Tuesday 25 December 2018

Christmas puzzle 2018

This has become a real classic since 2010: the Maximum Mini Christmas puzzle. For this year you won't find any Mini based car in the pictures below, not even details. However, all the vehicles seen do link directly to a Mini based creature. And you guessed it: I want the names of the cars seen and the links to the Mini derivatives in all detail. The first who all the answers right wins a picture to choice from the Maximum Mini archives, printed in a large size. Send your answers via the comments below up until December 31 of this year. Good luck!

Maximum Mini Christmas puzzle 2018

Monday 24 December 2018

Happy Christmas 2018

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 2018'. Happy Christmas!

Imaging: Jeroen Booij

Thursday 13 December 2018

What is the best Find of 2018?

With the end of the year nearing, the time for traditions has come. How about the yearly Maximum Mini 'Find of the Year' poll? Once again, several interesting Mini based cars were found in sheds, lock-ups, gardens and garages again 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 drop a comment below stating your favourite find (click here if you read this through an email message). The one with the most votes wins - it's simple as that. Now, over to the candidates:

The Radford hatchback Mini that was used as a tender to the wacky Carawagon. Full story here

The Heerey GTM found in South-Africa by avid reader Leon Daniels. Full story here.

A Beach Boys Mini Surfer, one of probably just five made for the Beach Boys. Full story here

The Peel Viking which is also known as 'The Dutch demonstrator'. Full story here.

A Special Quasar Unipower used to promote Triplex glasses. Full story here.

Monday 10 December 2018

A very special meeting!

To some, last weekend may have seemed the most ridiculous time to visit Paris, but I did just that. And, no, I did not wear a yellow vest. I went there to meet these two people: Hubert Giraud and his wife Christine. Hubert was the team boss of the Mini Marcos equipe in 1966. The man who entered my car at Le Mans, who paid for all the expenses to have it built and who sacrificed his Morris Cooper 'S' to do so. He is the only living person directly involved with the project and is 81 years of age today. His memories about the events are crystal clear though. What's more: he has a map full of documentation, pictures and letters, several from Jem Marsh. It was a very special meeting.

Monsieur and Madame Giraud gave me a most warm welcome
Picture: my lovely wife

Wednesday 5 December 2018

Le Mans Mini Marcos: back home (but not for long)

Almost exactly two years after finding the Le Mans Mini Marcos in Portugal and bringing it to my home, it's back there once again! And although things didn't always go as planned and time schedules were messed up in the two years in between; a lot more happened to the car then in the 43 years before, since it disappeared so mysteriously in Paris in 1975.
But it turned out to be good not to be in a hurry as the result so far is fantastic, I believe. Now... the next stage is preparing it for paint and the actual painting... Quotations are being made at this moment, but I haven't struck a deal with a painter yet. Your suggestions are welcome!

Front and bonnet now fully repaired and back to original shape. Bonnet bulges refabricated and all the holes for the extra radiator and oil cooler are back where they belong
Picture Jeroen Booij

Doors and roof were worse then expected but are fully repaired now, too. Note holes in doors for parking lights to illuminate roundel and starting number during the night
Picture Jeroen Booij

Believed impossible by some, but rear wheel arch extenders were eventually lovingly refabricated out of what was left of them. And I do have a pair of moulds now!
Picture Jeroen Booij

Double skinned floors fully repaired and roll bar refabricated and fitted just like it was at Le Mans, as described in more detail before. Underside and inside have been painted satin black now, too  
Picture Jeroen Booij

Back on the drive, but not for long. The next step is preparing and painting now...
Picture Jeroen Booij

Tuesday 4 December 2018

Scamping in the 1980s

Chris Westgate shares some photographs taken at Scamp Owner's Club meetings in the 1980s. Enjoy! UPDATE: all pictures were taken by Paul Irvine.

That's a Mk1 in all its simplicity, a Scamp as it should be!
Picture Paul Irvine

But this is rather nice, too. A Mk1 as a van with added grille and raised headlights 
Picture Paul Irvine

And then there's this! The 12-seater Holiday Scamp, as offered by the factory
Picture Paul Irvine

Another Mk1, this one with another idea to modify the headlights
Picture Paul Irvine

This was a well-known Mk1 in Scamping circles, owned and modified by club instigator Fred Cake
Picture Paul Irvine

Monday 3 December 2018

Holmbarth / Automec Special fully restored

Thanks to reader Martin Andersson we know that the Swedish Holmbarth 1100 survived at least until 2008 and was actually known as the Automec Special using the front end of an Ogle SX1000 as a rear... (click here). If it remained largely intact for such a long time, it shouldn't be a surprise it exists to this day. And it does. Martin as well as fellow-Swede Micke Pettersson both sent me an article that was published in the December 2015 issue of The Mini Times - the magazine of the Mini Seven Club of Sweden.

My Swedish is not particularly good, but Martin was kind enough to sum up the contents, from which I also lifted these images. He wrote: "In the article I sent to you, it says apart from the story I told you earlier, that Per-Henrik Holm together with another BMC mechanic Kjell Andersson had a part time garage themselves in conjunction with their daily work at BMC Sweden Competition Department.
That garage was called 'Bredängs Automec' hence the name for the car that eventually evolved from it."

"The GRP bodyshell was made and applied by a man called Sven-Eric Carrhagen (That name is familiar to me but unfortunately I can't remember who he was right now). It says that Carrhagen brought the Ogle front end to the project. When the car was finished the kerb weight was 365kgs and the engine was a 1300cc tuned to group 4 regulations mated to a sccr gearbox. The topspeed would have been in the area of 200kph at 8000rpm. When the restoration started it was found to still have its sccr gearset under the 1100 engine."

Micke, who wrote the article in The Mini Times and who interviewed holm at the time added: "There has been a follow up on this article with the car in its new paint. I will dig out the pictures."

The Automec Special survives to this day and is seen here under restoration in 2015
Picture The Mini Times

No, that's not the front but the back, using an Ogle SX1000 front!
Picture The Mini Times

Engine is a 1300 now, mated to the original SCCR gearbox of the Swedish Special
Picture The Mini Times

Automec of Bredang was set up by BMC mechanics Per-Erik Holm and Kjell Andersson
Picture Tradera.com

The Automec Special during its construction in what must be 1967
Picture The Mini Times

The little boy in these pictures is Micke, son of the car's builder Pelle Holm
Picture The Mini Times

Said to weigh just 365kgs and be able to top 200kmh, the car was raced at one time
Picture The Mini Times

Friday 30 November 2018

Christmas offer 2018

When Christmas nears, it has now become a tradition to offer Maximum Mini books with a discount, to all of you who haven't got them yet, or who'd like to give one to somebody else. You'll get 25% discount on Maximum Mini 2 and 3. All prices below include postage and packing in a purpose made box. Drop me a line on jeroen at jeroenbooij.com with your wishes and I'll send you a payment request.

This offer starts today on Friday 40th November 2018 and runs until 25 December 2018.

To the UK

£26.25 for Maximum Mini 2
£30.00 for Maximum Mini 3
£52.50 for Maximum Mini 2 & 3

To Europe

€33.95 for Maximum Mini 2
€37.50 for Maximum Mini 3
€63.75 for Maximum Mini 2 & 3

To the US

$46.50 for Maximum Mini 2
$52.50 for Maximum Mini 3
$93.75 for Maximum Mini 2 & 3

To Japan

¥5,500 for Maximum Mini 2
¥6,000 for Maximum Mini 3
¥10,500 for Maximum Mini 2 & 3

Thursday 29 November 2018

Mystery Mini derivative (54)

Well well kiddies, what have we got here? I do not know anything about this one myself, so please come in with your comments!

UPDATE 14:30: Barry Tilbury thinks it is or was a Gecko, since his Gecko uses a very similar rear suspension setup with the trailing arms but without the subframe. The front waistline fits in, too.

Mini based mystery motor has hints of several other designs...
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Interior needs some finishing. Chassis looks straightforward
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Mini trailing arms and suspension but remarkably no rear subframe...
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

I don't think this is a Whitby, Scamp or Scout; Nomad, Gecko or Cub. So what is it then? (Update: Possibly a Gecko after all)
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Tuesday 27 November 2018

The many wanderings of an Ogle SX1000

Australian Ogle SX1000 owner Neil Griffin (more here) dropped me another enthusiastic line. He wrote: "Hi Jeroen, one of the outstanding articles on Ogles that I have been trying to track down is a July 1997 Mini Magazine. I have a lot of Mini World magazines from this period and a quite few Mini Magazines, but not that one and for some reason this issue rarely came up on eBay or GumTree, but finally I have managed to secure a copy. Anyway, in reading the Ogle article contained within, it mentioned that owners took the Ogle to Mini 25 which I was co-incidentally attended as part of a 'Grand European (Motorsport) Tour' in 1984 and I thought, I wonder... Would you believe it!"

"I'm not normally that organized, but I recently fetched my old Mini photo albums out for another pic from that period. Little did I know I'd be restoring one of these 34 years later! I wouldn't have had any clue at the time what the hell this unusual car was back then. Of course you know this car in its later blue paint colour as the one you compared to the Marcos in the 2015 Mini Magazine article... 'Elites of the Illegitimates'."

"It was subsequently refurbished in Switzerland with what appears to be a tan leather interior and sold again to a new owner in Luxembourg and was in show at the recent InterClassics Brussels. Cheers, Neil Griffin"
Thanks for that Neil! I wonder if any more readers have pictures of the car at Mini 25, or before that. I understand it was registered 'AEG 409A' earlier, but frustratingly couldn't find any photographic proof of that in the files. Who knows..?

Spotted by reader on Donington during 'Mini 25' in 1984. Can you read the registration?
It is believed to have been 'AEG 409C', but that's not the one here?
UPDATE: It was 'RJL 58' - a private plate that it wore only shortly.
Picture courtesy Neil Griffin

1997: the car is now registered '755 XPG' and could still be seen on the roads in the UK
Picture Jeroen Booij archive / Mini Magazine

2010: spotted on a rainy day in the UK with a new owner. Repainted in blue but still wearing the same plate 755 XPG
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

2014: Now on Belgian trade plates and for sale at the time. My offer was kindly refused...
Picture Jeroen Booij

By then the interior was still black, its original colour or so it seemed to me
Picture Jeroen Booij

2018: In Switzerland and for sale again. Asking price 39,900 Swiss francs, sold to Luxembourg
Picture Lutziger Classics

By now the car's interior is fully retrimmed in tan leather. Lovely, but would you do it?
Picture Lutziger Classics

November 2018: on Luxembourg plates and once again for sale. Asking price? 50,000 Euros
Picture courtesy Bart Vanreusel

Thursday 22 November 2018

Holmbarth Special survives

Remember the Holmbarth 1100, as seen in Maximum Mini 3? (also here). Well, Martin Andersson, who contacted me about the Swedish Ogle SX1000 (here) brought in a grand update on the car. He wrote:

"I might help you spread some light over one of your mystery cars, namely what you call the Holmbarth. In the way I ever heard of it and as I know it, this Special is called 'Automec'.
The story goes back to the late 1960's that a guy called Per-Erik Holm, whom at the time was working at the BMC competion department at Södertälje in Sweden, constructed this car at his spare time. From the beginning the car is said to have been equipped with a 1275 'S' engine. But when it was sold in 1970's it came with an MG 1100 powertrain. I first came in contact with the car in late 2008, with the owner who bought it from Holm in the 70's. This guy claimed that he raced the car at a club event at least once, back in the day. And he was very insistent that the car should be restored for the 2009 Mini festival in the UK. This never happened and years later the car was up for sale and as I understand it the car eventually came back to Per-Erik Holm who has now completed its restoration."

"The pictures I share with you are from 2008 when I helped the owner 'sawing' down the Special from the roof pillars, in the barn in which it was hung since the 1970's. As you might notice the rear section appears to be from an Ogle SX1000!? Best regards, Martin."

Needless to say I was happy to see the car surviving. By this time, I have also been updated on the Holmbarth / Automec current state. But that's for the next time.

This is the Holmbarth Special, as found in 2008. It is perhaps better known as the Automec Special
Picture courtesy Martin Andersson

Reader helped rescue the the Special from barn in which it was hung since the 1970's
Picture courtesy Martin Andersson

The car supposedly used 1275 'S' power, but when sold in the 1970's it came with an 1100
Picture courtesy Martin Andersson

But look at that! The rear bodywork consists of the front of an Ogle SX1000!
Picture courtesy Martin Andersson

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Lovely provenance found in Le Mans Mini Marcos' sill

Just a tiny little update about the Le Mans Mini Marcos before I come up with a more extensive news report on the car's restoration.

I picked up the shell from the body restorer yesterday and must conclude he has done a truly fantastic job. Everything is now brought back to what it was in 1966, with great attention to detail. But more about that later.

During the work, at one time, a socket fell into the body and the only way to get it out was to drill a little hole in the sill and use a magnet. While doing so, it turned out there were Portuguese newspaper cuts into the sill and a vacuum cleaner was used to get these out.
This thing came also with it, and I wanted to share it with you. It says 'Convertions J. Albertini' and it is a decal from Jose Albertini, who owned the car in 1970. When I showed it to Philippe Quiriere, who is building the car's engine and who took over the old Albertini stock, he replied: "I went to Jose's house three weeks ago, and I found some stickers, and only one like yours. It is very rare, because it is so old." It made my day! More to follow.

J. Albertini sticker was found in the car's sill. Albertini owned the car in 1970 when he hill climbed and rallied it
Picture Jeroen Booij

Engine builder Philippe happened to have found one of these old stickers three weeks ago...
Picture Philippe Quiriere

The Le Mans Mini Marcos in the 1970 Treffort hill climb, just after it was owned by Jose Albertini 
Picture Enguerrand Lecesne / Jeroen Booij archive

Monday 19 November 2018

Mystery Mini derivative (53)

This is strange. It's not a car, but a model for one. You can see it was parked on a curb, giving away something about its size. The photographer forgot his own shadow, which is prominently visible also. But Giles Chapman, who sent it in, has reasons to believe it was meant to become a Mini based car of some sort. We can only guess. It may have hints of the Chambers Special (click here)? I would love to learn more about, and I'm sure Giles would.

Mystery model car is believed to have been meant for a Mini powered car
Picture courtesy Giles Chapman

Thursday 15 November 2018

Swedish Ogle remains a mystery, as its importer

It's been almost five years since I wrote about an Ogle SX1000 in Sweden (click here). And I haven't found out much about it since. The article in Technikens Varld magazine dates back to 1963 and does mention an importer of the Ogle. They were called 'AB Hasselheim & Engelberg' and were based in Stockholm, from where they sold the SX1000 at 15,900 crones back in '63. I tried to find out a bit more and to my surprise the address stated still housed a garage. I contacted them by e-mail and got an instant but short reply: "Hej. Har tyvärr inga som helst uppgifter om detta". In good English: Hi. Sorry, no information about this.

But then I got in touch with Martin Andersson. Martin is a Swedish enthusiast, who wrote: "My dad, who was living in the Stockholm area in the early 1960s, confirms that there was indeed one Ogle SX1000 car seen around in the period. And that must have been that particular car, which was scrapped, because I have never heard of any Ogle existing elsewere in Sweden. And I'm quite informed in the Swedish Mini scene. My dad told me that the Ogle he used to see was parked outside the BMC garage where he used to service his Cooper. It was Gold in colour and this should have been between 1963-65. Maybe there was an instant respray or there was more than one Ogle imported?"

He continued: "I have tried to look up the Ogle’s registration. The suffix 'A' confirms that it was a Stockholm area registration, but the problem is that in 1972 the numbering system was replaced with the modern ”ABC 123” style system. And all numbers from then on where put in a computerized database. To backtrack an old county type registration and possibly find out if it ever were transformed into the new system. You need to contact the respective county register, and pay them 900 Crones (88 Euros) per hour of search."

It may not lead us to something, but Martin had another surprise. More about that next week.

UPDATE 22 November 2018: Find the surprise here.

Swedish Ogle SX1000 was imported by AB Hasselheim & Engelbert of Stockholm
Reader's dad remembers a gold coloured one in Stockholm in the 1960s
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Tuesday 13 November 2018

Landar R6 at Croft

Sabre Sprint owner Ron Palgrave already shared an image of a Cox GTM at Croft circuit in the 1960s (click here), and he has this one, too. As with the Cox, Ron has not much information about the picture other than that it was taken during the Whitsun Trophy in 1969 but, in his own words 'it is better that someone else has copies rather than they are just stuck in my files."

So let's see what we can find. It's a Landar R6 for sure but I'm not sure if it is one we've seen on here before. Hang on, there is this modified Landar as seen on the circuit of Montjuich in Spain, which shares its light nose over a dark body. Could it be the same car before the modifications? But hang on once again, that car was raced in Spain by David Boler while the Cox GTM spotted by Ron appears to be this one, also raced by a mister D.E. Boler. Surely not a coincidence..?

Landar R6 seen at Croft in '69. Was this the same car raced in Spain by D.E. Boler?
Picture Ron Palgrave

Monday 12 November 2018

Le Mans Mini Marcos project: update on the mechanicals

My engine builder, Philippe Quirière of Mini World Center in France, is a man of little words. But he did send me a couple of photographs recently on what he is working on at the moment: the gearbox and the crankshaft in particular. I'll leave the technical details to you for this time. Feel free to comment below.

As you may remember the original gearbox, as fitted to the car in June 1966 was found and is now being restored in France
Pictures Philippe Quirière

Crankshaft is pretty unusual also. It's an ultra rare New Old Stock Special Tuning item, like the one that was fitted when raced at Le Mans in '66
Pictures Philippe Quirière