Thursday, 14 April 2022

New Mini based cars keep on popping up

I'm regularly asked wether I still hear of Mini based cars new to me. The answer, without a doubt, is yes. After Maximum Mini 3 was finished in 2016 I've kept a folder with new discoveries and it counts over a 100 new-found cars by this time. Yes, I've been thinking of a new book. 

Last week alone two cars I'd never heard of before were brought to my attention. First of them was an Estate named Nifty, which was supposedly only seen at the 1984 Stoneleigh Kit Car show, where it was photographed by Richard Axtell. I have asked around but very little appears to be known about it. According to Steve Hole the company behind it was named Nifty Cars, but that's all he could ad. Chris Rees did have a nice anecdote though. He wrote: "This is a great discovery! I was a young journalist at Stoneleigh that year and was told by Peter Filby not to take any pictures of it as it wasn't important. I've regretted it ever since..."

Second discovery came from the USA and I was made aware of it by a number of readers (thank you all!). It's an ultra-low open-wheel two-seater sports racer with the Mini engine at the back and was offered for sale in Coldspring, Texas. Once again information was very scarce. From the ad: "Custom built open wheel car. What you see is what you get. We know nothing about it, used to run years ago, the man building it passed away and we are selling it for his wife. No title." As always, I'd love to learn a little more about the both of them... And keep those messages coming.

Mini based Nifty was unveiled at the 1984 Stoneleigh Kit Car show...
Picture Richard Axtell

...Only to disappear right after its launch. What happened to Nifty Cars..?
Picture Richard Axtell

Mystery open wheel racer was offered for sale in Coldspring, Texas, USA
Picture Jamie Trogus-Durdin

It's not a car I have come across before - I think. Who knows more about it?
Picture Jamie Trogus-Durdin

Mini engine at the rear, uses very long inlet manifold and exhaust. Number plate says 'Test Car 56'
Picture Jamie Trogus-Durdin

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