Thursday 29 August 2019

Half a decade of Scamping

You won't have missed that the Mini is celebrating its 60th anniversary this summer. But how about the Scamp? That's been around for 50 years also. Scamp-boss Andrew McLean was at the celebration and wrote: "Very proud, pleased and privileged to have been part of the 50th anniversary of Scamps at the Owners Club annual Picnic gathering on this fine bank holiday weekend. Amazed to see so many Scamps of all shapes and sizes, 29 Scamps in attendance. Thanks to the club organizers and to everyone who put in huge efforts to make it such a smashing weekend." Great stuff indeed!
Now, on another note: somebody sent me two photographs of the 1969 prototype in action with Robert Mandry behind the wheel a while ago, but I seem not to be able to find them back at the moment and can't remember who sent them over. Do you remember?

A field full of Scamps at Coney Green Farm at Stourport to celebrate the 50th
Picture Andrew McLean

Scamp owners have always been up for a little mud. It was no different this time
Picture Andrew McLean

This is the eldest Scamp advertisement I could find. 50 Years old now!
Picture Jeroen Booij archive 

And this is how you got your kit back in the day. 50 Years later the Scamp is still attractive
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Wednesday 28 August 2019

The 'Järnsängen' story (1)

In March this year I was contacted by Nils Holm of Sweden, who wrote to me: "Hi! My name is Nils Holm, Living in Stockholm, Sweden. Today I got in contact with the blog Maximum Mini and read about the 'Holmbarth 1100' also called 'Automec Special'. I got very excited because this car was build by my brother Per-Henrik Holm (not Per-Erik as in the text - amended now-JB) together with Kjell Andersson in the 1960's. My brother - called Pelle - has now restored it into what I would call 'mint' condition.

He and his son Mikael (Micke) are working on the 'Holmbarth' making it even better and trying to get it accepted again as a veteran racing car. I tried to find out how to add a post on the blog... but could not. Therefore I write this mail to you, hoping you can tell how my brother Pelle can get in contact with someone interested in the 'Holmbarth' status today. I talked to Pelle and he is very interested giving more information about the 'Holmbarth' and what has been done last years. I have asked him put together some info we will send to you as well as some pictures.

Fast forward a couple of months and Nils' message arrived just before I went on my holidays (to Sweden). He added: "I apologize for the long story about the 'Holmbarth' (a name Pelle does not prefer), and I hope it can interest you what has been done. Since the car now has become a 'family interest', we will continue to add more facts and data about coming events. My best regards, Nils"

So that's the introduction to what Nils now calls - The 'Järnsängen' story.
Here we go:

The racing car build by Pelle Holm (Per-Henrik Holm) and Kjell Andersson, later on called the 'Holmbarth 1100' and / or 'Automec Special', was build during the 1960's. Pelle started in 1962 and did most of the work on his spare time at BMC in Södertälje Sweden. Due to some personal circumstances the work was delayed and the car got into a mode as the 'sleeping beauty' for a couple of years mid 1960's.

Pelle and Kjell ended their employment as mechanics at BMC racing competition department in Södertälje and started the company 'Automec' in Bredäng, Stockholm in 1967, and continued the work from there. The working name Pelle and Kjell used during the process was 'Järnsängen' (the iron bed). 'Holmbarth 1100' was a name given much later and not made up by Pelle and Kjell.

First test when it had to confess its power and performance was held at Uppsala airport somewhere around 1966 / '67, and it went well. Most of the components were from the BMC Mini, in Sweden called 'Hundkoja' (the Doghouse)… and at first it was equipped with a 1275 cc Cooper 'S' group 4 engine, later on replaced with an 1100 from an MG.

Pretty soon it got a bit crowded at the Automec garage. They also had a Cooper Formula 3 standing in a corner, earlier bought from Rolf Skoghag, who in his turn had bought a F3 Tecno from Ronny Peterson, later on our great Swedish F1 driver. Pelle and Kjell decided to sell the F3 Cooper, but when a buyer came up and showed more interest for the 'Iron bed' they sold it to him 1968.

Pelle and Kjell split up in 1971. Pelle left Automec and started his own business now with excavators and construction machinery instead of racing cars, while Kjell continued with Automec for a couple of years. The Cooper Formula 3 stayed with Pelle for a few years but was later on sold due to lack of time for it. Where it is today is hard to say.

Up next: part 2 about the rediscovery of the car. Thank you very much Nils!

The Holmbarth 1100 / Automec Special before it was called that. 
At this stage it was only known as the 'Järnsängen' or 'The Iron Bed'
Picture Nils Holm

The boy in these pictures is 'Micke', now the owner together with his father 'Pelle'
Picture Nils Holm

Pelle and his mate Kjell had been mechanics at BMC racing competition department in 
Södertälje but started on their own in 1967
Picture Nils Holm

It used a 1275 Cooper 'S' group 4 engine originally, which was later replaced by an MG 1100 unit
Picture Nils Holm

The car seen at an unknown racing venue in Sweden somewhere in the 1960s
Picture Jeroen Booij archive / Claes Boreus

This ad shows the car for sale in 1970 when it was known as the Holmbarth 1100
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Monday 26 August 2019

Euregio Meeting 2019 in pictures

Only just back from my holidays in Sweden, I went to the very south of the Netherlands for the Euregio Meeting 2019 last weekend. And there were some good surprises there, first of them being Tobias Kasimirowicz' Mk2 Mini Jem. Tobias of Germany owned another Mk2 Jem in the 1990s, but was involved in a heavy crash in 1997 in Ireland when the car, in his own words 'totally carambolized'. He came out unhurt and has now just finished  the 12-year long restoration of a second Jem, which is absolutely stunning in its golden paint job.

Another great surprise from Germany came in the shape of Klaus Tweddell. Klaus is well-known in racing circles, with his great love for anything produced in small numbers in general and for Marcos cars in particular. He races a 1965 Marcos Fastback and took that car with him, too. But he also took some of his slides for a very entertaining talk held before dinner. It was great to finally meet up and hear him comment his own great photographs, some of which he took as a 12-year old boy. Another talk was held by Joost van Dien, who went into detail about the differences between Mk1, Mk2 and Mk3 Mini Marcoses as there was one by myself about the Minis with Italian 'carrozzeria' bodies. Pictures below will give you an impression about the meeting.

A lovely line-up, starting with Tobias Kasimirowicz' freshly restored Mini Jem. Frank Morskate's Mk3 Le Mans replica is third in line
Picture Jeroen Booij

The Mk2 Mini Jem with owner Tobias (right) and his dad Helmut of Dusseldorf
Picture Jeroen Booij

Tobias owned another Mk2 Jem before, but crashed that heavily in Ireland in 1997
Picture Jeroen Booij

The restoration of this car took twelve years and was finished just before the meeting. There's a 1275 Cooper 'S' unit under the bonnet
Picture Jeroen Booij

And the car's interior is just as good as it is from the outside. Star of the show!
Picture Jeroen Booij

Lillo Trovato's Mk4 Mini Marcos with its signature carbon fibre bonnet
Picture Jeroen Booij

Joel Nootermans' Midas. He thinks it may well be the only one on the roads in Belgium
Picture Jeroen Booij

Jouke and Daphne Boersen with little Tess and their Mini Marcos. 
You may have seen this picture before..?
Picture Jeroen Booij

Organizer Rolf Roozenboom's Domino Pimlico was driven over b-roads to the location.
Thanks for another great meeting Rolf!
Picture Jeroen Booij

Anne Nobels and Joost van Dien were there, too, and took my Marcos' doors with them as Joost will now be further preparing them for paint. Stay tuned.
Picture Jeroen Booij

Marcos historian Klaus Tweddell had come over from Germany to share some of his tales
Picture Jeroen Booij

Klaus showing his slides. He photographed races at the Nurburgring and other European circuits since 1958, when he went there for the first time with his dad
Picture Jeroen Booij

Klaus Tweddell's racing Marcos Fastback: an early plywood car with appropriate registration
Picture Jeroen Booij

Low slung and fast - This historical Marcos is still being raced and hill climbed regularly
Picture Jeroen Booij

More big Marcoses: Robin Hughes 1969 1800 and Wim van Steijn's Mantara Spyder
Picture Jeroen Booij

And a rare Minus Maxi. This one is owned by Keith Rose for a couple of years now
Picture Jeroen Booij

Keith with the car. He's had a variety of Mini based vehicles in the last 30-odd years
Picture Jeroen Booij

Thursday 8 August 2019

We're all going on a summer holiday

By the time you read this I'll be enjoying a summer holiday.
Happy holidays to you too!

A Mini Wildgoose entering a steep hill. Perhaps better than with a Caraboot..?

Friday 2 August 2019

Pellandinis make it to the market

Always dreamt of owning an ultra-rare Pellandini? Now is your chance. Pellandini-enthusiast Max Kinsmore (see Maximum Mini 1) has decided to part with his two (of 8 made!) cars. This is from the ad:

"We have two of the rarest kit cars in Australia. The red one of these was featured in the Maximum Mini hardcover book and the yellow one was restored later on after the Maximum Mini writeup. These cars are fitted with 1275 micra twin over head cammed EFI 5 speed engines. Would like to sell as a pidgeon pair, a his and hers as they were in our family. The drivers seating arrangement is unadjustable as the seat is moulded into the body and the foot pedals made specifically for the driver. Fully fibreglassed." See the ad here.

In the meantime, I also understand that another Pellandini changed hands in December last year. This was in fact the prototype car, also named 'Old No.1'. The ad for that car stated: "It's on a space frame unlike the others which were fibreglass monocoques with front and rear sub-frames."

Max Kinsmore's two Pellandinis in his garage - they are both for sale now
Picture Max Kinsmore / Gumtree

Sold as a duo, both come with 1275cc engines, with twin over head cams and 5-speed boxes
Picture Max Kinsmore / Gumtree

Meanwhile Pellandini 'Old No. 1' was also sold in Australia in December last year
Picture Gumtree