad shape but all time warp and complete. Full story here.

Wednesday 9 December 2015

High mileage Peel is a one-owner car

Some great old pictures and tales of another Peel Viking Minisport owner were sent over to me by a reader of this blog recently. He got them from the Robert Tierney, who owns it since new! The car is based on a 1960 Mini 850 De Luxe and was retired from general use in 1986 with 489,000 miles on the clock. Yes - 489 thousand miles. That's about 25,000 miles a year for 20 years in a row!

Tierney wrote: "Later on the roof was painted white to reduce the heat in summer. The black and white pictures show the enlarged boot - this often caused consternation to those overtaking as they though they were only passing a Mini Van! It used an 1100 engine with 3.44 diff ratio and latterly changed primary drive gears. At an indicated 80 mph (speedo was for a 3.77 diff ratio) mpg was around 50 and the car was fitted with 2 x 5.5m gall tanks - so she had a very good range. We had 2 children at the time and had a Messerschmit 3-wheeler. We were known as the only 2-car family in which the largest car was a Mini! I am currently building an extension to the house but refurbishing the Peel is the next project - it's not for sale."

A one-owner Peel Viking with 498,000 miles on the clock. That has to be unique
Picture courtesy Robert Tierney

'Enlarged boot' caused consternation during the many travels it made, says owner
Picture courtesy Robert Tierney

Colour shot dates from 1966 - the year this Peel came on the road. It retired 20 years later
Picture courtesy Robert Tierney

Thursday 3 December 2015

Unique Fletcher GT: stolen and burnt

Prepare yourselves for some awful news. Maximum Mini enthusiast from the first hour, Paul Ogle, sent me a message today about the car that's been his pride and joy for all the years that I know him: the Fletcher GT. Paul had it for some 10 years, during which time he found out much of its checkered history and restored it, too. More on its history here. I am very sorry to hear the Fletcher now no longer is with us. This is what Paul wrote:

"Hi Jeroen. Thanks for putting up the details regarding next years Blyton Park Action Day. It really is a fantastic event that's developing there and I am glad I was able to attend the first two previous years. Seeing this has however reminded me of the sad loss that I have to share with you. I havent felt able to put this picture up so far as I've been very ill and couldn't face sharing bad news. Devestatingly 'Kirsty', as she was known will not be able to attend next year's Blyton meeting as she has been stolen and found burnt out. They say a picture paints a thousand words. The world clearly still has many complete twats in it."
I feel with you Paul and I'm sure I'm not alone.

The Fletcher GT at Castle Combe during the 'Hagley 100' in August 1966
Picture courtesy Paul Ogle

Paul with the Fletcher GT in happier times. This was back in February 2007
Picture Jeroen Booij

While this is all that's left of the car - known as 'Kirsty' - now. Paul is devastated
Picture courtesy Paul Ogle

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Guy Buckingham dies at 94

Guy Buckingham made a name in motor sports in Australia, but had begun racing earlier when he lived in the UK. In fact he was a clockmaker in Buckinghamshire who became an engineer for the RAF in WW2. He moved to Australia in 1952 where he decided to do things slightly different and set up his own workshop, soon known as Nota Cars. ‘Nota’ stood for ‘motorcar' pronounced as ‘notacar’ by Buckinghams then-baby son Chris. In Parramatta, just outside Sydney, Guy built various racing and hill climbing specials, mostly one-offs. One of them was rear-powered by a Mini-engine as early as 1962 - more here. By 1968 he'd build another Special, based on a crashed Morris Cooper S. Chris had designed it and it was named Nota Type 4, but was soon called ‘Nota Fang’ to its sharp appearance! Replicas were sold for $1999 and were soon a hit under Australian racing enthusiasts. The Buckinghams sold 64 Fangs before Guy returned to England in the early 1970s. There he introduced the Fang in the UK in 1972, but after the demonstrator was flattened by a Frysian bull, Buckingham Sr. decided to stop his exploits as a motor manufacturer. Chris continues to run Nota Engineering to this very day. Guy was reunited some two years ago with one of the first cars he designed, built and raced back in 1954, which was known as 'Arnold'. It was the first time he had seen the car since the late 50's.

The man who made the Mini based sports car big in Australia: Guy Buckingham
Picture courtesy Charles Best

Buckingham's first Mini based car came about as early as 1962
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

The Nota Fang - or Type 4 - was the car that put Nota on the map
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Tuesday 1 December 2015

Action Day 3 is coming!

Good news: Maximum Mini will again be at the 3rd Mini Action Day, held at Blyton Park Circuit in Lincolnshire and I've got some groovy plans for the weekend on April 30th and May 1st 2016. I cannot say too much yet - do watch this space though - and for now quote organizers Marc Forster and Pete Flanagan: "There will be free entertainment on both Friday & Saturday night (TBA) as well as our usual special guest stars, prizes & superb collection of non track cars. There will be an impressive display of Mini Variants, or 'plastic fantastics' as we like to think of them. This will be arranged by Jeroen Booij, well known author & owner of well known maximummini blog."

"Track places will available to book through Javelin very shortly, these will be at a cost of £139 per day. Both days are open pit lane & drivers can enter & exit the track as much or as little as they wish. This is a great opportunity for you to try your car on track for the first time, or if you are more experienced a very cheap day’s testing! Two, very different track layouts will be available over the weekend, the outer circuit on Saturday & the Eastern Circuit on Sunday. The booking line will be open very shortly. When it is, you will be able to click on the logo to the left to go straight there."

"Last year we raised over £1200 for our chosen charities. This year we hope to be able to raise even more for this years chosen charity Cancer research UK. Like previous years, entry is totally free to anyone who wants to come & see what is probably the greatest spectacles of the year in the Mini world. There is free parking for all cars and a special parking area for Minis & other similar cars. We do however take a collection at the gate, all of which goes directly to our chosen charity. The suggested value of which is £5 per person. For more information, click here. For a little movie I made of the first Action Day, click here. For reports on the 2015 event, click here and here.