Monday 25 December 2017

Maximum Mini Christmas puzzle 2017

Since 2010 you can find the traditional Christmas puzzle here, so this is number 8. The theme for this year: rear ends. Below you can see a selection of 25 of them and he or she who knows the full name of all of them wins. There is a tie break question below in case more then one competitor come up with the right answers. The first who has them all right wins a copy of Maximum Mini 2 or 3. Send your answers via the comments below up until December 31 of this year. Good luck!

Tie break question: which Mini-based car was restored over the last couple of years, only to be finished in 2017, after which it was put in an exhibition and made it to several magazine articles?

Sunday 24 December 2017

Christmas 2017

Tomorrow you'll find the traditional Christmas puzzle on this page, but for now I already wish you all the best for Christmas and a happy New Year. Thank you for your support in the last year and don't forget to vote for the 'Best Find of 2017'. Happy Christmas!

Imaging Jeroen Booij

Friday 22 December 2017

Maximum Mini forum now closed

A message from a managing point of view: the Maximum Mini Forum is now closed. Some years ago, the idea was to make this the social area for passionate debate about anything Maximum Mini and anything about Mini based cars. There have indeed been some very informative and entertaining posts in the last couple of years. Some cars have been offered for sale and have been sold through the forum and informations were interchanged. However, the forum was used less and less. By now social media represents the place to have such conversations. You can contact Maximum Mini via Facebook here.

Tuesday 19 December 2017

Sekura Mini now being restored

When you have read Maximum Mini 2 you may remember the one-off Sekura Mini, that half-Danish half-Scottish sports car from the imaginative Ray Innes. I visited Ray and his wife Moira in Scotland in 2011 and had a lovely time with them, with Ray telling me about his time with Sekura, but also with Ogle and Radford coachbuilders. However, I did not get the chance to photograph the Sekura Mini properly as it was stored at a farm yard under piles of rubbish...

Fast forward six years and the car is rescued from its hiding place. Ole Pedersen of Denmark contacted me about it. He knows the car found its way back to his home country once more as it is now being restored by Hans Pedersen, who worked for Sekura when it was built. Ole copied a write-up (originally in Danish), which he translated and I enclose some quotes from it here:

"In 1983, the Randers company Sekura A/S manufactured a sports car, the Sekura Mini, to demonstrate to customers what the company could do. Sekura A/S - Today Sekura Cabins A/S - manufactures cabs for tractors - and the small sports car also has more common features with a tractor - how strange that may sound: a fairly angular design characterizes the car that became designed by Scottsman Ray Innes. The car only managed to drive around 200 kilometers on a trip back and forth to Jyllandsringen, where it was presented to the press. Then it disappeared. Until the car enthusiast Hans Pedersen came to buy the Randers car many years later. Pedersen: 'Initially I asked to borrow the car to an exhibition. But it turned out that the transport costs back and forth would be too expensive. And so, instead, I asked if I could buy the car. Ray Innes would just sleep on - but we got a deal made up so I could bring the car back to Denmark.'"

Pedersen plans now to fully restore it and take the car once again to Sekura to show it. Some of the employees at the company will still remember it. He also plans to show his special sports car at a big annual classic car meeting in Denmark in February next year. I love that it's been cared for, and don't think it could have found a better home.

That's how the Sekura Mini came out of its Scottish hibernation where it stood so many years
Picture Hans Pedersen

And that's the chassis in the process of being restored. Car should be ready soon by now
Picture Hans Pedersen

Early 1979 sketch by Scottish draughtsman Ray Innes, who designed it
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

An early model of the car, photographed in Ray's garden back not too long after the idea came about
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

The car being constructed in Ray's studio. Body is ready to be fitted, like all the mechanicals
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Bonnet on, seat in, car is taking shape here. Ray had good memories of building it
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Ray Innes back in 1983 with the finished result in front of his studio
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

And... Ray in 2011 in the same studio, still keen to draw!
Picture Jeroen Booij

Friday 15 December 2017

Dave and the Barford 'S' Mini Special

This is what I do it for. Three and a half years ago I wrote for the first time about a 1968/1969 Special, built by one DJ Barford of Peterborough (here), a car which had made it to Hot Car magazine in 1969. I concluded with: "So, DJ, if you ever happen to find these pages do let us know what happened to yourself and your groovy special!"

Now, some months ago Dave Barford did just that after his daughter had found the article. He promised me to send over some of the details if he was able to recollect them, too. Today I received a big manilla enveloppe with a tremendous amount of information. Dave, 22 at the time he built the car, wrote up the whole story in a beautiful hand written letter of 12 pages, illustrated with design drawings from his memory and over 35 separate old photographs with it. He writes: "Trying to find all the pictures from 50 years ago was very difficult, I even had to reprint some from old negatives that I found - the originals have disappeared over the years. I have tried to write a first-hand account of how I built the Special, but please feel free to adjust, modify, rewrite or alter as you feel fit!" Dave, you made my day. I will read your accounts this coming Christmas holidays. Thank you so much.

More to follow.

Left to right, Dave's first wife, his mum and DJ himself in 1969. The gull winged Barford Mini Special in the background
Picture courtesy Dave Barford

Thursday 14 December 2017

And the nominees for Find of the Year are...

It's time to introduce you to the nominees for the 'Maximum Mini 2017 Find of the Year'. There were 10 cars suitable for a nomination - I picked out 5 of which I think they are the best. Now it's up to you to decide which one wins the title.

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 Brickette racer

Initially a mystery Mini based racer, this Australian find turned out to be the Melbourne-build Brickette single seater, of which supposedly six were made. 

1. Dame Margot Fonteyn's coachbuilt Mini

It may have been based on a humble Mini 850, but this car was coachbuilt as early 
as in 1961 and... not just for any lady - Fonteyn was a prima ballerina

3. The Dutch Biota Mk1.5

This long-lost Biota is unique as it's no Mk1 and no Mk2 but a mixture of both since its Dutch builder preferred it just like that originally

4. The Australian Ogle SX1000

From England to Malaya to Australia - this Ogle SX1000 spent it's early life travelling. It was recently re-found and re-purchased by its earlier Australian owner

5. The Swiss Stimson Mini Bug

Very slowly information about the Stimsons that were sold officially in Switzerland comes to the light. This Luzern-registered car is one of them

Tuesday 12 December 2017

More Brickette racers unearthed

Early this year photos of an Australian Mini based single seat racer, which seemed to link with Nota Cars at the the time, came by (click here). We wondered what it was. Well, things didn't last all too long. It took Jon Scott a week to find out it was named Brickette and probably built in a run of six in Melbourne (click here). They were supposedly built by the Hume brothers, not by Nota Engineering.

I can now say there's even more information as Alan Mead of Victoria, Australia, contacted me about the Brickette. He wrote: "Hi, I also have a Brickette, which is blue and I have photos of two other cars that are both red. I would be interested to make contact to further cover the history of these cars and how many were made." I'd like to learn more, too. Who helps us out?

Another Melbourne-built Brickette racer, seen here with its body on...
Picture Alan Mead

...and with the body off. Mini engine was placed in a modified Mini subframe
Picture Alan Mead

That's the car owned by Alan, with his son behind the wheel. Six were supposedly made
Picture Alan Mead

This picture comes from the cover of an Australian Mini club's magazine cover. 
Who was the man racing it?
Picture Alan Mead

It's one of two red Brickette's seen in the Aussie racing scene of the 1980s
Picture Alan Mead

The duo is seen here again in what has to be the paddock of a racing track
Picture Alan Mead

And here on the circuit itself. Note diminutive size! Do these cars survive?
Picture Alan Mead

Friday 8 December 2017

Le Mans Mini Marcos: machining the crank

While I am still hoarding parts for my Mini Marcos project car, in the south of France Philippe Quiriere has started building the car's engine. You may remember that I wrote about the crank he'd found as it being something quite special. It's an AEG 480 that was bought new by tuner Jim Whitehouse direct from BMC’s Special Tuning department in 1966. Whitehouse was the man who set up Arden Engineering and developed the 8-port head, of which he sold the patent in '67 to... BMC.

Anyway: he never used the crank and sold it in 1968 to Jose Albertini, who owned the Le Mans Mini Marcos in 1970. Albertini also never used it, but that is going to change now. Philippe (who took it over from Albertini a year or two ago) is now using it for my engine. He wrote earlier this week: "Hi Jeroen. I just received the crank and it is now almost finished. It is also the most expensive Mini crank (for me)! But a nice part for your project. I give it now for the oil passage." Meanwhile, he added a little movie of it being machined. Love it.

NOS BMC Special Tuning crank is nearly ready for assembly in the Le Mans engine
Picture courtesy Philippe Quiriere

Here you can see it being machined in France, earlier this week
Video courtesy Philippe Quiriere

Wednesday 6 December 2017

The Green Mean Machine - that other GTM

The year is not yet over, which means it is still 50 years ago that the Cox GTM came to life. Just in time to share some more GTM photographs then. Now. The most famous of all the cars made by Bernard Cox, Howard Heerey, Patrick Fitch and Peter Beck plus all that other men who built GTM cars? Surely that red Car and Car Conversions car, right? I agree. 

But there was another GTM that could be seen in CCC's competing Hot Car magazine, and later in Custom Car magazine, too. It was nicknamed The Green Mean Machine thanks to the very green shade of paint used on its body. It actually was the first demonstrator built by Howard Heerey in 1969. He recently wrote: "The Green Mean Machine as featured in Custom Car July 1970. They loved it and reckoned it could blow the doors boot and bonnet lid off its competition. Still love the colour that I mixed, so Seventies." Thanks for that Howard, the GTM is still going strong after all these years. But does anyone know what happened to the Green Mean Machine?

UPDATE 6 September 2021: The Green Machine is resurrected! Click here for more.

Article in Hot Car magazine - they certainly loved the GTM too. Just like CCC
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

This photograph was published in Custom Car magazine - another 1970s mag to have
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

These pictures are from the Hot Car shoot, and later ended up in the famous Filby Files. 
I was kindly allowed to copy them 
Picture The Filby Files / Jeroen Booij archive

'LLG 187G' was the first demonstrator built by Howard Heerey in 1969
Picture The Filby Files / Jeroen Booij archive

That's technical editor Paul Davies behind the wheel, clearly enjoying the drive!
Picture The Filby Files / Jeroen Booij archive

Here parked in the paddock at Oulton Park. Heerey: "I reckon it looks great next to the 911"
Picture Howard Heerey

The car was seen in several advertisements, too. This one from Hot Car again
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

And one more. Now, where could the Green Mean Machine have gone to?
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Monday 4 December 2017

Fletcher GT goes rallying

We now know there have been several MiniJems that were used for auto crossing. But how about a Fletcher GT for rallying? The first of the two images below was kindly sent over by former Fletcher owner Paul Ogle, who's much loved car was sadly joy-ridden and burnt two years ago now (report here). Paul wrote: "Hi Jeroen. As Christmas is well and truly on its way, I thought I'd share a pic with you from the 1970s. This is the other running Fletcher that was the sister car to my car. I believe this was originally the 1967 racing car show car with the distinctly re-fashioned rear. This car later went rallying as apposed to track racing from what I have discovered so far. (more on the car here-JB). Have a great Christmas Jeroen Hope to catch up again at some point soon. Regards Paul."

That's lovely mate, thank you! Meanwhile, I found another shot of the car in the files at the same event. It turns out to be the Castrol National Rally of 1979 with the car being driven by Leigh MacLachlan and Nick Doughty. It would be awesome to learn a bit more.

Fletcher GT goes rallying. Note distinctive rear lights from an Austin Balanza
Picture courtesy Paul Ogle

Same car at the same event. Drivers were Leigh MacLachlan and Nick Doughty
Picture Jeroen Booij archive