Monday 23 December 2019

Season's greetings

A merry Christmas and a happy New Year with lots of Mini (based) motoring to all Maximum Mini readers and fans. Thank you for your support in 2019 and don't forget to vote for the 'Best Find of 2019' (click here).

One little scoop for the new year already then - The mysterious Swedish Ogle SX1000 seen below (full story of it here) has been tracked down! All about that, and much more Maximum Mini articles are to follow in 2020. Have a good one!

A possible 'Best Find of 2020' already? - this Ogle SX1000 has just been found. More to follow
Picture Jeroen Booij archive / Teknikens värld

Thursday 12 December 2019

What is the Find of the Year 2019?

It's time to introduce you to the nominees for the 'Best Find of 2019', a contest held on Maximum Mini every year. Once again I picked out what I believe to be the 5 best finds and discoveries made in 2019. 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 drop a comment below stating your favourite (click here if you read this through an email message), or do it on my Facebook page (here). The one with the most votes wins - it's simple as that. Now, over to the candidates:

Long search ends in a London shed: MoBi One finally found. Full story here and here

Rumours of its survival came true: Australia's sports car 'Project X' survives. Full story here

The British-built ASP 1300 racer appears to be alive in Kansas, USA. Full story here

Unrecognzable as such but this really is the Salt & Pepper Mini Moke. Full story here

A surprise find at a New Zealand wrecker's yard: the Wellington mystery Special. Full story here

Wednesday 11 December 2019

Christmas offer 2019

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 Wednesday 11th November 2019 and runs until 25 December 2019.

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

Monday 9 December 2019

Wellington mystery Special survives - only just

When Jud Chapman saw a car he didn't recognize at the local wrecker's yard in Horopito, New Zealand, he took some photographs of it and posted the picture online. it didn't take me long to recognize the car as the mysterious 'Wellington Special' described in Maximum Mini 3 and also here with a picture of Graeme Farr. Graeme was quite sure the car had been scrapped after having photographed it in the 1990s, but apparently it survives - only just!

And that was not all to the story. Another New Zealand enthusiast, Bob McBurney, saw the pictures, too, and also recognized the car as he'd even been a former owner. He added: "It's an Eclipse based on an Austin 1300 floor pan supposedly to look similar to a Lotus Esprit. I was told it came from Britain as a kit with 1100 or 1300 floor pan and running gear, but I'm not sure. It was in primer when I got it and had pop up headlights using a wiper motor. I ran my 1430 mini motor in it for a bit of fun. Guys didn't know what just passed them! I owned it over 30 years ago but it had rust in the floor pan so I moved it on. It definitely turned heads, pity the floor pan was rotten. Amazing it's still around, I totally forgot about it. I would have liked to know who built it."

Graeme Farr, who thought it had been scrapped decades ago added: "Wow, who would have thought! I think it had a council towaway sticker on it when I saw it. I thought it had just been abandoned there as it was the end of a dead end street. Good to see its still around. A friend (has a Mk1 Cooper S) sometimes looks after a hotel owned by the same owners at the Horopito wreckers and I will ask him where it came from."

So there we go again... Who knows more about the car that's now identified as the Eclipse? And last but not least - will somebody see the potential of it and save it from the scrappers after all?!

Wellington mystery Special is found at a wrecker's yard in Horopito, New Zealand
Picture Jud Chapman

This is the same car decades ago, and believed to have been scrapped since this picture was taken
Picture Graeme Farr / Jeroen Booij archive

It has much deteriorated since but at least survives. We now also know it was named Eclipse
Picture Jud Chapman

Austin 1100 base is visible in original Blaze Orange. Somebody save this vehicle!
Picture Jud Chapman

Friday 6 December 2019

Unipower GT websites fall over each other?

A plethora of pages dedicated to the Unipower GT has found its way to the world wide web in the last couple of years, with a new one being launched this week, claiming to be the only official site.

From the message I received: "The intention is to build on this initial content and maintain its currency to make it interesting for all going forward."

But wasn't just that the idea of the earlier ones, too? First there was the website of Portuguese Unipower owner, racer and enthusiast Rui Sanhudo, by now pretty much outdated but still going strong online. When UK based Unipower owner and enthusiast Tim Carpenter started a new fresh website a couple of years ago I was very keen. Tim owns his car for a long time, but only started using it more fanatically since he rolled it out of its long-term hiding place more recently, by which time he found there was no good information to be found online, too, filling in the gap.

Not much later UK based Unipower owner and well-known figure in classic Mini circles Peter Flanagan started a Facebook page for fans of the Unipower GT, which soon grew to hundreds of members and opened up lots of new information, too. A separate Facebook Group was started some time later by Pete for members only. They are another up-to-date source for anything Unipower.

And now there is the new website started by Unipower owner and enthusiast Gerry Hulford, who ran a Unipower GT register back in the 1970s and 1980s and who owns the original factory records. A couple of years Gerry told me that these records would be donated to the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, but I don't think that ever happened. Gerry now wrote: "I would like this website to be a portal for the sharing of information for the benefit of all", and "I have deliberately avoided providing details of the cars/owners themselves as I have always maintained confidentially of all ownership details for obvious reasons."

But with all the information already online, a proper register of cars actually may just be the only thing missing? I have once started to make a database with cars, put in order by their chassis numbers, but thought I'd better leave this to the dedicated Unipower owners / fans. What do you think? Is it good to have as many enthusiasts making their own club / register / database / page, or should they all join forces?

Click on the links below to take you to the websites as mentioned above, to see them for yourselves
Unipower GT Facebook page
Unipower GT Facebook group

Finally, there is by now quite a lot of Unipower information on these pages, too.
This link sends you to all the 82 Unipower GT related articles that I wrote in the last 9 years or so.

Wednesday 4 December 2019

Lolita Mk2 in old pictures

I was donated a lovely old picture of the Australian built Lolita Mk2 (see Maximum Mini 1 for full story and beautiful picture by Craig Watson) recently and ended up finding several more at Aussie motoring press agency Autopics. The Lolita was designed and built by Henry Nehrybecki's and Ian Pope's 'Lolita Automobile Developments' in 1967. The car came in the Can Am-fashion of the late 1960s and used some innovative ideas. The 1310cc Cooper 'S' engine was canted much forwards and came from the rally Mini of Australian race ace Bob Holden, who took the Mk2 to the tracks, too.
The car later received an Alfa Romeo 1500 engine, but was restored to its former glory in the 2000s with another Mini 1380 unit. By the time Maximum Mini volume 1 came out in 2009 it was owned by Greg Neal, but I'm not sure if he still has it?

New (to me) photograph of the Lolita Mk2 in action on an Australian track in the late 1960s
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

But more have been unearthed by Autopics. This is the car at Warwick Farm in 1969 

Same race, it seems. The car was driven by Aussie legend Bob Holden here

Bathhurst, 7 April 1969, with Bob Holden behind the wheel once more

Warwick Farm, 5 September 1970. Holden racing for Lolita Automobile Developments

The Lolita Mk2 appears to have been modified here with aluminium spoilers?