Monday, 14 June 2021

Return to the scene

It seems that slowly but surely the action is returning to the classic car scene with several events returning to the calendar and actually taking place! Below is a selection of pictures sent to me and found online from Mini derivatives that could be seen in the last week or so.

60 Years of the Mini Cooper was celebrated at the Circuit de la Châtre in central France last weekend,
 with lots of Minis and Mini Coopers attending as well as this Mini Marcos, seen here early 
morning in the pit street
Picture Gérard Zanol

And it wasn't the only Marcos attending the sunny event. Two more of them seen here front row
Picture Gérard Zanol

And two more Mini Marcoses, both Mk4s seen at the National Mini & Metro Show at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon. The yellow car is owned by Des Bennett and the orange one by Richard Porter, who both built it from new and still own it after more than 40 years!
Picture Richard Porter

London Concours was one of the few events that took place last year. It returned to the city for 2021 where it took place at the fields of the Honourable Artillery Company from June 8-10. Stunning place with some stunning cars. See the Unipower?
Picture Tim Scott 

Last year Tim Carpenter's Unipower GT was on display here; this year it was Gerry Hulford's car, looking ever so good in the sun. Remarkably, the wing mentions Stanley Robinson and John Blanckley as drivers who, as far as I know never drove this car. Very confusing!
Picture The Sporting Minis

Derek Wilkins brought his ex-Cars & Car Conversions Cox GTM over to Shelsley Walsh last weekend, where 60 Years of Jaguar's E-type was celebrated together with the Mini Cooper Register
Picture Ian Hunt

Jamie Crudgington is having fun in the gorgeous Mk1 Mini Jem of his father Pete. They brought it to a track day at Mallory Park a few weeks ago and will be racing it at Donington soon in an action-packed field
Picture Pete Crudgington

Another track day, another cool Mini derivative. That's Guy Loveridge with the Ogle SX1000 in between a wide variety of other racing cars at Blyton Park in Lincolnshire on June 2nd
Picture Guy Loveridge

The National Mini Cooper Day at Beaulieu took place last weekend, too, and saw things turn back to as they were two years ago. Seen here a particularly nice MiniSprint, a Stewart & Ardern built car? 
Picture Richard Porter

Another rarely seen Mini derivative at the National Mini Cooper Day and like the MiniSprint it's another Neville Trickett design, too: a Siva Mule of which 12 were made in the 1970s
Picture Richard Porter

Friday, 11 June 2021

Biota returns to Harewood - and meets an old friend

Biota owner and Maximum Mini fan of the first hour Tim Harber was in for a surprise last weekend at Harewood. He wrote:

"I wanted to go to Harewood two weeks after Prescott, which was my ultimate goal after 10 weeks of changing power unit and gear change etc etc. (Didn’t fancy hitting a bank with the sheet of aluminium with a bit of padding as a seat and a lap seat belt so we fitted an old race seat and harness). At Prescott I'd not been allowed to run competitively as the Biota doesn’t have a current spec roll cage – they chose to use some stricter rules so I just got to do a 'fun run' - so not timed and not supposed to go fast! They even wouldn’t let me wear my helmet as it might make me keen to go too fast!" 

"Harewood was where Chris Seaman won the 1972 BARC Hillclimb championship in the 'works' Biota. I e-mailed Harewood to transfer my entry to my circuit racer as I imagined they wouldn’t let me run the Biota and it got sent to their technical dude. He replied saying I could run! Even better – it was Chris Seaman himself who is the Technical one even now!"

"I got there late Friday night for nice sunset pics and did my runs the next day (not quick as it’s got a standard 1275 with a long (3.1) diff, but happy enough to get there and take part. Got to meet Chris and chat and take pictures (he was the hairy one in the original pics). So, the scene is now set for next year to get a beefy power unit with an LSD to take me nearer the front of the class. I was last this year in the sports car class so all to go for. I did 78 seconds up the hill whereas I had done 71 seconds in my 1965 blue racer before so I was really happy with the handling considering it’s on its original rear (motorbike derived) shocks and springs. Onwards to final victory!"

"I have been emailed some other Biota owners to encourage them to go next year with as many others as can be dragged there. If we manage a picture with 3, it will be a world-first! All good fun. Tim"

Now isn't that a lovely message! Thanks again very much Tim and let's see who else will make it to Harewood in the next year.

Tim Harber (left) with Chris Seaman, who won at Harewood in 1972 in a Biota
Picture courtesy Tim Harber

There's the winning car in the centre, Chris Seaman with long hair in it
Picture courtesy Tim Harber

Biota promotional flyer: Chris Seaman 1st overall, John Houghton 3rd overall
Picture Jeroen Booij archive 

Early morning, beautiful view. "I imagined they wouldn’t let me run the Biota"...
Picture courtesy Tim Harber

But then Tim found that Chris Seaman was Harewood hillclimb's "technical dude"!
Picture Phill Andrews

He made it in 78 seconds up the hill with some room for improvement
Picture Phill Andrews

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Ranger Cub 4, new and unbuilt...

A rare Ranger Cub 4 has just made it to the market. While the three-wheeled Ranger Cub proved to be a hit for a short time in the mid-1970s, the four-wheeler version wasn't. Just four of them were sold and it seems that this one was never built. It's an empty shell which will need all the necessary Mini parts to turn it into a car. It's for sale in Sunderland, north-east England.

Remarkably, two other Ranger Cub 4 have been seen for sale in the last few years. There was another empty shell, also black, in 2014 (see here - it's not the same is it?), while a red car turned up in 2016 (see here). There was also the black car built by John J. Thomas and registered '524 NOA' that was used for some promotional pictures also. The red car may have been the one shown at the London Speed Show in 1975? Bot Cub4s can be seen in the pictures below. 

UPDATE 17:30: The two black shells are the same after all, or so I have been told by two different readers. Thank you chaps!


A rare Ranger Cub 4 is offered for sale in Sunderland, Tyne & Wear
Picture Ebay

No engine, no suspension, no mechanicals whatsoever. It's never been built
Picture Ebay

Just four of these Cub 4s were made and it seems that at least two of them were black
Picture Ebay

Brand new shell! Building it up will need plenty of drilling and a donor Mini
Picture Ebay

The Ranger Cub 4 was a miniature pick-up, the later Ranger Pick-Up was far more popular
Picture Ebay

'524 NOA' was built by John J. Thomas and used for promotional causes
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

London Speed Show 1975. Behind the black Ranger Cub is a red Ranger Cub 4 and a Ranger Pick-Up
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Another ABC Tricar found

More and more people manage to find Maximum Mini with Mini based car they find in barns, sheds, hedges or overgrown gardens, undisclosing information about cars that have sometimes been long lost.

Latest is Grant Cox who stumbled upon an ABC Tricar that was previously unknown to me. He wrote: "Hello Jeroen, I snapped BFD 131J this week, buried in stuff! Okay to use my picture but please credit me! There isn't much I can tell you as it was a chance find, while looking at the green Citroen Dyane in the picture which was visible from the road. I will trust your discretion on revealing it's exact location. It may be hidden for a reason!"

No problem with that Grant, as it is much appreciated in the first place. I have added 'BFD 131J' to the list of known ABCs now (click here), but perhaps somebody knows more about this particular Tricar? 

There really is an ABC Tricar hidden there. It's registration is BFD 131J
Picture Grant Cox

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Camarotta now for sale

Looking for a little Mini-based roadster to enjoy this summer? Look no further. The one-off Camarotta is now for sale. The car was designed and built by Dave Ratner in the 1990s, who followed a KAD course and built a proper jig to do so. Dave told me: "There was no rush and it took me about two weeks just to do the door hinges." He was very happy with the finished car, though, and said he could let the steering wheel go at 85mph. 

Current owner Lars Lagisse of Germany bought the car two years ago and managed to sail through TÜV testing, so it is on German plates now. He also fitted a catalyst converter as well as new side screens. The engine is a 1275 sourced from a 1979 1275GT. Interested? See the ad here.

The Camarotta derived from Dave Ratner's earlier Berkeley based cars
Picture Jeroen Booij

The car now has TÜV approval, is on German plates and... is for sale 
Picture Lars Lagisse

It uses the engine from a 1979 Mini 1275 GT, placed slightly lower in its subframe
Picture Jeroen Booij