Thursday, 26 June 2014

Digitally detailed Mini Marcoses

A chap under the nom de plume of Boxman dropped me a line recently, about the Mini Marcoses he created for a computer game called GT Legends. "I hope you appreciate my work, that was done with a lot of support from your work." I do. As a matter of fact I was impressed by the detailed job he'd done on these great little cars. Have a look below.

Finest hour Mini Marcos - the 1966 Le Mans car built by Jean-Claude Hrubon
Picture courtesy Boxman

Works Mini Marcos - the 1967 Le Mans car, which survives in Africa
Picture courtesy Boxman

Heroic Mini Marcos - the 1967 Targa Florio racer believed to survive in Sweden
Picture courtesy Boxman

Local Mini Marcos - the 1966 ART (Algemeen Racing Team) car at Zandvoort
Picture courtesy Boxman

GT40 Mini Marcos - the German Gulf-liveried car, at the Nurburgring
Picture courtesy Boxman

Heritage Mini Marcos - the 2012 Le Mans Classic car driven by Remy Julienne
Picture courtesy Boxman


Wednesday, 25 June 2014

European Mini Marcoses unite

Marcos fans from Europe are gathering together for the Euregio Marcos Meet on Sunday 31 August in The Netherlands, and several Mini Marcoses will be attending from far and awide. There have been meetings like this in the 1990s and some fans of the marque have now teamed up to give it a new lease of life. As a matter of fact not all of these chaps are Mini Marcos owners, which means there will be Midases, too, and some Pimlicos have also been confirmed to make it over to this part of the world. I have been asked to form another display of Mini derivatives, something in the vein of Blyton Park, so let me just see if there is enthusiasm for that by responding below.

The idea is to gather at this restaurant in Oosterhout, NL at around 10:00 for coffee and tea and a lunch slightly later on. After lunch there will be a ride to Boxtel, some 30 miles to the east, where a brand new classic car showroom will be open for anyone driving a British car. Costs are calculated at a modest 15 Euros for the lunch plus 5 Euros for entrance to the showroom in Boxtel - any passengers pay 8 Euros to get in. For the first 150 cars and their drivers and passengers entrance is free though. Interested? Drop a line to the organizers on euregiomeeting@gmail.com

Big Marcoses, Mini Marcoses, big flares and mini skirts. Let them all revive!
Picture courtesy NL Mini Marcos en Marcos club

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Updates from the Antipodes

Benie from Australia dropped me a line last week about one of the more exotic Mini based sports cars he owned one day - a Pellandini. He wrote: "I bought the third Pellandini built in about 1971 into New South Wales. It had push up headlights, gullwing doors and a Perspex windscreen. It had Mini front uprights and specially designed aluminium rear uprights held by unequal length wishbone suspension. The front rollcentre was one inch lower than the rear (to use 10" rims on the front axle and 12" rims on the rear) and it had coil over shocks. It used mini standard rack and pinion steering. Peter Pellandine told me he once worked at Lotus cars and copied the all-fibreglass Lotus Elan. I think it had a similar frontal profile of the Lotus 23 sportscar. The Mini-engine in my car was mounted just forward of the rear axle. It was light weight and I could lift the front by myself and the rear without the engine installed. I built the engine and put it in. It came in a half race /half road setup with race tyres and was really quick, especially in hill climbing and on the track. I had it painted before delivery in a Holden lime green colour."Benie is willing to dig out his old photo files, so we may see some nice old pictured of his car in the near future. I'm not sure but I think it could be the same car as the one on the pictures below, which were sent to me a long time ago. I do not know anything else about the car in question. Maybe somebody else here does?

Mystery Pellandini looks as though it could do with some tender loving care
Picture Jeroen Booij archive, source unknown

I can see some traces of lime green paint on that shell, so could it be Benie's old car?
Picture Jeroen Booij archive, source unknown

Meanwhile, in New Zealand, a genuine Broadspeed GT has been sold swiftly through this website. The car was advertised on the Maximum Mini forum (worth checking here) by its second owner who'd taken care of it for 29 years. The 1967 GT was imported into New-Zealand in 1971 by Miles Udy who previously worked at Broadspeed in the UK. It is said to be the only Broadspeed GT with dry suspension and is correctly registered as 'Broadspeed GT'. Apart from being painted a Rolls-Royce metallic red at one stage it is very original and comes with 5" Minilites and a bucket seat believed to come from one of Ralph Broad's old racing cars. I wish the new owner all the best with it, and do keep me updated about this little stunner!

One owner for 29 years and sold swiftly through the Maximum Mini forum
Picture courtesy Justin Toebes

Friday, 20 June 2014

Barnfind Biotas and a long-forgotten Jem

Over two years ago I posted an article about the MiniJem estate that was supposedly factory-built. See here. Was there anyone out here who knew what happened to the car? Well, it took a while, but I have finally found out that it does still exist. Steve Padfield dropped me a line, saying: "I own the prototype Mini Jem Estate you have listed, that I bought from Mike Brown. It is still safe and I hope to restore it one day but as usual there are more projects than time. I plan to paint it light blue once I have tackled the crazed gel coat as I have an unfortunate history with motor vehicles painted white. The interior will be light grey. Knowing it is such a rare car I will be restoring it as far as possible to original specification. Retirement is in the near future so perhaps then."

Steve Padfield owns the MiniJem estate nowadays - seen here in 1993
Picture courtesy Jeroen Booij

Steve also wrote me that he has another nice project awaiting restoration: "I also have a Mk2 Biota that I rescued from a peacock farm in mid-Wales where it was being used as a roost. The upholstery suffered being buried under **** for so long. Another rescued project awaiting time…" Great stuff Steve, do not forget to send some pictures! As a matter of fact it's not the only Biota that has been recovered recently. Paul Wylde sent me some pictures of a Mk1 Biota that had been locked away for 30 years. Paul: "The guy was going to use it for parts until I told him some history about them!" Well done, mate. And keep us posted.

M-reg Biota Mk1 has been locked away for 30 years before being saved last week
Picture courtesy Paul Wylde

It's a Mk1 with the rarely seen triangular blinkers. Needs some work though!
 Picture courtesy Paul Wylde

Engine is of unknown capacity but SUs with nice trumpets may direct to power
Picture courtesy Paul Wylde

Friday, 13 June 2014

Deep Sandersons were heroic too!

Okay, I could have expected some comment calling Hrubon's 1966 Mini Marcos 'Le Mans most heroic entry' (click here). The Deep Sandersons that made it to the track in 1963 and 1964 were also pretty heroic, indeed. So here some pictures which I haven't published before to compensate for. Full stories on the cars at 24-hour race here for 1963, and here for 1964. Enjoy.

Pit scene of 1963. Chris Lawrence and Chris Spender in light blue overalls
Picture courtesy J.D. Belanger

Little and large - the 'clockwork mouse' is overtaken by big Ferrari 330 LM
Picture courtesy J.D. Belanger

Another great action shot during the race. Has it just passed a Ferrari 250 GTO here?
Picture courtesy LAT archive / Classic & Sports Car

The two Lawrence Tune entries for 1964 next to each other. Car at right is crashed later
Picture courtesy acheritage.co.uk

The pit lane in that year. Gendarme overlooks Deep Sanderson 301 prior to start
Picture courtesy acheritage.co.uk

Here together with Triumph Spitfire of Rob Slotemaker who'd tested the DS' engine!
Picture courtesy Jeroen Booij archive

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Le Mans' most heroic entry

Okay, it’s pushing an open door, but some things just were better in the days past. Take Le Mans' 24-hour race, or what used to be ‘the ultimate in endurance racing’. It’s there this weekend, but don’t bother. Let’s have another look at the race of 1966, a time when privateers could still enter on a shoestring and making a fair chance of returning home with a trophy. I have described it here before but have, meanwhile, found some new pictures after paying Jean-Claude Hrubon a visit in his home in France's south last summer. Hrubon was the man to come up with the idea of entering a Mini Marcos after he'd seen it at the Racing Car Show in London. Was it perhaps even the most heroic Le Mans entry ever? I'm tempted to say so.

He had some great stories to tell in what he said to be 'his last interview'. How about this: “The great thing was that the little Mini Marcos became some sort of a public favourite. All the journalist called it la puce bleue - the blue flea. And the later in the race, the more popular it became. By the next morning the public had become really enthusiastic about our car. It was something different, something wonderful in between all those big cars. I remember vividly that at one point near the end we had a puncture. It was the left front tyre, the one closest to the radiator with the hot air blowing against it all the time. I rushed to the Dunlop boys in the pit but they only had big and wide sizes. Nothing came even close to the size I needed. I rushed to a local garage and to my great relief they I found one. When we changed the tyre in our pit box the whole public seemed to hold their breath and when the car was finally started to return to the track thousands of people were cheering on the grandstand. I'll never forget that.”. I wrote down the complete story in Mini Magazine's april issue.

Hrubon's Mini Marcos next to his 1967 Le Mans entry: the Hrubon Thélème
Picture courtesy J-C Hrubon / Jeroen Booij archive

Jean-Claude Hrubon in his garden in southern France. His daily driver is a Mini Moke 
Picture Jeroen Booij

The Mini Marcos is being scrutineered by the French racing authorities here
Picture courtesy J-C Hrubon / Jeroen Booij archive

And the car at the weigh bridge in La Sarthe moments later, hours before its finest moment
Picture courtesy J-C Hrubon / Jeroen Booij archive

Jean-Claude Hrubon had lots more tales to tell from a life filled with cars and races
Picture Jeroen Booij


Thursday, 5 June 2014

Meet the Maximum Mini Coupe!

New Mini derivatives continue to find their way to here. And after the Mengers 3-wheeler I now have the honour to present to you… the Maximum Mini Coupe! Well... this one doesn't exist in real life, but former Mini and Pininfarina designer David Beasley has made one great effort in creating it on virtual paper.

You may remember David for his earlier artwork on this site (see here). This time he has come up with something least as exiting. He wrote to me: "Hi Jeroen, I hope you're well and having a great June so far! A while ago, one of your followers on the site, Nigel L I think (yep - that was Scottish Jimini-owner Nigel Lamb) responded to a comment I left about doing a crowd sourced ideal Mini. He suggested bits of Ogle, Midas, De-Joux and Camber to create a 'Maximum Mini' Mini. Well, I finally got round to doing a quick render, let me know what you think. Have a great rest of the week and kindest regards, David. Well - I have dropped him a line with quite a few exclamation marks as I think it's absolutely fantastic!
Now - who knows anything about crowd sourcing…?

Rendering courtesy David Beasley

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Mengers 3WP is German precision engineering at its best

It doesn't happen very often nowadays that people come up with a brand new Mini based car. Okay, we've seen this one, that one and this one in recent times. But these are all cars which have been on offer before or updates on existing models. The three-wheeler you see below is something else. I saw the prototype of the Mengers 3WP at a show earlier this year and was naturally determined to find out all about it. 

And so I went to rural Germany a couple of weeks ago to do so. And, boy, I wasn't disappointed. The 3WP, built by Dierk Mengers, is better than any other three-wheeler I have ever seen - and most of these have been Mini powered. It has passed some severe testing to approve the German seal of roadworthiness and will be on offer soon for a serious amount of money. To read the complete story you will have to wait another month or so as it will be in Mini Magazine, but I will keep you posted on mister Mengers' ventures here.

3WP is Dierk Mengers' most challenging project so far. And he's had a few in the past 48 years...
Picture Jeroen Booij

That rear spoiler electronically erects at speed to gain some downforce, just like a modern Porsche...
Picture Jeroen Booij

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Juan Carlos resigns, makes time to drive his Scamp

Spain is in shock now that King Juan Carlos abdicates after reigning the country for 40 years. There have been ups and downs while on the throne (here), but I reckon the former King was a bit of a motoring man, too. In 1970 the Spanish King had a lovely dark blue Maserati Quattroporte for official purposes but privately drove a Spanish built Authi Mini, equipped with 1275cc engine and several special features (click here). 

And when he and his wife Princess Sofia came to London in the early 1970s they wanted to visit the Earl's Court Motor show. This terrific shot shows both of them looking at the Scamp Mk1. While the Princess is chatting to the man with sunglasses, the King looks to the splendid simpleness of the Scamp. According to Scamp fan Chris Westgate the King actually ordered 6 Scamps. And so he may now finally have found the time to drive them. Drop me a line if you like, Sir!

Mini fan and former King Juan Carlos craving for a Scamp at the London Motor Show
Picture courtesy Chris Westgate