Thursday 28 December 2023

Now in Maximum Mini Newsletter #4:

New series starts: 'Minis at the 'Ring'

Part 1: the Deep Sanderson 301 Prototype

New Ogle badges now available 

Mystery MiniSprints in Japan

Thursday 21 December 2023

Happy Christmas 2023

The year is almost over with the last days of 2023 being spent in festivities by many. It's been a good year for Maximum Mini. The Le Mans Mini Marcos project is finally seeing progress after a long standstill, while the Ogle SX1000 gave me lots of joy during the season. 

Apart from that Maximum Mini itself has seen a drastic change, too: it is now a paid newsletter for subscribers who pay 5 Euros per month or 60 Euros a year to receive all the words and pictures that were previously free to anyone. Do join if you want to know all about Mini derivatives lost and found as I will continue my work as always.

Thank you for your support and please do bring out your vote for the 'Best Find of 2023' here. Happy Christmas!

A Broadspeed GTS in winter wonderland
Original photograph Paul Stephens, picture editing Jeroen Booij

Tuesday 19 December 2023

Find of the Year 2023: the candidates

Ho-ho-ho, it's that time of year again! The time to traditionally decide which has been the best find of a Mini based car in the past 12 months. We've been doing it for the last 13 years, but this is the first time the poll is sent to the Maximum Mini Newsletter subscribers first. But... the more the merrier, and the better for the poll's results, so let me know what you think, too. 

You will know the drill by this time: the car with the most votes simply wins the 'Maximum Mini Find of the Year 2023' title. Over to the five selected candidates: Just drop me a line below, on Facebook or through my e-mail to tell me which of these is your favourite.

A Siva Buggy that has been hiding in a barn since 1982. Full story here

A Mk1 Biota put away in storage by its first owner in 1974! Full story here 

The first of the Bulanti Minis resurfaced in Australia in February. Full story here

 Not exactly a barn find, but thorough research revealed this Mini Marcos to be the 
actual 1967 Targa Florio car. Full story here

Original USA sold Ogle SX1000 has been languishing in Pennsylvania. Full story here

Friday 15 December 2023

Brand new Ogle badges now available

After I found an unused original Ogle antelope badge earlier this year, there was finally a template to have quality badges remade. And here they are. They are the exact same size as the originals and come in chrome, just like the Ogle SX1000 has them fitted to both c-pillars, and in the golden colour of the (optional) one that was fitted to the centre console of several cars. There are no pins at the back, so mounting them is easy with kit or double-sided tape. 

They are 25 euros for the chrome one and 35 euros for the gold one plus p&p. Drop me a line if you are interested. I will start sending them out next week - perhaps just in time for Christmas..?

New Ogle SX1000 'Antelope' badges

Monday 11 December 2023

Now in Maximum Mini Newsletter #2:

Celebrity owned Mini Jems

Is this the sole surviving Status RR Mini front end?

...And that's a period picture of it...

Famous Foley Broadspeed GT restored Down Under

Friday 1 December 2023

An announcement from MAXIMUM MINI

MAXIMUM MINI is going to change.

The Maximum Mini blog was started in 2010. Some 1,600 articles have been published since. It has always been free to read to anyone, and all the stories of the past 13+ years will remain online to enjoy.

However, new articles won’t be free anymore. From now on Maximum Mini will continue in the shape of a paid newsletter. There are some very exiting stories on their way right now in the first issue: an update on the Le Mans Mini Marcos project, newly discovered photographs of a mystery Mini derivative and yet another re-discovered Ogle. Two new series about 1960s racers are in the making also. 

You can subscribe and will then receive the newsletter approximately 50 times a year. 
The price will be 5 euros per month, or 60 Euros per year. 
Just reply to me if you want to be part of it and I will send a payment request and put you on the list. 

I hope to be in touch soon, 
Jeroen Booij

Tuesday 28 November 2023

Meeting up with Julien Vernaeve

I just drove 500 kilometres to pick up one single photograph. Have I gone mad? Probably! But then it wasn't just anybody who handed the picture over. I got it from Julien Vernaeve, the 1960s BMC works rally and racing legend plus BMC and Jaguar dealer and... Belgian concessionaire for the Ogle SX1000 in 1962. Vernaeve was the man to import my car to Belgium - still the only SX1000 sold new to the European mainland as far as I know. So, yes, I was very eager to speak to him. When he told me on the telephone he'd also found an old picture of the car with himself and his personal registration on it, nothing could stop me.

Vernaeve is 92 years old these days and does remember the Ogle well. He did recall it was the same bronze colour as it is today, and I learned about some more details and how he got to import it. A book about his racing career was written a couple of years ago and he gave me a copy of that. In it many pictures of racing cars, Mini Coopers and Cooper 'S's with his private plate '3995.N' and with co-drivers such as Rauno Aaltonen, Andrew Hedges, Paddy Hopkirk, Tony Fall, John Fitzpatrick, John Handley, Geoff Mabbs, Henry Liddon, Tony Pond...  His daughter Eveline had arranged the meeting at the family Jaguar dealership which is run by herself and her brother Luc today. When we were finished Julien and his dog jumped into his Jaguar F-Pace and were off. What a man! 

Julien Vernaeve, 92, at the family Jaguar dealership with the Ogle SX1000 picture
Picture Jeroen Booij

Me and Julien in the showroom. Vernaeve drove with all the big names in the 1960s
Picture Eveline Vernaeve 

A signature in the book about him that I was handed over. Thank you very much Sir
Picture Jeroen Booij 

And off in his Jaguar F-Pace again. Vernaeve Jaguar of Ghent has been a dealer for decades
Picture Jeroen Booij

Thursday 23 November 2023

Ranger - the haunted Pick-Up

Still a great little hummer - the Ranger Pick Up. The way to 'transform your old, rusty 1100/1300 into an exciting all purpose road car' in the early- to mid-1970s. Initially the car was made at an old used car lot in Romford, but when the Pick-up turned out to be profitable, Ranger Automotive Ltd. was set up and the whole project was moved to more suitable premises in 1972: a disused 1920s cinema in Leigh-on-Sea, formerly with 1,200 seats and its own orchestra. What's more: the old theatre was supposedly haunted! A few six-wheelers were made as well as one twin-engined variant by former Broadspeed engineer John J. Thomas.

Ranger Pick-Up - made in an abandoned and haunted cinema in the 1970s
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Some 300 were made between 1971 and 1976, making it a success
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Most Pick-Ups use the 1100's rear lights turned sideways - this one doesn't
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Monday 13 November 2023

Another Ogle SX1000 find in the USA

Another Ogle SX1000 turns up in the USA, where it has been left deteriorating for many years now. 
I'd heard about an Ogle in Pennsylvania and had even seen some pictures of it in various states taken throughout the years. But it is only now confirmed to be the same and wearing chassis number 23 by the car's owner and the man who has it in storage for him. I got in touch with the latter and he wrote:

"Hello Jeroen, Thank you for your note. I do not own an Ogle, but one of my friends does. I do have it stored for him at my farm. The car did not have a drivetrain and is in pretty rough condition at this point. The seats were never with the car, but much of the other interior items including the dash have been stored out of the weather. The missing main parts of fiberglass are still stored with the spare parts." 

He was kind enough to make some pictures and send them over. He also gave a telephone number of the owner to get in touch directly, which I have tried straight away but so far to no avail. I'll keep trying. The car does look pretty sorry for itself, especially compared to earlier pictures when it wasn't exactly a concours car either but when at least the body seemed okay without the major cracks front and back it has now. Let's hope somebody, one day, will take the effort to restore it.

Ogle SX1000 in Pennsylvania is now confirmed to be chassis number 23
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

The car has been here for a long time and has deteriorated badly over the years
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Believed to have been red originally but not much of the paint is left now
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Friday 10 November 2023

Classic Motor Show 2023 - the Mini derivatives

Go to the NEC this weekend for the Classic Motor Show and you are likely to bump into the Minikits Club there. They have another great display of Mini based cars with a Siva Buggy, Jimini 2, Stimson Safari Six, wild Scamp Mk3 and rare Turner Ranger. Great stuff! Last year they even won a Classic and Sports Car Club Award for their effort. 

Another club attending is Midas Owners Club with a lovely Mk3 Mini Marcos jammed in between two Midases and somebody spotted a coachbuilt Mini, too, believed to have been built by former Wood & Pickett employees. Have a good weekend.

A Mk3 Mini Marcos sandwiches by two Midases!
Picture Midas Cars

And five more Mini based cars on the Minikits stand
Picture Paul Wylde

Restored Stimson Safari Six is among them
Picture Paul Wylde

And how about this? A lovely and road registered Turner Ranger
Picture Paul Wylde

This coachbuilt Mini is said to be built by ex-W&P employees
Picture Marc Eden

Tuesday 7 November 2023

Meredith Mini Special goes Dutch

It's good to know that the Meredith Mini Special survives. I did receive a few pictures of it recently, showing the car on its Dutch registration '03-YD-10', which it received after it was sold from the UK 10 years ago and imported to The Netherlands next. Yes, it's a bit of a Triumph-Ford-Mini-hybrid, which was made by Douglas Meredith of Welshpool (click here). 

Anybody who knows where in this country the car is now? It doesn't seem to come out very o=ften, but I'd love to see it in person one day.

The 'Mini by Meredith' mixes body elements of Ford, Triumph and Mini
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Blurred plate seems to be the British one (KEJ 411P) here, taken prior to re-registration?
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

It is on Dutch plate '03-YD-10' since 2014 and does come out rarely, or so it seems
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Outside seems most unusual, but there's no doubt this is a Mini engine, an 1100
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Seats and more bits of the interior came from a Mini 1100 Special also. Where is the car?
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Friday 3 November 2023

Steve owned that Broadspeed

Two years ago a Broadspeed GT changed owners and eventually found its way to the USA (click here). The car turned out to be 'WUX 421', which had previously been owned by Graham West of Burton-on-Trent. West had was actually also the man to build it after he got hold of an unused Broadspeed GT roof/rear section in 1971 and decided to graft it on a Mk2 Mini with flared arches and E-type inspired interior (click here). 

Now, another previous owner of the same car contacted me: Steve Philpott. He wrote: Hi Jeroen, I was interested to see your blog regarding the new found Broadspeed that is on its way to the USA. I was a previous owner and would be interested in any information on her refurbishment. I have to say she didn't look like that when she left me, she was metallic maroon with Minilite mag alloy wheels. Any information would be good Kind regards, Steve"

I asked for a bit more info and he came back swiftly: "I owned WUX 421 from 1975 to 1982-ish. It was in a dull red colour when I bought it and I had it resprayed in metallic maroon. It had racing seats, and the Jaguar dashboard. It was sold as a complete car but the engine was blown. I would love to see photos of WUX and could probably say what stage she was at. I would suspect that she may have been stripped down and the various parts used for other projects. I don't have any pictures of her at all, which is a shame."

Well, I had some, and shared them with Steve and have added them below, too. Next reply: "Thanks for the photos. That is indeed WUX 421 as I sold her, apart from the Castrol sticker. There was a lot of work done and a few things missing or replaced. There looks to be something not right with the front end light cluster and headlight mounting. As regards the paperwork... Hmm... There's a story there..."

It was only then that I noticed this car has extra bars in its front side windows, a feature I haven't seen on any other of the Broadspeeds. Steve: "I agree it has the same doors. It has had extensive bodywork done. It was registered on the official logbook as a Mini Monza when my ex-wife bought it and she blew the original engine up. She sold it to me and I put a bored out 998 engine in it. I wonder if it had a new front end? When Graham had it, it had a Mk2 Mini front end. In Jeff's photos it looks like it's a Mk1. Also there were yellow side lights and reflectors front and back. I read somewhere about electric windows... Not on WUX 421. I have been trying to find Peter Pentz, but not having any luck."

Thank you Steve! Maybe Peter will read this and drop another line..?

The Broadspeed GT as Steve Philpott remembers it. This is in the 1980s
Picture Colin Baines

"It was in a dull red colour when I bought it and I had it resprayed in metallic maroon"
Picture Colin Baines

This is the car in 1996 when it was stripped and offered for sale again. Note extra bar in windows
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

And this is it in 1971 when Graham West had just finished it. It was red then
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Last time seen: two years ago, when it was in transit from the UK to the USA
Picture Kingstown Shipping Ltd

Tuesday 24 October 2023

This is the old Camber / Maya GT factory

It's been a while since I wrote about the Camber / Maya GT, while it is an absolute favourite. Perhaps all the surviving cars have been unearthed by this time? At least most of them have been described on these pages before (full files here).

However, I had never before found the exact spot of the old factory. This also because the address given on the cars' promotional material simply was 'Camber Road, Rye', which is quite a long road with several buildings surviving there which could well have been it. 

But then Rod Porteous came to the rescue. He wrote: "As a youngster I holidayed near Camber and remember cars being built at this workshop on the outskirts of Camber. The workshop has been empty for years and thought I would record it before it’s demolished."

That has to be it. Great!

One of several Maya GT brochures from 'Camber Road, Rye, Sussex'
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

And another. W. West (Engineers) Ltd. was run by George Holmes
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

This is the place where these cars were built, or so remembers Rod Porteous
Picture Google Maps

Just 6 Camber GTs as well as 6 Maya GTs came to life here in these premises
Picture Google Maps

Monday 16 October 2023

Ogles in Japan (5)

This bright tangerine coloured Ogle SX1000 wears chassis number #36 and was registered 'XSK 195' in the UK. The car was imported to Japan by Tetsuo Warashina in 1991, who ran Warashina Cars of Yaizu-shi in Shizuoka at the time. This company had an impressive collection of Mini based cars - apart from the Ogle there were several Mini Jems and Mini Marcoses as well as a Unipower GT. All of these were offered for sale in 1992 and I don't know if Warashina is still in business but do know that several of the cars are still being enjoyed in Japan, the SX1000 among them. 

The car was featured in a number of publications before being sold to another Mini specialist in Japan: Sophie’s of Hachinohe in 1997. The current owner told me recently that the SX1000 has never been extensively restored or repainted since it came to the country in '91. He says it is a bit tatty now, but is well maintained and roadworthy. I really like it.

More about Ogles in Japan here.

'XSK 195' as it was seen in Japan in 1994. It featured in a number of magazines
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

It was part of a broad collection of Mini based cars when at Warashina's in Shizuoka
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Engine is said to be a 1275. Brake booster well visible here
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

1992 ad from Warashina cars shows eclectic range of cars offered for sale
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Today the Ogle can be found in Sophie's Mini shop in Hachinohe for over 25 years 
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

"A bit tatty now, but well maintained and roadworthy" says its current owner
Picture Jeroen Booij archive