Thursday, 27 August 2020
Shikari resurfaces in Winchester
Monday, 24 August 2020
Unipower GT at London Concours
Friday, 21 August 2020
Broadspeed GT 2nd demonstrator - where is it now?
The cream coloured and now beautifully restored Broadspeed GT with registration 'EOP 89D' is known as Broadspeed Engineering's demonstrator. The Motor magazine, however, road tested another car back in 1966 and published about it in its August issue of that year. This was 'FOH 500D' and it was a dark coloured car. A second demonstrator? Or just a car that happened to be available at the time? From the report:
"The test car, which we were allowed to keep for all four days, was the highest priced version with a tuned 1,275-cc engine. It attracted considerable interest wherever we took it even within a hundred yards of the Broadspeed establishment, which suggested that there aren't yet many of them about. (...) We did not have the car long enough to put it through our normal acceleration tests on a private circuit, but we managed to time it at 112 mph maximum in top. Power output is about 100 bhp and the compression ratio 10.5 to 1. Twin 1 1/2 SU carburetors are fitted."
Now, pictures of this car are scarce, and I wonder if it survives? A small ad in a later magazine mentions a Broadspeed GT for sale in Coventry. That car was opalescent maroon in colour with a black leather interior and 1275 Cooper 'S' engine. Could it have been the same?
UPDATE 8 February 2021: More pictures and a Swedish report of the car have emerged. Click here.
Wednesday, 19 August 2020
Australia's coachbuilt 'Millionaire' Mini - a one-off?
When you think of coachbuilt Minis the names of Harold Radford and Wood & Pickett spring to mind. But there have been many more companies coachbuilding Minis, in the UK but also in Italy and France. An Australian coachbuilt Mini, however, was new to me. But Leigh Sherringham made me aware of it by sending a copy of a clipping from the Melbourne newspaper 'The Age' dated February 1971.
The article by Christopher de Fraga is about a Mini, locally coachbuilt by a man named Ken Jack of Mossman. And his (Mk2 based?) creation appears to have earned its name as a coachbuilt car, including full-length walnut dashboard with lots of gauges and switches, leather clad seats sourced from the MGB, air conditioning and 'performance improved beyond that of the usual Cooper S' mated to automatic transmission. Further gadgets, hidden in a walnut cabinet in the back, included telephone, refrigerator, dictaphone, glass cabinet and electric razor. The car's rear lights are said to have been changed, too, but unfortunately this cannot be seen on the pictures.
The car is said to have been built for the director of a Sydney company at a cost of over 6,000 dollars and, interestingly, the article states that 'replicas could be made more cheaply from lessons learned in the first exercise'. I wonder if that ever happened. And how about this particular car? A survivor?
Monday, 17 August 2020
Micron GT recollections from the boy next door
Friday, 14 August 2020
From the files: Stimson Mini Bug racer
Wednesday, 12 August 2020
Was Australia's first Mini Jem really buried?
Monday, 10 August 2020
Morris Beach Car barn find (UPDATED)
Yet another Beach Car has turned up in the US! And this is a bit of an oddball. Based on the data from the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust we know that between December 1961 and March 1962, fourteen Minis with consecutive chassis numbers were converted into Beach Cars. All of these were Austins and all of them left-hand-driven and with destination 'USA'. Apart from these fourteen production cars, there were two earlier prototypes, but that's it.
Or not? As it now appears now there have been four more Minis converted into Beach Cars. Earlier this summer, a fifteenth Beach Car resurfaced in the US. And unlike all the others, this car was based on a Morris Mini and is believed to have been one of a later series of another four, built in November 1963. The car found was sold new to August 'Gussie' Bush junior, known for his brewing empire (Budweiser) and baseball career (St Louis Cardinals). Bush drove the car for twenty years, after which it ended up in a barn in Iowa, from which it was only rescued now.
From the Heritage certificate we learn that the car was originally Snowberry White with a Tartan Red roof in colour, with red wicker basket seats. As the owner Steve Myers says in this video, it's possible that the red seat frames were meant here? The wicker is still hidden under white covers, but certainly doesn't seem to be red. Could this one be the same car? Who knows more?
UPDATE 14:00 - there is uncertainty about the car's identity. It is a genuine Mini Beach Car but despite the Morris badging it is most probably an Austin, too, just like its siblings.
Friday, 7 August 2020
Building a Jimini back in 1977
At the time Jim wrote to me: "These pictures were taken when I took delivery of the JiMiNi in April 1977, and when it was complete and road legal in July 1977. The last one was taken last year, after I bought my replacement - The Quantum H4 - which was the main reason that I sold the JiMiNi (Sob-Sob). Incidentally, the attached photo of my JiMiNi, being driven into a van, was taken when we
moved home from the south of England, to Scotland, in 1983. I do have many more photos, taken over the 30 odd years of ownership, some in the original orange, and the newer blue colour."
|That's how the customer received his painted shell from Jimini, ready to be built|
Picture Jeroen Booij archive / Jim Meikle
|All you needed now was a suitable Mini to rob of its mechanicals. Jim had just that|
Picture Jeroen Booij archive / Jim Meikle