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 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

Wednesday 7 November 2018

Maya GT is star of Japan Mini Day 2018

Unlike other years, it seems that not so many Mini derivatives made it to the 26th Japan Mini Day, held in Hamanako last weekend. But fortunately there was Masato Kida's fully restored Maya GT, the car previously owned by Peter Filby and known as the Maya Maynot (more about it here and here). The pictures are kindly provided by Akira Shinozaki‎. Thank you!

'RKM 473G' plates are still on the Maya GT, known as the Maya Maynot
Picture Akira Shinozaki‎

The car was thought lost for a long time but all of a sudden re-appeared last year in Japan
Picture Akira Shinozaki‎

It is now fully restored and owned by Masato Kida. Only 12 Maya GTs were made
Picture Akira Shinozaki‎

This one now comes with a full space frame chassis, but retains its Mini power
Picture Akira Shinozaki‎

The car is in the good company of an Austin A30 at its new home in Japan now
Picture Akira Shinozaki‎

Tuesday 6 November 2018

RRS Wasp survives... and can be yours

Remember last month's Mystery Mini Derivative, known as the RRS Wasp? (click here if not). Well, I have been sent some pictures of the car taken very recently in a showroom in the Midlands. It looks to be in excellent condition and is for sale, too! The seller is open to offers. Information about its history remains unavailable though, so the hunt for its original builder continues. Who knows more about the Wasp's' past?

RRS Wasp looks in excellent condition and is currently offered for sale
Picture Rob Rutherford

 The three-wheeler was last month's Mystery Mini Derivative, but its history remains blurry
Picture Rob Rutherford

Plain simple interior certainly used 1100 bits - seats, dashboard and wheel...
Picture Rob Rutherford

And the engine is believed to have been sourced from an Austin or Morris 1100 also
Picture Rob Rutherford

The RRS Wasp is for sale. I'll get you in touch with the seller when you are interested
Picture Rob Rutherford

Monday 5 November 2018

Beep-beep Yeah! Unique Beatles motoring document sold

A most remarkable Beatles related automobilia item was sold last weekend through a website called the Beatles Marketplace. It was a well-used and pretty scruffy 37-page sales ledger of Brydor Cars – the car brokering company set up by Beatles manager Brian Epstein in 1964.
From the seller’s blurb: “A meticulously accurate hand-written sales ledger for Brydor Cars listing all 597 cars they bought and sold during the companies history between November 1964 and January 1967.”

When studying it, it turns out that of the 597 car transactions in this period, 49 were either bought or sold by the Beatles personally and / or Beatles friends and associates, with 24 cars for John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Richard Starkey. These include all of the Beatles coachbuilt Minis.

The sales ledger, ‘condition poor’, made 1,500 pounds last weekend, which seemed not bad to me considering it is a unique document and an intriguing bit of motoring history related to the Fab Four. The seller stated: “It is the only definitive and accurate record of the cars the Beatles bought and sold during this time. It corrects and puts the record straight on a lot of errors, regarding the Beatles cars, which are stated as facts throughout the internet.” Some pictures of the pages can be found here (link removed on request by the ledger's new owner-JB).

It's all in there: scruffy but original sales ledger of Brydor Cars Ltd.
Picture Beatles Marketplace

Brydor Cars was set up by Beatles manager Brian Epstein and handled all the Fab Four's cars
Picture (this is a replica decal)

Friday 2 November 2018

Spectrafloat Special - an update

In last week's Quasar Unipower piece (click here) I wrote 'I'd love to hear from the new owner'. Well, as it turns out now the car wasn't sold but was on its way to Austria for a revamp. Wolfgang Buchta, who is editor of Austro Classic magazine and the owner of a unique Mini-based roadster, the Ashley Gnat, knows all about it and contacted me. He wrote:

"Dear Jeroen, I have just seen the the entry about the Quasar Unipower in your Maximum Mini Blog which prompts me to to send you this mail. Thanks for the interesting information! May I venture two corrections: First it was not found in a French barn in 2009. This very car was 'hidden' in the South of England since at least the mid 1990 (maybe even since 1984). Secondly it not going to a new home in Germany, but to a new home in Austria."

"How do I know: This is our trailer and our Land Rover in the ferry from Dover to Calais in the afternoon of October 22nd. The Quasar Unipower has been owned since 1984 or 1995 or sometime in between by a very good (English) friend of ours. He used it only just locally in the 1990s and early 2000s. When I had a chance to drive it in 2002 it was still running but no more taxed and insured and MOT'd. Shortly afterwards it was taken off the road... Now we have agreed to put it back to the road, which hopefully it going to happen in the next few month..."

"I'll keep you updated! All the best, Wolfgang"
That's awesome, thank you!

The location was certainly not too easy to reach!
Picture courtesy Wolfgang Buchta

But there it is: the Triplex Spectrafloat Special sees the light of day after being hidden since 2002
Picture courtesy Wolfgang Buchta

Car's owner hasn't used it for many years, but stored it in his barn. Wolfgang Buchta on right
Picture courtesy Wolfgang Buchta

A Land Rover was used to drag out the Quasar Unipower 
Picture courtesy Wolfgang Buchta

It looks complete and fully intact. Buchta is going to give it some tlc though
Picture courtesy Wolfgang Buchta

On its way to Austria for a renovation. With updates to follow... 
Picture courtesy Wolfgang Buchta