Thursday 23 March 2023

The Targa Florio Mini Marcos (3)

If you have managed to read though part 1 here and part 2 here of this intriguing story about the Mini Marcos that made it to the 1967 Targa Florio race, you may like this part 3 too. Take a deep breath!

As we found out earlier Swedish racer Jan-Erik Andreasson, who entered his Mini Marcos in the 1967 Targa Florio, owned two Mini Marcoses in 1967. They were both built in the workshop of Ragge Håkansson in Köping, the one used on the Sicilian road race was the first to be finished with a 1299cc engine with twin-choke Weber carburetor good for 130hp and a Jack Knight five-speed gearbox, an integrated roll-over bar plus a low weight due to 'a lack of interior trim, soundproofing, Perspex glass in all windows except the front screen.' The second car was built later. Quoting again from the Bilsport article, which was published in November 1967 - six months after the Targa Florio race: "Of Andreasson's two cars, one is on wheels and has already been seen in the Swedish Championship races where it has competed against thoroughbreds like Porsche Carrera 6 and Lola T70. The other car is still just a shell resting outside Ragge Håkansson's workshop near the city of Köping, waiting for a new owner."

Question was which chassis numbers these two cars wore, and which of them was the Targa Florio car? Fact is one of the cars survives in Sweden and has been restored in more recent times: chassis number 7064, which does fit in with the dates. Interestingly, some pictures of it in its pre-restored condition were made by Richard Porter in 1995 and show it in white with a broad red stripe over its body. According to Swedish Marcos historian Per Haegermark that's correct: "As we all know the Targa Florio car was white with a green stripe and the sister car looked exactly the same but had a red stripe." That car wasn't built up as a racer though and being a slightly later car it has some different features also, among them details in the body's engine bay area.

I must admit that the reason for this whole quest in finding out which the Targa Florio Marcos exactly is, was born out of an advertisement of a car offered for sale near Lille in northern France recently. This car wears chassis number 7034 and the Swedish registration 'FHD 465'. Translated from the French ad: "Put on the road in October 1967, after having had a first life in competition in Sweden as well as a participation in the 1967 Targa Florio, with racing number 176, before being registered. A justifiable history that needs to be studied in greater depth". I have to admit that I was skeptical at first when I contacted the current owner James. He wrote to me: "Thank you for your interest. I send you some evidence of his past life.". What followed in the next few weeks was a most interesting exchange of e-mails which got deeper and deeper into the subject. It must be said that James had taken the whole thing seriously and tried to turn every stone in his quest for proof. He'd contacted the FIA, the Targa Florio organization, the registration offices and several clubs and specialists, some with success, some not so, but he sent me copies of all this correspondence. He also added: "The marks of the accessories have left traces on my car. I have a whole history of these previous Swedish registrations, although unfortunately the first ones are still missing. I do have addresses to deepen and complete this history but I do not have the health for it. The co-driver of the 1967 Targa Florio (Johnny Lundberger-JB) tried to cheat by passing off a car, not yet built at the time, for that of the race in Sicily. I remain at your disposal for further information." 

Although it seems to have wiped out its checquered past, this car, chassis number 7034, fits in just right with the dates also. And while being red in colour now and missing some of the original features on it, I got more and more convinced that James could very well be right. And Per Haegermark agreed. He wrote: "Hi Jeroen, Many thanks for getting in touch with me concerning the Mini-Marcos #7034. Yes, I can agree with you that it's kind of a mystery that the Targa Florio car has been hidden away for so long. I have suspected for may years that #7034 really was the TF car but it wasn't until I made some enquiries at the National Swedish Archives who keep records of the old style (pre-1973) automotive registration documents, that I managed to link the car to the car mentioned in the Bilsport article. At the same time, I also happened to find the sister car #7064 which was built by Ragge Håkansson at the same time."

Ad he continued: "The original registration document (a copy of which I was sent also by James-JB) shows that the petrol tank contains 75 litres and the engine output is 105 SAE bhp. The sister car #7064 had a petrol tank containing only 28 litres and the engine output was 90 DIN bhp. The TF car definitely needed the long range petrol tank. Before I can tell you with 100% certainty that #7034 is the TF car, I have to see one more document which I have ordered from the National Swedish Archives. They normally need three to four weeks to find the requested documents. Will get back to you a.s.a.p. One thing which I would like you to change in your article is that chassis #7034 is a Mk2 and not a Mk3 body shell. Apart from this, I think everything is correct. If there are any difficulties to understand what's written in the Swedish articles, please do not hesitate to contact me for translation aid. For your information, I'm attaching some photos of #7034 in various guises. Looking forward to hearing from you soon. Kind regards, Per"

So that's it for now. Let's await Per's answer before we finalize with a conclusion, but I'd say things look as good as can be for chassis number 7034. Let me finally ad the list of subsequent owners the car has had, as they may be recognized by readers here and lead to more. Apart from Jan-Erik Andreasson (unconfirmed) these are: Anders Lindahl, Lars-Göran Ridell, Ohlson Bilfirma, Hasse Nörgaard, Claes Grönbäck, Lennart Andersson, Morgan Karlsson and Patrik Kaufmann. Before receiving 'FHD 465' it wore the registration numbers 'L 55135' and 'OA 70785'.

And one final thing that struck me from another report was that the car maybe didn't even make it into eight kilometres of the Targa Florio race. Translated from Swedish I found the following: "The first of the ten 72 km laps was not long before one of the Swedes disappeared with a bang. It was 'Nenne' Andreasson, who after just eight corners put his Mini Marcos in a pole."...

First outing? Jan-Erik Andreasson racing at Knutsdorp on 30 April 1967
Picture Åke Wremp via Per Haegermark

Another early picture at a race in Röfors with Börje Österberg at the wheel
Picture Lars Liifw via Per Haegermark

The other Mini Marcos of Jan-Eric Andreasson before restoration: chassis number 7064 
with its then-owner Viktor Kärrkvist in 1995
Picture Richard Porter

This Mini Marcos, for sale in norther France, ticks all the boxes to be the Targa Florio car

It comes on a Swedish registration plate FHD 465, issued in October 1967, which fits in also

Targa car wasn't red originally but "marks of the accessories have left traces on it"

The early style dashboard also fits in with the build date and the Targa Florio

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