Thursday, 20 April 2017

Perivale 1968: driving the Quasar Unipower

You may have seen this lovely little film. Or you may have not. It shows the prototype Quasar Unipower City-car including its transparent and inflatable seats which missed in the latter production cars. It's filmed in Perivale and you may also note Unipower GTs in various production stages in the backdrop. I think that's Unipower's development engineer Nick Ouroussoff as a passenger. Enjoy!

Video courtesy British Pathe / Youtube

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

An Ogle in Australia

I am often surprised to learn that Mini based cars have made it to certain parts of the world. I never heard of any Ogles in Australia, but there is at least one, or so it seems. Simon Neilson‎ of Perth bought an example he owned before and asked me whether I knew more about it. He wrote: "I've been looking for a Cooper 'S' to have dad & son times in and I re-found my Mini Ogle SX1000. The car was originally purchased From The Chequered Flag garage by a Chinese rubber planter Tunku Mudzafa who didn’t register it in England but took it back to Malaya for his son Derek to use. After only six months Derek traded it for a new MG at Wearne Brothers Ltd where Arthur Rogers was the MG Sales Manager. Arthur bought the car and owned it until 1975. He shipped it to Perth, Australia in 1970.

"The Ogle comes with chassis number MO/62/040 and was originally light metallic silver but he painted it white as the metallic paint did not withstand the tropical conditions. He also ordered a second rear window as the one in the car had not been tempered correctly. The Ogle was never registered in England. I could be tempted to part with it if the right Cooper 'S' came along... It requires full body restoration, has 7.5"disk brakes, a reconditioned 1275, spunky 60's sports seats and a sporty dash. I have the full history for the car that I will post another time. Big thanks to my mate Peter (grey jumper) for taking me to Geraldton to collect it." Simon has much more of the car's history, so hopefully we'll learn more soon. I did not know it! But I do wonder if this is the only Ogle in Australia?

Simon's mate Peter (left) who towed the vehicle home, his son Cooper (middle) plus Helen and Allen -  the daughter & son of the owner Arthur who owned it from 1963 - 1975 and from 2004 - 2017
Picture courtesy Simon Neilson

And that's Arthur Rogers who owned the car for 25 years, here with Simon and his son Cooper
Picture courtesy Simon Neilson

The car requires a full body restoration, says Simon, but at least it's complete
Picture courtesy Simon Neilson

The front sees added air intakes. All because of the tropical climates it had to deal with
Picture courtesy Simon Neilson

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Mini Marcos at Mugello 1966

Lasse Kärkkäinen of Finland made me aware of a nice little bit of film footage. He wrote: "Hi,
I am not sure if you have found this already, but the Mini Marcos Mk I driven by Billy Dulles in the Mugello 1966 race, can be seen in live footage in this video. Check out from 1:55 and also the last car at the end of the film. There's a second part to the film, which I have not yet watched. Hopefully there will be footage from the another Marcos in that race, driven by Roy Johnson and Guy Edwards (this one-JB). Yours, Lasse." I hadn't seen this yet. Thanks for sharing Lasse!

Meawhile, I have come across several bits of film footage with my own project car at its prime, filmed in July 1966 at Le Mans. It's the plan to put all these together to form a slightly longer film. So if you happen to find something, somewhere, do let me know.

Video courtesy Youtube / Roydpg

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

New Zealand MiniSprint mystery

Tim Neal made me aware of a little known Mini Sprint kind of creature, seen recently at a racing event in New Zealand. At first I thought it was the Hatton MiniSprint, designed and campaigned by Lynn Hatton of the south island (see Maximum Mini 3). It is, however, another car. Thanks to Graeme Farr, who sent me piles of photographs some years ago, I came across some more images of it in the files. However, information to complement those pictures is unavailable. Not even a name. So, Graeme, or anybody else, how to call this little rascal?

Brendan McKenzie with the Mini Sprint at the Cloudy Bay Sprints in Blenheim recently
Picture Ricky Wilson/Fairfax NZ

This is the car's base. A sporty Mini with eight port head that was damaged at a hill climb
Picture Graeme Farr / Jeroen Booij archive

And then it was turned into this. Not much of the original body was kept for its revamp
Picture Graeme Farr / Jeroen Booij archive

Note very steep angled windscreen and fully altered back, too. Body comes in full alloy
Picture Graeme Farr / Jeroen Booij archive

Somewhat later the nose section was changed once more, even lower and longer now
Picture Graeme Farr / Jeroen Booij archive

At another New Zealand hill climb in its blue guise. The car is said to be equipped with 1330 engine
Picture Graeme Farr / Jeroen Booij archive

Another change. MiniSprint 1330cc says sticker. But who knows more about its background?
Picture Graeme Farr / Jeroen Booij archive

Friday, 7 April 2017

Biotas in Holland

I was sent a Dutch Biota brochure some time ago, published by Precott Hill Ltd., who were the Dutch importer of the Mini based sports car (more info here and here). Did I know it? I thought not, but it turned out I did have a copy. What's more: when I had a look in the files to see what else was thereI noticed that Precott Hill Ltd. had come up with several more brochures. And I found a few ads, too, all in Dutch. And some pictures linking to them. Anyway: have a look for yourself. 

It's not in the best shape, but you don't see this Dutch Biota brochure very often
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

And that's the back. The colours available have some nice names. Biota Blue, Peacock Blue 
and Mc Claren (sic) Orange for example
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

I found this, too. Precott Hill - also importers for TVR at the time - took a car with hardtop to the Amsterdam Motor Show, seen here bottom right and left center. It was the demonstrator 'YWT 65G'
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Seen here at the Amsterdam Motor Show or RAI, at Prescott Hill's display, rubbing 
shoulders with one of their TVRs
Picture courtesy

And here again, seen over in Holland. This is in Woudenberg at Prescott Hill's headquarters. Or perhaps humble premises. Note the missing tiles and abandoned MGBs...
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

This is the same car, YWT 65G' seen a couple of years ago. It's still awaiting restoration
Picture Jeroen Booij
The Biota never was a simple kit and the body consisted of a great number of parts. 
Still, there were plenty of extras available…
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Do you own a Mini? Are you good with your hands? Then build Kit B!
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

This ad comes from a Dutch motoring magazine - "The huge Amsterdam motor show success"
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

This is a magazine ad, too, now slightly later and now 
showing their own Dutch-built demonstrator
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Same photo, but now much better. '46-56-FH' is a garage plate. Does this car survive?

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Film footage of Uruguayan Padován GT

It is one of the more unlikely Mini derivatives: the Padován GT, as seen in Maximum Mini 3. The car made its debut at the Autódromo de Rivera in Uruguay 50 years ago and together with the Torrendell Special they are the only two Uruguayan Mini variants that I know of.

According to an article in local motor magazine Revista Automundo Mr. Padován had built his GT in just fifteen days, with inspiration from the Mini Marcos or MiniJem and also a full fiberglass body. The car came home second that race. I was much surprised to come across film footage of the car in action, driven by a man named Victor Paullier during a race a year later with some more interesting Specials, see it attached below. I also found a couple of more photographs of the car at the track. Enjoy them.

Padován GT is featured in this lovely amateur film footage, taken in Uruguay in 1968
Video courtesy Revb7 / Youtube

Line up with some interesting Specials. Padován GT, number 25, is right in the center of the grid
Picture Revisto Automundo / Jeroen Booij archive

And off they go. 11 Cars made it to the 'Liebre' class - which seems pretty much like 'Anything goes'
Picture Revisto Automundo / Jeroen Booij archive

Padován GT, driven by Victor Paullier, came last during this race, but came 2nd at its debut in '67
Picture Revisto Automundo / Jeroen Booij archive

This photograph was taken at that debut at the Autódromo de Rivera in Uruguay 50 years ago 
Picture Revisto Automundo / Jeroen Booij archive

Friday, 31 March 2017

Mini Jem for sale

A few years after he completely restored it, Tony Fysh has now decided to part with one of his Mk2 Mini Jems. It is in fact the car (or its body shell) that was featured in the second blog posting I ever wrote, back in 2010 (see it here). Tony wrote: "Hi Jeroen. I am seriously considering selling my Mk2 Mini Jem due mainly to a lack of use. The car has featured on your website a few years ago (that was here). It underwent a total nut and bolt restoration over a period of just under 2 years. It has been unused for at least 18 months but is still in excellent condition although not concourse."

"I have hundreds of photos of the work from start to finish detailing every aspect of the rebuild. The steel sections in the body were cut out where corroded and replaced before being re-glassed into the shell. It has many period modifications and everything was either replaced or rebuilt to as new. The car gets lots of attention at every show I took it to for the first two years after the rebuild. The Mini Jem is great to drive and I am sure that in the right persons hands will give lots of fun days out. I am unsure but I believe that the car has covered around 550 miles since completion. Many thanks and keep up the great work. (I might start on the second one shortly). I have too many kit car projects and not enough time! Regards Tony." 

Well… This is a great opportunity to buy a truly gorgeous car. I have placed the ad with many technical details in the For Sale Section here. And I'm sure this one will be sold swiftly, too!

UPDATE: Sold within two hours. Told you so!

A nut and bolt restoration, and some 550 miles since. This car is as good underneath as it is here 
Picture courtesy Tony Fysh

The body dates back to 1971. Steel sections in it were cut out and replaced where necessary
Picture courtesy Tony Fysh

The engine is a 1310cc with a long, long list of new parts. Same goes for the suspension
Picture courtesy Tony Fysh

Britax folding roof gives a good view on that lovely dashboard with new instruments
Picture courtesy Tony Fysh

Roll over bar fitted, like new petrol tank, exhaust etc., etc. The list is too long!
Picture courtesy Tony Fysh

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Biota at Harewood hill climb

Nick Beaumont shared a picture he took at Harewood hill climb in July 1984, when he was active himself in hill climbing his Cox GTM (see the car in action here). That's a Biota Mk2, but Nick or me do not know anything more about it. Any of you may do? Let's see if we can be as successful as with the auto crossing Mini Jem… (see here, here and here).

Biota Mk2 in action at Harewood hill climb. Anyone who know more about it?
Picture courtesy Nick Beaumont

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Broadspeeds of Spain, where are you?

I wrote about it before on these pages (click here), but so far there is no news that I know of about the Broadspeed GTs that were exported to Spain. Several sources claim that quite a few ended up there, but I have never heard of a survivor there. There were dealers, that's a fact. Several garages were marketing the Broadspeed GT in Spain. I already had some old ads from them, but Cristian Sanmartin Castro recently sent me a few more clippings. 

So far, I found the following dealerships/garages offering the GT in Spain:

Garage Nadal, Mallorca
Auto Paris S.L., Barcelona
Garage Serrano, Madrid
Garage Sub-Way, Rosellon, Barcelona

Who knows more?

The 'Broaspeed' advertised by Garage Nadal on the isle of Mallorca
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

And another ad from Nadal that mentions the Broadspeed Mini 
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

This is a 1966 clipping from a Spanish newspaper about the Broadspeed GT
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Another dealer, Auto Paris SL, had the car, too, although naming it 'Broatepeet'
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

And yet another: Garaje Serrano, who also dealt with Rob Walker or so it seems
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

And yet another - Victor Palomo Monegal of Bacelona advertised with 'Brand new import cars', among them Broadspeed, Walker MiniSprint and Marcos cars...
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Monday, 27 March 2017

Autocrossing an early Mini Jem (3)

And the messages regarding the Mk1 Mini Jem that was auto crossed in the late 1970s and early 1980s continue to come in! (See here for part 1 and part 2). This time the news comes from the Hawkins family themselves, who auto crossed it. John Hawkins wrote: "Hi Jeroen. Great to see your articles. Here's our part. Jeff Hawkins was a local clubman driver from Neath, South Wales. He crossed over from road rallying to autocross which was popular in the 1970s to mid 1980s. He was employed at Cam Gears/TRW at Resolven and they sponsored the car. The Jem was bought for £150 via Motoring News as a basic rolling shell which had been used for autocross. It had a hand beaten basin for the drivers head to clear. It was featured in Rally Sport magazine quiz which asked 'What type of car is this?', complete with Cam paint colours."

"We developed the car by swapping all running gear from our Mini. 'S' front brakes, alloy rear back axle, full cage, which was our own design, with the top extended to top subframe mounts. This was to stop the windscreen moving, as pointed out by Ian, as the front pillar had internal damage. Engines ranged from 1,310 - 1,340 - 1297 to 1293. Jeff was a class E BTRDA champion front wheel drive over 1300 class. We also built our own Mk2 Mini Jem road car, which we purchased from London. This was registered 'AAR 8K', which we eventually sold in the 1970s in the Cardiff area (that raises another question!-JB). I have attached two photos but am in the process of digging out more. Thanks. John." Well, thank you John, for clearing up a bit more of a most intriguing autocross entry!

High flying Jem: Jeff Hawkins auto crossed the Mini Jem and had no fear in doing so!
Picture courtesy John Hawkins

Jeff Hawkins worked at Cam Gears/TRW and became BTRDA champion in the front wheel drive over 1300 class - Class E. Seen here with one of his trophies and the Mk1 Mini Jem
Picture courtesy John Hawkins