Tuesday, 29 December 2020
Monday, 28 December 2020
Tuesday, 22 December 2020
Thursday, 17 December 2020
Wednesday, 16 December 2020
That was in late 2011 and many more messages and leads would follow. I still never spoke to the man, though. But more recently Barnaby Holmes got in touch. He is a family friend of Wilsdon and recently visited his barn where many of his cars are stored now or were until recently. Barnaby was also kind enough to take some photographs of the two Statuses that Mike still owns. He wrote: "Hi Jeroen, we spoke some time ago and I'm a family friend of Mike. I've recently been to the barn where he has some of his collection. The vehicles are being moved and ultimately, put up for sale. I thought you might like a couple photos of his Brian Luff Status Symbols! Apologies for the poor quality. Regards, Barnaby."
That is, of course, much appreciated. It's good to see the cars are still about and I wonder what will happen to them in the near future. Earlier sleuthing work proved that the green one was previously owned by Arthur Bills, who got in touch about it in 2014 (click here), while the red one was at around the same time by Stuart Hards, who also contacted me back in 2012 about it (click here). To be continued.
Friday, 11 December 2020
Thursday, 10 December 2020
An Ogle SX1000 seen here on a picture accompanying a Unipower GT turns out to be in the hands of Maximum Mini reader Stephen Bulling. He wrote: "Hi Jeroen. I am an avid reader of Maximum Mini and only recently saw the items in April 2019 relating to Mike Lousada’s Unipower (click here). It was a great surprise to see a photograph of my Ogle next to Mike’s Unipower. I have little history on my car, inevitably acquired from Chris Gow, and would really like to find out whether Mike recollects to date of the photo and possibly the identity of the owner of the Ogle. I wondered whether you could forward this email to him. I apologize for troubling you on this and attach a couple of current photos of the Ogle following a complete rebuild over recent years. Kind regards, Stephen Bulling"
I flashed over Mike's contacts and learned the Ogle was not the only Mini derivative owned by Stephen, as he replied: "Hi Jeroen I wish everyone responded to my emails as quickly! Thank you for getting involved in my research. I have recently acquired the ‘Broadsprint’ from Olivier Filliettaz (more here) but cannot collect it, due to the Covid travel restrictions. We are also building up a MiniSprint with conversion work carried out by Neville Trickett. He is a very interesting man having been involved in designing/ manufacturing cars for 60 years and still going strong. Kind regards, Stephen"
It is very good to be in touch.
Tuesday, 8 December 2020
The convertible actually was a Daly Runabout built by Daly Cars of Edgware, greater London. Press releases were sent out in force in May 1982 to get the reports printed in time (the birthday took place on July 1). With these releases two black & white pictures were sent along, one of them showing the car with 'Broadfields' plate (the dealer?), while the other one showed only just the actual registration number, which may well have been 'TRF 34X'. That's at least what Daly Car's demonstrator and brochure car also wore. That car, however, was white and wore Weller wheels, while the Princess' car came with Mambas and may well have been a slightly darker hue? Silver grey perhaps?
Remarkably, no other image of Diana and the car are known and I wonder if she actually got it? One white Daly Runabout, which seemed exactly like the one seen in the brochure, was sold in 2016 and said to have been owned previously by cricketeer Duncan Fearnley. But while it also came on Mamba wheels, it wore registration 'MUY 68X'. DVLA doesn't recognize the number 'TRF 34X' anymore. Could it all have been one and the same car after all? Or were they two different cars in the end with the number plates swapped around..? But where is the car then, that was supposedly given to Lady Di..?
UPDATE 1: One reader with better eyes than me pointed out the difference in side stripes and their width. Closer inspection reveals that the striping on the Lady Di car is equally wide but in other and more contrasting colours, difficult to see on the b&w pictures. On the white car it's light blue and darker blue, on the Diana car it seems almost white (top) and black (bottom). See added detail picture below.
UPDATE 2: More to indicate that TRF 34X is another car as Lady Diana's car very possibly wore another registration number after all. DVLA records show that the following numbers may well have been issued to sister cars, all registered as Austin Morrises and with 998 cc engines:
TRF 35X - Registered October 1981, black, on sorn since 2012
TRF 36X - Registered May 1982, green, untaxed since 1991
TRF 37X - Registered May 1982, white, untaxed since 1990
TRF 38X - Registered May 1982, beige, untaxed since 1988
TRF 39X - Registered March 1982, red, on sorn since 2013
TRF 40X - Registered October 1981, red, untaxed since 1991