Wednesday 30 October 2019

Reader delves into Pellandini history

Some time ago I was sent a lovely photograph of a Pellandini at an Adelaide drag strip in the mid-1970s (see it here). Not much more of that particular picture was known to me at the time. But that has now been cleared up by Rob Spurling who got in touch and sent over an abundancy of Pellandini pictures and informations. Rob wrote:

"I am sending you my history of Mini Based Pellandini Cars as I know it from what I have been told by people here in South Australia. When I saw that a guy on your blog had owned what he said was number 3 and that he ordered it in lime green I was very intrigued. I was always told that Dennis Cross had car #3 featured in the first Sports Car World article. You will see that its colour was lime green. My youngest brother Chris, bought it from Dennis, then sold it to me and our middle brother, Andrew. Later on we sold it to Max Kinsmore. This car was destroyed later on in an earthmover yard incident after Max had rebuilt it and painted it red. As my 'history' says, Max also converted a coupe into an open top car for Angela Lines before it went out of South Australia. He then tracked down and bought two more and rebuilt them. These were the ones that were for sale recently."

"Also on your blog there was a picture of me driving in Street Drags at Adelaide International Raceway in the Dennis Cross car. It was so quick off the line that the official photographer told me he had trouble catching it on camera. I only got two runs: a practice and the real thing where I was way out in front of some giant Chevy that thundered past me when I broke the gear lever off in second! Cheers, Rob."

Thank you very much for getting in touch and sharing all your stuff Rob. Below is just a small selection of the car that Rob owned at one time. There is more to follow.

Rob at the wheel of the Pellandini 'RXV-797' in 1976. Almost too quick for the official photographer!
Picture Sharp Photography via Rob Spurling

At the 'Hot Bricks' display of the Modified Minis Car Club in Adelaide somewhere in the 1970s
Picture Rob Spurling

Initially owned by Dennis Cross, Rob's brother Chris became the next owner before Rob and his other brother Andrew had it
Picture Rob Spurling

Rob wrote "The off-line remote linkage gear-change brought around the left side of the engine into the central tunnel was a constant niggle to get right but worked well with minimal movement when it was operational"
Picture Rob Spurling

This car was Cooper 'S' powered with 45 DCOE Weber carburettor and was tested by Barry Cartwright of Sports Car World magazine when it was new in 1973
Picture Rob Spurling

The size of the Pellandini is only visualized well when it is parked next to another car such as a Nissan Cherry, not a big car to modern standards... Picture taken 22 december 1984
Picture Rob Spurling

Seen for sale here. RXV-797 eventually survived a fire and was rebuilt but was later accidentally destroyed when crushed in an earthmoving business work-yard
Picture Rob Spurling

Monday 28 October 2019

Fast Mini Jem racer is now for sale

Want to run in front of the field? Then this Mk2 MiniJem may be the car for you. It is well known in French racing circles and has now made it to the market. With a fast 1071cc engine the car was raced in the French Trophee Maxi 1000 series from the early 2000's-on. And with the series having developed into the Maxi 1300 now, the Jem developed also. Currently the car uses a newly built 1300 full race engine with all the bells and whistles. It even comes with moulds to refabricate the front in case of track damage. Driver Philippe Gandini used it to come 2nd overall in the 2017 season, 3rd overall in 2018 and had 8 wins in his last 5 years of competition. See it advertised here.

Mini Jem racer is a light weight car with thinner shell and fully prepared mechanicals
Picture Marc Joly

Mostly ahead of the competition, this Jem has become a well-known sight on French circuits
Picture via Alexis Bouvard

The car was raced in the Maxi 1300 series where it came 2nd overall in 2017 and 3rd in 2018
Picture via Alexis Bouvard

Wednesday 23 October 2019

What exactly is this coachbuilt Cooper?

An interesting coachbuilt Mini has turned up in Germany. Said to have been delivered new in Barcelona in 1968, this Mk2 car is an early Authi-built Spanish Mini. From the advertisement: "This Spanish-built Mini Cooper is one of only two believed completed with faux 'cane furniture' side trim, the other being in a museum in Barcelona. The car had been disassembled prior to its acquisition by the owner and is now partially restored and in an excellent state of presentation. Accompanying documentation consists of a French Carte Grise and sundry invoices from Morisse Nayrat and British Car Centre for works carried out and parts supplied."

That does look like a nice car indeed with some interior touches unseen to me before. How about the leather-clad lids on the door pockets? It does also raise some questions though. Is the other car mentioned perhaps this Mk1, found in Barcelona a few years ago? Could the wicker work be the work of Taka-Hira of France also? What's the Verdun Automobiles decal doing on the back? And why is it advertised as only 'partially restored'? See the ad here.

UPDATE 28 October: Francisco Carrión, who found out all about the Barcelona car, writes: "There isn't any other at any museum in Barcelona, the other one in Spain with cannage is located in Madrid, is black, and is an original British Cooper car. This white car seems a normal Mini Authi 1275 C (not cooper etc) with cannage of unknown origin..."

Mk2 Cooper is built by Authi in Spain. But who carried out the conversion?

Morris Cooper engine looks good although ad mentions it's only 'partially restored'

Mini 1275 C was the first Spanish-built Cooper. Was it sold by Verdun Automobiles?

That's a lovely interior. Moca leather and beige carpeting and subtle use of wood

The same goes for the back seat. Also note pocket lids and rear wiper

Tuesday 22 October 2019

Mini variants in 'massive barn find collection'

NCM Auctioneers is selling a remarkable lot of classic cars, which they call a 'massive barn find collection'. The sale lists 135 lots with a number of kit cars and Specials among them - seven of these being Mini powered. I have included pictures of them below. The auction takes place in Lancashire on November 1 and 2, but you can bid online also. Click here to give it a go!

Domino Pimlico looks to be in a good state. There's no engine though
Picture NCM Auctioneers

No engine for this Midas either, but it does seem to have (Y-) registration
Picture NCM Auctioneers

Midas Gold convertible. This one comes with power train, and it looks to be a 1275
Picture NCM Auctioneers

Ranger Pick Up looks a bit sorry for itself. Bonnet appears to be with the car, though
Picture NCM Auctioneers

Pink Scamp Mk2 looks rough around the edges; Morris mill hides under the bonnet
Picture NCM Auctioneers

Another Scamp Mk2, engine-less but this one comes with the factory gull wing doors
Picture NCM Auctioneers

Hustler Six looks complete but will definitely need work, too
Picture NCM Auctioneers

Monday 21 October 2019

One-off Nimbus Sprint project for sale

With just 24 bodies made, the Nimbus Coupe is a rare car. The one seen below is one of them, but it was turned into something very different by none other than the designer himself: Ian Shearer. Ian wrote: "As you know, I bought a 1985 Nimbus shell a while ago with the idea of re-styling it and modifying the rear bulkhead to accommodate a variety of small-ish engines. As you also know I then (with your help) found my old Boxer, which I had spent years fruitlessly searching for (click here for story). After my recent move back to the UK permanently, I have had to make some hard decisions. I have less space and less time therefore one has to go, and the Nimbus is the one I have decided to move on."

Ian calles his creation the Nimbus 'Sprint'. "Having spent a large part of the last 3 years making the changes seen in the pics, I have managed to take the superb monocoque which was always hiding, and turn it into, in my view, where I always wanted it to be, Centre tub and clamshell body panels, it's a one off and the price I'm asking is a fraction of the cost of the mods, my real reward would be to see someone with the time and energy to build this up for whatever use they wish to put it to, trackday/sprint/hillclimb or road use. Best regards, Ian."

So... want to buy a unique car directly from its designer? This is your chance! See the ad here.

Nimbus Sprint bodyshell is a redevelopment of the Nimbus Coupe of the mid-1980s
Picture Ian Shearer

Three years of work to "turn it into, in my view, where I always wanted it to be"
Picture Ian Shearer

Note that the differences to the standard Nimbus shell (top) are numerous!
Picture Ian Shearer/Jeroen Booij archive

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Quite a line up of Mini derivative shells and moulds!

Arch Maximum Mini enthusiast Tony Bucknall of ABS MotorSport has been buying, selling, building and modifying Mini based cars and moulds for them for decades now, and continues to do so. As a matter of fact he has just emptied one factory of its composite shells and moulds as he plans an expansion of his premises. That gave quite a nice overview of Tony's projects, amassed over the years. Mind you: there is lots more in ABS' Alladin's cave, but what we see here, from left to right:

McCoy moulds with extra moulds for skirts plus the estate (McIvoy)
Mould for a lowered Mini race shell with added arches
Mould for a MiniSprint replica
Complete shell for a Stimson Mini Bug
Shell for a space framed MonteCarlo Mini
Shell for a space framed Mini Dominator
A complete full fibreglass bodied FRA Mini
Complete shell of a TiCi including moulded-in interior
Complete shell of a Domino Pimlico
Complete shell of a Phoenix Estate
MINI Countryman display shell

Thank you very much for sharing Tony!

Panoramic view of some of Tony's projects, shells and moulds
Picture Tony Bucknall / ABS MotorSport

This is the McCoy with all the moulds including those for added skirts plus the estate option
Picture Tony Bucknall / ABS MotorSport

Space framed Minis? Tony is your man if you want to build one
Picture Tony Bucknall / ABS MotorSport

A Stimson Mini Bug in its bare essence
Picture Tony Bucknall / ABS MotorSport

FRA Mini, TiCi, Domino Pimlico or Phoenix Estate, you'll find it here!
Picture Tony Bucknall / ABS MotorSport

Friday 11 October 2019

More Landar images unearthed

Reader Graham Nevil has surprised me before with some great Landar memories, he managed to dig out some more, writing:

"Hi Jerome, Greetings to yourself and time for some more Landar pictures! These probably are the last of my stock of new images that I’ve recently scanned in from slides."

"You will already be acquainted with my father’s old R6 (the last one built ) from previous mails but this is such a nice shot taken at Silverstone in ’73. Another shows its rather wonderful engine which was the final state of tune, Arden 8-port crossflow head with fuel injection, powerful and quite exotic for the day. We previously looked at the possibility that our car is now the Maruyamas R6 but a few differences put me off the idea. I have now noticed that, on what must be earlier pictures of our R6 the roll over loop is only for the driver but this picture, which must be later, it’s now full width, as is the Maruyama car. Also early pictures have ours with a chrome rear view mirror later replaced by a darker one, again matching the Maruyama car. A bit more evidence for a conclusive match?"

"The other R6 picture is of a car that has previously been featured on Maximum Mini and since it carries the number 81 confirms it’s Donnington location. Not sure who the driver is. Interestingly this also has the full length roll bar and in common with the Maruyama car, no headlights and a lower position for the oil cooler on the passenger side."

"Finally a rear view of Frank Aston’s blue R7 at a local sprint, a car which has attracted some inaccurate identifications in the past. Note suicidal positioning of marshals, don’t think that bit of chicken wire will give much protection ! When it was unearthed in that German lockup it was still wearing a vestige of blue paint which implies it carried that colour its entire life even though it appeared to have been given different detailing post Aston ownership with the Hardt brothers. It also seems the roll bar is now different to how it was with Frank and the brothers, what is it with roll bars?"

"Many thanks for allowing a justification for my nostalgic trip down memory lane and best wishes for the Marcos restoration. Graham Nevil"

Thank you Graham! See Grahams earlier messages with pictures of his dad's old Landar (here) and even 8mm film footage shot when he was 16 years old (here).

Silverstone 1973. Graham's dad Gordon Nevil behind the wheel of his Landar R6
Picture courtesy Graham Nevil

The car's exotic and powerful engine with Arden 8-port crossflow head and fuel injection!
Picture courtesy Graham Nevil

And another Landar R6 as seen by Graham at the time, this one at Donington
Picture courtesy Graham Nevil

Last but not least Frank Aston’s blue R7 at a local sprint. This car was found in Germany in 2015 with the blue paint still visible on its body (full story here)
Picture courtesy Graham Nevil

Friday 4 October 2019

Sabre owner looking for Sabre owners

Since it isn't clear how many Sabre Sprints and Sabre Varios were made exactly in the mid-1980s owner Ron Palgrave now plans to register as many as he can. He wrote to me: "Hi Jeroen. I am the owner of the yellow Sabre Sprint in your first Maximum Mini edition. I wonder if you have any other Sabre owners on the circulation list. I am building a register of other owners and would like them to get in touch with me. I do not think there will be many. The builder, (Steve Crabtree) works close to where I live, and I speak with him from time to time. Just now I am trying to persuade him to mould an original dashboard for me. The item that came with the car is fake wood and has been described as looking a bit like a coffin lid! I first contacted Steve some years ago and at that point he told me he had built more than 100 Sabres. Talking later with his colleague Dave Crowshaw he estimated a lower number. When I discussed this with Steve, he said “Well it felt like 100 cars !” In fact, no factory records exist."

"To date I have identified 13 other cars, though all might not still exist. It includes four cars still owned by Steve Crabtree. So I might guess that up to 30 cars might have been sold. This is closer to the number Dave Crowshaw gave me. However, I would like to continue the search, and so any clues you can provide would be appreciated."

Meanhile, I've had a look in the files and found the following registrations. Do you know of others? Ron would love to hear from you, as I do.

EVK 330K - Red Sabre Sprint
YNF 23S - Red Sabre Sprint
Q424 WNL - White Sabre Sprint
Q435 WET - White Sabre Sprint
Q518 WNL - White Sabre Vario
Q614 RNH - White Sabre Sprint
Q584 WFT - Blue Sabre Sprint
Q716 WFT - White Sabre Sprint
Q822 GRW - Yellow Sabre Spint
Q845 WFT - Yellow Sabre Sprint
Q879 WJR - White Sabre Sprint modified into six-wheeler pick-up

UPDATE 7 October 2019:
The following cars have now been added to the list, thanks to Ron, who also ads: "Hope your blog unearths some more, but I am starting to think that even my estimate of 30 produced cars might be too high"

Q585 WFT - White Sabre Sprint
Q645 WFT - no further data known
Q647 WFT - Red Sabre Sprint
Q760 DAJ - White Sabre Sprint
Q935 GRW - Cream Sabre Sprint

Rallying a Sabre Sprint in the 1980s - but how many were made / survive?
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Advertisement for the Sabre Sprint of 1985. Do you own one?
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Tuesday 1 October 2019

Mystery Mini Derivative (63) - UPDATED

Now here's one Mystery Mini Derivative that has been haunting me for a long time. So far, all we know is that the car was seen (and photographed) in St Ives in Cornwall somewhere in early 1983 by a man named Maurice Equity Leng. From the registration '169 EEA' we can learn that the base vehicle was a 1961 Mini Van with 1100 power. But no badges could be found on it. The windscreen is larger and more raked than that of a standard Mini and the body may well have been sectioned, too? And then there's the low nose and widened arches. In fibreglass? We do not even know that. Who does?

UPDATE 4 October 2019: Various readers recognize the bonnet of a Triumph Spitfire. 
Alan Brown wrote: "Hi Jeroen. Looking at it, it seems to be a Triumph Spitfire / Mini mongrel. Apart from the addition of the flared arches I think the front subframe would have been extended forward to pick up the Spitfires flip front hinges, without taking measurements of each cars widths at the A panels of each I cannot tell if the front of either part would have been adjusted to suit, from the picture it looks as if the mini has no changes. Maybe where the front arches have been fitted aided the change to suit the shape transition."
He later added: "After a bit of investigation I found that the Mk 3 Spitfire was only 31mm wider than the Mk1 Mini van so the integration would have been fairly easy" See the photoshopped image he came up with below.
Ian Shearer wrote: "Hi Jeroen, I've just made contact with a friend who has had a shop on the harbour side, near 'The Sloop' since the early 80's and may well be able to shed some light on the car, fingers crossed."

Mystery Mini '169 EEA' was spotted in St Ives, Cornwall
Picture Maurice Equity Long

UPDATE: And this is what Alan Brown came up with