Monday 31 October 2022

Swedish Marcos to be auctioned

A lovely Mk3 Mini Marcos that was supposedly sold new to Sweden is now offered for sale in an auction. The car is said to have been sold through Swedish concessionaire Elmhorn-Troberg Racing Service and was first registered in Sweden in 1969 with a Mk1 Cooper from Kalmar used as a base vehicle to build it up. 

It does remind me of Bo Elmberg's Mk3 that could be seen racing a big Ferrari in anger on the Roskildering in 1967 (see here). Remarkably, Mini Marcoses were built in Sweden also and it could perhaps even be one of a few made there, too. Click here for the full story about that. 

Fact is that it's seen some modifications over the years, including a straight cut Cooper 'S' gearbox and many more tuning parts. The wheels are rare Swedish-made JP alloys, very period. Inside an Innocenti dashboard has been added but most of the interior is believed to be original. The car was bought by the current owner in 2017 who is now selling it due to other restoration projects. For the full description from Bilweb Auctioneers click here. Bidding starts on the 3rd of this month and the estimate is 170- to 190,000 Swedish Crones (12,600 - 13,400 GBP or 14,500 to 15,500 Euros approx.).

A Swedish Mini Marcos Mk3 of 1969 is offered for sale in auction
Picture Bilweb Auctioneers

A nice and clean car that was supposedly sold new to Sweden
Picture Bilweb Auctioneers

Swedish concessionaire was Elmhorn-Troberg Racing Service of Stockholm
Picture Bilweb Auctioneers

Built originally with a Mk1 Cooper as a base it has been modified heavily
Picture Bilweb Auctioneers

The interior is said to be largely original though. Dashboard is a later Innocenti
Picture Bilweb Auctioneers

Lovely lightweight wheels are rare JPs (not JAPs), also made in Sweden
Picture Bilweb Auctioneers

Friday 28 October 2022

An early Pavesi Mini

Carrozzeria Pavesi of Milano undertook some daring coachbuilding jobs. They chopped off the roof of brand new DeTomasos, Ferraris and Iso Grifos and turned a Maserati Quattroporte (the name meaning ‘four doors’ in Italian) into a two-door coupé... And they also equipped a number of Minis into ultra-luxurious small cars with extravagant leather interiors, electrically operated windows and sunroofs plus dashboards and centre consoles in wood with Veglia gauges. Twelve are believed to have been built but I'd never seen an early car such as this one below. The pictures were shared by GAM ShineDetailing of Scandicci near Florence, which did a great job polishing it.

Like the other Pavesi Minis I have seen this one looks to be Innocenti based also, but being a Mk1 it is earlier than any of the others I've come across. It is striking in its burgundy colour with an ivory leather interior and light wood details (look at that centre console!). The hand brake lever has been replaced to the left hand side of the driver's seat, which on its own looks to be sourced from a non-British car. The headlining is nice, too, and the heater looks to be something special as well (Update: it's a classic Bakelite telephone!). Quite a car!

Early Innocenti Mk1 based Pavesi Mini comes with all the bells and whistles
Picture GAM ShineDetailing

Grille surround and indicators are a giveaway of this being an Italian-built Mini
Picture GAM ShineDetailing

Sunroof and deep gloss paint job, and look at the wood inside...
Picture GAM ShineDetailing

Now that's a centre console! Note automatic transmission and electric window switches
Picture GAM ShineDetailing

Hand brake lever has been replaced to the left. What are those seats from - Lancia?
Picture GAM ShineDetailing

This car's details are beautiful. The black device is not a heater but a telephone! 
Picture GAM ShineDetailing

Headlining is upholstered with wool in colour, too. What a car!
Picture GAM ShineDetailing

Monday 24 October 2022

Unipower GT from The Troubleshooters

A BBC television series named 'The Troubleshooters', which ran from 1965 to 1972 (the first year as 'Mogul') featured a Unipower GT as the main transportation for one of the lead characters played by actor Ray Barrett. The series revolved around an oil company called Mogul and was all about international company take-overs, political tensions, the discovery of new oil fields and the negotiation of drilling rights. 

Remarkably most of the original recordings were wiped by the BBC with very little of the footage now surviving. A few of the earliest (black & white) episodes have been saved but only one of them in colour, dated 1970s, is known to survive. Wikipedia mentions: "A previously missing episode from series two - "Birdstrike" - was returned to the BBC by a private collector in May 2010". I don't know in which series Barret could be seen driving the Unipower but I am guessing 1967 or 1968. Unfortunately these seem to be among the ones missing.

I came across this after reading a period article (dated August '68) which shows the car as it was used in the series, mentioning The Troubleshooters as having a prominent role for the Unipower. The car that was used was the factory demonstrator 'OYF 80F', which also featured in a great number of magazine articles and several PR shots. It was here running on white 'reverse rim' wheels and featuring a Mogul decal on the back. I guess the colour must have been the metallic green seen on a few other period pictures of the car. Remarkably, it's the only Unipower publication which seems to mention The Troubleshooters, there's also not a word about it in the Unipower GT book which came out last year. 

It would be fantastic to learn that footage from The Troubleshooters of Barrett with the car does survive after all.

UPDATE 2 November 2022: The Troubleshooters do get a brief mention in the Unipower book, as Gerry Hulford points out rightly! From the text: "The Unipower would see fame on television, with a car being taken by one of the factory trimmers, Gerry (Gez) Wheeler, to be filmed in the BBC TV drama series 'The Troubleshooters'. Based around the fictitious Mogul Oil Company, the car appeared in one of the episodes filmed at Saltburn-on-Sea and at the Croft race track in the Midlands of England."

The Unipower GT from BBC series 'The Troubleshooters' about fictive oil company Mogul
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

The Unipower is said to have had a prominent role in the series but no footage seems to survive
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

'OYF 80F' was a factory demonstrator that featured in a great number of magazine articles also
Anyone who recognizes the backdrop, by the way?
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Actor Ray Barrett played a lead role in the series and was the man driving the Unipower GT
Picture Star Stills

A little playing with Photoshop since no (moving) images of Barrett with the car seem to survive...
Photo editing Jeroen Booij

Friday 21 October 2022

How an unbuilt TiCi in the USA links to Brabham and McLaren

Avid Maximum Mini enthusiast and multiple Stimson cars and TiCi owner Paul Wylde wrote to me a while ago: "How about this then J. The rights to the TiCi were sold back in 1974 and now live in the States with a man who brought them back in 1974 along with a car that he still has. I have asked him for more info too, as he was a good friend of the designer. He used to visit the factory in Bourne when they were making them on several occasions and there is a connection with James Hunt with them too." 

Well, that was interesting! Here's what followed from the man in question, Rodney Butterfield: "My car was acquired direct from Anthony Hill himself when I was at Loughborough University in Leicestershire in 1974. He lived in the adjacent village and that’s also where all the remaining assets of TiCi were stored when the company was liquidated. I began to build the kit in 1975 using the mechanical parts from a Austin Mini Van that I owned at the time. Interestingly the Mini Van was one that I’d bought from another F1 race mechanic when I went to work at McLaren Racing in 1972, and it was the ex-Brabham parts collection Van before being relocated to McLaren at David Rd, Poyle trading estate. I now believe it was the test mule that was used at McLaren to get downforce numbers for the rear wings and which is featured in a photograph of that testing expertise to be found in the McLaren history books. Kinda cool story all these decades later. I never completed the build I’d started in the 1970’s, partly because it was too small to take my 6’2” frame, but I’ve kept this TiCi ever since, and it came to the USA with me when I moved here in 1992. It’s now stored in the restoration shops I own in Forest City, North Carolina. That’s the whole story. I probably still own the company name of TiCi as I bought all the remaining assets out of the bankruptcy in 1974."

What a great story! I'd seen a picture of the Mini Van with massive rear wing for aerodynamic testing before and include a copy below. It makes this TiCi not the first Mini based car with a link to McLaren cars. The Gordon Murray-built IGM Minbug was of course another. And there was also the one-off Twini-Scamp built by McLaren engineer John Hornby. Thanks Rodney and thanks Paul!

Together with the rights and assets, this unbuilt TiCi was sold to Rodney Butterfield in 1974
Picture Rodney Butterfield

The build was started in 1975 and the car was brought along to California in 1992, but never finished...
Picture Rodney Butterfield

..."Partly because it was too small to take my 6’2” frame, but I’ve kept this TiCi ever since"
Picture Rodney Butterfield

The car was acquired direct from designer Anthony Hill who lived in the adjacent village 
Picture Rodney Butterfield

The Mini mechanicals came from a an Austin Mini Van "bought from another F1 race mechanic"
Picture Rodney Butterfield

It was in fact this: the ex-Brabham parts collection Van and later McLaren test mule Mini Van!
Picture Hemmings

Thursday 13 October 2022

Mystery Mini derivative (83)

From Denmark (where the last mystery Mini derivative was located) over to Germany for the next. And this is an intriguing one, which I really hope some of you here will be able to tell me more about. I was made aware of these pictures with the question for more information. I didn't know anything about it but managed to get in touch with Ralf Streethawk, who took these pictures. Unfortunately he didn't know much either, writing: "Hello, I made these pictures in Bergkamen in the Easter weekend. The car was parked next to a Pilgrim and a Spartan. Greetz, Ralf."

Next, I asked a German friend. Again he didn't know it but he did ask another friend who did, leading to the following information, translated from German: "Yes I know this racing series. It's similar to a Formula V but with the Mini engine and the smallest diameter disc brakes of the Cooper that exist. I can't think of the name of these racing cars since it was a long time ago."

Well, well, a German racing series of its own using Mini power. Surely some of you will know that? Do note that this car appears to be road registered also! Thanks Ralf Streethawk for allowing me to use the pictures.

Sleek single seater racer from Germany, used in a racing series. 1990s or 200s?
Picture Ralf Streethawk

Wheels (12") may be the only giveaway to this racing car being Mini powered
Picture Ralf Streethawk

But there you go. That is a Mini engine driving the rear wheels. Who knows more?
Picture Ralf Streethawk

Wednesday 12 October 2022

Canadian Scamp clone: "Old guy made"

This great little contraption described as '1966 Mini Moke, old guy made' was seen for sale in Ontario, Canada by reader Miguel Plano, who kindly flashed it over. It may look like a Scamp, but I don't it is one as the construction looks slightly different with a simple body appears made from plywood and aluminium profiling. By an old guy. The seller goes on: "Not sure what to call it but it looks like a Moke. Great shriner car or clown car". Miguel added to that: "Looks like someone described it over the phone!". I thinks he's right. I do like it though. This is motoring simplicity in its finest form.

Not a Scamp but an 'Old guy made' one-off from Ontario, Canada
Picture Marge Car

An ideal flatbed transporter? Or room for more seats? Simplicity is the key
Picture Marge Car

Austin engine with relocated battery and even tank? The back must be ultra-light
Picture Marge Car

Knobbly tyres at the front. Plywood body is just visible here
Picture Marge Car

No frills but more wood inside. Was 'Old guy' a Canadian carpenter?
Picture Marge Car

Monday 10 October 2022

Mystery Mini Derivative (82): Danish Beach Car

The two pictures below reached me from Denmark through Michael Hansen, who wanted to know if I'd seen this car before. All he knows is that it is supposedly based on a 1967 Austin Seven. Well, I draw a complete blank here. It does look similar to the Kosellek Mini cabriolet, made in Alençon, France in the late-1960s or perhaps to the Crayford Carnival, but it's clearly different to these. Look at those fat A-pillars! And how about the massive bumpers, Volvo-sourced..? Any information would be most welcome.

A mystery Mini Beach car conversion from Denmark. I'd never seen this one before
Picture courtesy Michael Hansen

Massive bumpers and ditto grille, fat A-pillars and no doors. Who knows more..?
Picture courtesy Michael Hansen

Friday 7 October 2022

ASP 1300 'S': "An advanced Cox GTM and Terrapin"

There is some good news about the Mini based ASP 1300 'S' that resurfaced in Kansas, USA three years ago (click here). The car was sold to Jim Allen recently, who's started to recommission and who told me he is eager to find out who exactly designed and built it. I'd like to know, too.

With the car came some paperwork and particularly interesting is a letter from former UK based owner Stephen Langton, dated September 1983. In it he writes: "The name ASP does not stand for All Spare Parts, it's name is taken from the little snake that bit Cleopatra?! The car was built in 1965 and is totally unique (how about that centre back-bone cum fuel tank?). The Asp was an advanced design of the Cox GTM and the Terrapin, and was built to compete with the millions of rear engined Loti that were around at the time. That little car really could fly! I won many sprint and short circuit races with it, the handling properties are quite amazing, unlike some of the heavy metal that I race these days."

"The engine is very special, it's a works development unit of (from memory) about 105 horse power! It's a 1300cc Cooper S unit, and all the. normal Cooper parts fit it, i.e. rods, crank gears etc. The car originally ran on 13" Austin Healey wheels (Sprite), but the last time I saw t, it was on wide Mini alloys (didn't look so good)."

Interestingly, Jim also found a spare badge and noticed that on the back of it the name Cox GTM is visible. I don't see any relation to the Cox in the car's construction, but with both the letter stating it as well as with the badge I surely must be wrong here..?

The ultra-low ASP (or Asp?) 1300 'S' on Jim's trailer off to a new home
Picture Jim Allen

Without its front and rear bodywork it becomes clear the car is quite special
Picture Jim Allen

Nose section comes with windscreen
Picture Jim Allen

Note that the car's petrol tank is incorporated centrally in its chassis. Wow!
Picture Jim Allen

Cleaned and with the bodywork on again, it is now in Jim's garage
Picture Jim Allen

A spare badge of the ASP 1300 'S' hid a secret
Picture Jim Allen

On the back of it the words 'Cox GTM' become clear
Picture Jim Allen

The ASP when it was raced in the UK. What are this car's origins?
Picture courtesy Jim Allen

Tuesday 4 October 2022

Commemorating the Maya GT's creator on World Animal Day

Today is World Animal Day, which just has to be a particular good day to commemorate George Holmes. Holmes was the man behind the Camber GT and it's later incarnation the Maya GT. That was in fact named after his wife’s riding horse and the car was given a new logo with a running horse, not totally unlike that of Ford’s Mustang. That's one. But what may make it even more suitable is that Holmes was tragically killed in a road accident in 1968 while driving his own Maya GT. He saw an injured bird on the road, stopped and went out to rescue it. But another driver had not noticed him and ran him over, killing him on the spot. What a sad end for a great animal lover!

Maya GT, named after George Holmes' wife's horse. He was killed rescuing a bird
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

I found that a great number of Mini based cars were actually named after animals. This is my list of them:

AF Spider
Andersen Cub 
Ashley Gnat 
Austin Ant 
BAL Salamander
BSE Badger 
Badsey Eagle 
Bandicoot Mini 
Banham Bat
Brookland Swallow 
CJC Bison 
Cavallo Estivo 
Charlatte La Puce 
Dandy Dragonfly 
Deerstalker Mini 
Domino Pup 
Dougal Bug 
Everson Cherub 
Fargo Tiger Special 
Fireball Midget 
Flying Falcon 
Galloping Maggot 
Grantura Yak 
Hare 3-wheeler 
Hollier Mosquito 
IGM Minbug 
Kingfisher Sprint 
Ladybird Special 
Leonhardt Tiger 
Luna Bug 
MG Wasp 
MMP Gnat Sports 
Mamba BLMC 
Mini Beaver 
Mini Mongrel 
Mini Mouse (UK) 
Mini Mouse (US) 
Mini Mutt 
Mini Puma 
Mini Robin 
Mini Shark 
Onyx Bobcat 
RD Wasp 
Ranger Cub 
Redbird Mini 
Sarcon Scarab 
Scorpion Mini 
Silver Flea 
Siva Mule 
Stimson Midi Bug 
Stimson Mini Bug 
Stimson Snow Bug 

Mathijs finds an Irish Kingfisher Sprint

Mini Marcos owner and fellow-Dutchman Mathijs van Mullem lives in Ireland these days and he took his Marcos with him. He does send over a message every now and then. Last week a brief one came in: "Found a Kingfisher here in Ireland and bought it to play a little with". Wow! Doesn't that look like a nice example of the rare Kingfisher Sprint? Congrats mate, I'd love to hear more about it in due course!

'VFO 218' is a Kingfisher Sprint. About 35 of them were made in the early 1980s
Picture Mathijs van Mullem

The Kingfisher had a big rear hatch with a Datsun 120Y screen in it
Picture Mathijs van Mullem

Mathijs found this in Ireland, where he lives, and bought it to play with
Picture Mathijs van Mullem

He restored a Mk3 Mini Marcos, and drives that now in Ireland, too
Picture Instagram