Saturday 22 April 2023

Having a break - back soon

Hang on, I'm working on something here, which takes just a bit longer. Just having a little break now, but I will be back soon. In the meantime: bonus points for who guesses the Mini based sports cars under construction below.

Tuesday 18 April 2023

Turner Ranger stars in James Bond movie

I was aware of a Mini based James Bond vehicle before (click here), but it now turns out there has been another one. Siva Buggy owner Graham Hill told me so. He happens to own a Turner Ranger also and is in regular touch with Tony Turner, the man behind the vehicle. Graham wrote: "Perhaps their finest hour was as film stars. Tony Turner was never shy of a bit of promotional work, and somehow he got the opportunity to place them in the Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me. They can be seen dotted around Karl Stromberg's submarine base (who knew there was so much money in carburetors...) and somehow skillfully avoided being blown to bits in the final sequences. Tony recalls him and his son Jonathan taking tea with Roger Moore between takes. Tony Turner was, and still is, regularly ahead of his time, and the Ranger shows us the antecedent of the mules made by Kubota and Polaris now. If only we had been ready for the Ranger at the time.."

Thank you very much for this Tony!

A bit of Turner Ranger product placement in a James Bond movie!
Picture Eon Productions

Tony Turner's vehicles can be seen in The Spy Who Loved Me of 1977
Picture Eon Productions

Thursday 13 April 2023

The Targa Florio Mini Marcos (4)

Over to the 4th and (for now) final episode about the Mini Marcos that made it (briefly) to the 1967 Targa Florio (for part 1 click here, part 2 here, part 3 here)

Our Swedish Marcos-man Per Haegermark wrote earlier: "Before I can tell you with 100% certainty that #7034 is the Targa Florio 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."

Well, the time has come for the document to arrive, so over to Per again: "Hi again Jeroen, Many thanks for the most interesting article you have compiled. Great job! Now, I think we are almost home. The final bits of the jigsaw puzzle come here now: I just received copies of the original registration document of #7034 from the National Registration Archives and I was very, very happy to see that the first owner of the car really was Jan-Eric Andreasson. Wow! The original registration number was 'AA 13515' and it was road registered for the first time on 19th October 1967 - that is after its racing career was ended. In the meantime I spent some time in picking out all racing and hillclimb entries of #7034 from my worldwide 'Historic Marcos Racing Records' database (more than 1500 entries between 1960 and 1975). Copy attached. I was very surprised to find only 10 entries out of which the car only managed to finish just one: the Röforsloppet Hill Climb driven by Börje Österberg."

"All other entries were either classed as 'Did not finish' or 'Did not arrive'. It seems that the car really would have needed a proper shake-down before entering the race tracks at all, wouldn't it? The reason for not having arrived at the Karlskoga and Skellefteå races was most probably that the team were putting it back in race trim after the crash at TF during the early stages of summer. For one reason or another they skipped Västkustloppet in favour of the Röforsloppet which both were arranged on the same day in August. The man behind the wheel was the most experienced driver Börje Österberg instead. The sticker on the bonnet says: 'Fest-Is' which was the most popular orange juice then and still is. It was not common with sponsorship in those days at all."

"Hope this mystery now has been resolved once and for all. It would be interesting to find out when and by whom the original engine was exchanged and when it changed colours etc. I believe it was green after its white/green era. Looking forward to hearing from you soon. Cheers for now, Per"

That is wonderful. Thank you very much for your enthusiasm Per.

Börje Österberg in the Targa Florio Mini Marcos at Röforslopet hill climb on August 6th, 1968
where he came first in class. Note the repainted front after the Targa Florio accident  
Picture Lars Liifw via Per Haegermark

Now in France, this is confirmed to be the Targa Florio car wearing chassis number 7034
Picture Leboncoin

Börje Österberg was a Swedish ice racing champion in Minis. He is wearing the helmet here

Elmhorn Troberg of Stockholm became the official Mini Marcos concessionaire in Sweden, 
but Andreasson's Targa Florio car had been an earlier import
Picture Jeroen Booij

They came up with this lovely brochure to attract Swedish Mini Marcos customers 
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Ring Knutsdorp was the first race in which Andreasson entered the Mini Marcos

A week later Skarpnäck was the second. The Mini Marcos did not finish in both races

Friday 7 April 2023

Ogle now registered and ready for fun

About a year and a half ago I found this little Easter egg hidden in a Belgian barn for some 30 years (click!). Lots of work followed to get it going again but this week it was finally rewarded with a Dutch registration, all correctly as an Ogle SX1000, too. It seems likely to have been the only example sold new to Europe back in 1962, fact is it is the only one in The Netherlands now, causing the Dutch transport authorities a bit of a headache as they had never heard of an Ogle before. Anyway: it is road legal again after all these years of neglect. Now, let the sun shine! Have a good Easter.

PM-57-09 is the only Ogle in The Netherlands but spent all of its previous life in Belgium
Picture Jeroen Booij

The car received its new registration only yesterday, ready for an Easter drive now
Picture Jeroen Booij

Easter racing through the 1960s

What to do in the long Easter weekend? Well, there was a time when you simply took your Mini based sports car, drove it to the racing track nearby, changed the tyres on the spot and gave it some good trashing during one of numerous Easter races organized. See a selection of photographs below. 
Have a good Easter!

Easter 1964, Bob Henderson in his Minnow GT at the Brands Hatch circuit
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Easter 1964 also, Chris Lawrence in the Deep Sanderson 105 at Mallory Park
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Easter 1967, Brian Foley behind the wheel of the Aussie Broadspeed GTS
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Easter 1968, Peter Garrad's girlfriend in the Buckle Monaco LMS at Hume Weir
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Easter 1972, Michael Gill in the Minilan at Bushy Park on Barbados
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Wednesday 5 April 2023

Unravelling history - NJC Mini

It is one of my great frustrations when I can't quite find out the origins of a Mini based car. And the coachbuilt NJC Mini was a prime example. Who was behind it? How many did they build? Who did they sell their cars to? And what did the NJC name stand for in the first place? The only clue had been an article in Cars & Car Conversions magazine, but that mostly trumpeted over the car's appearance and build while it didn't say much about its origins. 

But then I got in touch with Nick Cloot recently, who had in fact been one of the persons who built these cars back in the late 1970s. What's more: he was more than happy to tell the tale of how they came about. He thinks as many as 9 may have been built although not all of those have been accounted for as of yet. The NJC Minis had some fascinating details in- and outside, among these wheel arches hand made in steel and strong enough to jack up the car, Storno radiophones, airconditioning systems and - the piece-the-resistance - electronic dashboards. The first of them was sold to a Lebanese businessman for use in central London, with more to follow.

I'd photographed a car years ago, which now seems to be the sole survivor (unless you know better). Together with all the information from Nick and some historical material he'd kept, the full story of the NJC Minis is now published in MiniWorld magazine's May issue. Oh - and we now know what NJC stands for, too! It's for Nick and John Costalas, who were the car's instigators.

Two NJC coachbuilt Minis outside the NJC works in Watford in the late 1970s
Picture Jeroen Booij archive courtesy Nick Cloot

So far this CCC article had been the only source of info regarding the NJC Minis 
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Three cars in that feature - 'RGK 55R', 'HHC 99' and 'PNM 835R'
Picture Jeroen Booij archive courtesy Nick Cloot

The Escort air conditioning unit in what seems to be the sole surviving NJC Mini
Picture Jeroen Booij archive courtesy Nick Cloot

This is a view of the electronic dashboard in one of the cars
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Nick Cloot in the late 1970s wearing an NJC Car Conversions T-shirt
Picture courtesy Nick Cloot

NJC bought their leather directly from Rolls-Royce and used RR colours for their Minis
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

At least three of the Minis were equipped with Storno 9 radiophones
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Full story of the NJC Minis in this month's MiniWorld magazine
Picture Jeroen Booij archive courtesy Nick Cloot