Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Biota restoration in Belgium

Rene Sontrop from France and the brothers Peter & Jos Niessen from The Netherlands aren't the only Biota owners on this side of Europe. Peter Morley is another. He lives in Belgium and has had his car for a very long time. I hadn't heard from him for years so thought it was time to drop him a line. A number of messages about the now beautifully restored 'Dutch demonstrator' followed. Peter wrote: 

"Hi Jeroen, it’s nice that the one you found went back to the original family. I heard from someone who had mine at one time, but when I told him how much I’d spent on it he lost interest! Interesting that it was left hand drive but I shouldn’t be surprised because Minis are so easy to convert. And it has a chassis plate, mine just has an aluminium tag that they stamped, presumably in the second year they could afford some chassis plates! I will send you some photos of mine – soon (I promised a friend photos of something next week over a month ago and he’s still waiting!). Best wishes Peter"

I didn't have to wait long though as they arrived shortly afterwards: "Hi Jeroen, I was just rearranging the garage and took some quick photos of the Biota. I had some expensive trips to Minispares etc. and bought most of the mechanical parts. I also found parts like new rear light lenses and chrome surrounds and windscreen pillars. And there’s a rebuilt set of Speedwell instruments that I’m thinking of fitting. Pretty much everything is there it is just a case of getting stuck into and assembling everything. When I saw the Coldwell manifold I had to have it – of course there aren’t many people who will know the connection. Last time I saw Bill Needham I told him I had a Biota and he just said 'Why?'! Best wishes, Peter."

Peter's Biota is an early car, chassis number 6, and is under restoration for years now
Picture Peter Morley

It's still on its British plate 'OJL 1H' but the car has been in Belgium for many years now
Picture Peter Morley

Peter has a rebuilt set of Speedwell instruments that he's thinking of fitting
Picture Peter Morley

Although it once had an 850, the engine now is a tweaked 1275. Note the Coldwell manifold! 
Picture Peter Morley

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