Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Japan Mini Day 2017

Japan Mini Day is always good for some Mini derivatives. And with the show in its 25th year it was bound to become a good one this year, at the shores of Lake Hamanako in the Shizuoka prefecture. The majority of the pictures below come from the Young Mini Club of Hong Kong. Thank you so much for uploading them!
Is this four-door car a Mini Mengers creation? I don't think so, but you may know?
Picture Piyo Yee / Young Mini Club

And how about this cool Mini coupe? A Buckle Monaco? An ABS Coupe? I'd love to know
Picture Piyo Yee / Young Mini Club

Heerey GTM 1-3 has to be a rare sight in Japan. This is a 1970 car
Picture Piyo Yee / Young Mini Club

And is that an Ibis or an RD Wasp? I think the latter. Here is an Ibis that made its way to Japan
Picture Piyo Yee / Young Mini Club

There were several Mokes with hardtops. I think this one is by Fibreglass Canopy Sales of Wahroonga, Australia
Picture Piyo Yee / Young Mini Club

And another one. This one looks to be a Duncan Hamilton variant of the late 1980s?
Picture Piyo Yee / Young Mini Club

These ladies sell ice cream from a very fitting Whitby Morrison Mini ice cream van
Picture Nobuhiro Okitsu

Mister Maruyama's well-know Mini Marcos may be Ford powered, it's a lovely thing!
Picture Piyo Yee / Young Mini Club

This car is another regular at Japan's Mini meets. The (Mk4) body is said to be fully carbon fibre
Picture Piyo Yee / Young Mini Club

Japan Mini Day would not be Japan Mini Day without at least some MiniSprints!
Picture Piyo Yee / Young Mini Club

The number of MiniSprints in Japan is remarkably high. Who built all these cars?
Picture JMSA

And another, now clearly based on a younger shell. Note that all wear wide arches
Picture Piyo Yee / Young Mini Club

Bonus photograph: this Unipower GT was also seen at another meeting in Japan last weekend
Picture Yoshi Tsuji

Monday, 20 November 2017

Maximum Mini Christmas offer 2017

Make a start on your Christmas shopping with the perfect gift: Maximum Mini books, of course. Now you can take advantage of a 25% discount on Maximum Mini 2 and 3. I have also been able to track down 5 more copies of the original hardback Maximum Mini 1, as published in 2009, which I sell with 40% discount on the standard £250 price - £150. These will surely go quickly as I don't think I'll find new ones anywhere!

All prices below include postage and packing in a purpose made box. Drop me a line on jeroen at jeroenbooij.com with your wishes and I'll send you a payment request.

This offer start on Wednesday 22 November 2017 and runs until 25 December 2017.

To the UK

£26.25 for Maximum Mini 2
£30.00 for Maximum Mini 3
£52.50 for Maximum Mini 2 & 3
£150.00 for the original hardback Maximum Mini 1

To Europe

€33.95 for Maximum Mini 2
€37.50 for Maximum Mini 3
€63.75 for Maximum Mini 2 & 3
€169.00 for the original hardback Maximum Mini 1

To the US

$46.50 for Maximum Mini 2
$52.50 for Maximum Mini 3
$93.75 for Maximum Mini 2 & 3
$199.00 for the original hardback Maximum Mini 1

To Japan

¥5,500 for Maximum Mini 2
¥6,000 for Maximum Mini 3
¥10,500 for Maximum Mini 2 & 3
¥22,500 for the original hardback Maximum Mini 1

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Mystery Mini derivative (46)

Another mystery Mini derivative and yet another autocross Special. No information is known about this one, so feel free to help with anything. People, location, details. All I recognize is the A-series engine and the Dunlop wheels. Most of this autocross Special is also still shrouded in mystery, as is this one and this one...

A Mini based autocross Special, somewhere in the UK in the late 1960s / early 1970s
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Vikings from the Isle of Man

Peel Viking Minisport owner John Fischer contacted me with some news on his car's identification. He wrote: "Hi Jeroen, whilst at the NEC classic car show this weekend I spoke to two people on the Microcar stand who have a lot of knowledge about Peel and gave me a lot of information about Vikings. All fibreglass moldings from Peel had plates with a number on. Initially letters and numbers denoted different types of products such as motorcycle fairings, boats and different models of cars but at some stage the rack of plates fell over and all the plates got mixed up. They didn't bother sorting out the plates so from then on random numbers were issued. They believe however that Peel Vikings were to be issued with F800 to F849 numbers."

"As my Peel carries F809 they are 99% sure it is an early Isle of Man car. They believe cars built by Peel would have been registered with the F*** chassis numbers, but kit built cars would use the donor Mini chassis numbers. They believe an exception to this was the D-reg one that has the Minivan trailer which had an F*** number as it was being built with new parts (more on that one here). The original moulds went to Suffolk and were eventually destroyed so when one of these two people wanted some shells in later years a new set were made to produce 'repro' cars. He used a 'repro' shell to build the car that is now in the Lane Motor Museum, the roof came out very rippled, hence the vinyl roof (here for that one). These moulds are the ones that sold on Ebay and are now with Exo Sports Cars in Nottingham (there you go)."

"There are two cars on the Isle of Man, one being MAN 123 (see Maximum Mini 1 and here), the other is the orange J reg car that was pictured for sale at Newark kit car show (this one). This car has been in and out of the Isle of Man several times and has carried various registrations over the years. There is another original car in England with the daughter of an ex-Peel employee, which may still be on the road on the South Coast. The one shown in your book racing off road still exists as a body, but the front was cut off at some stage to aid cooling. Originally there was a frame that held the metal reinforcements for the body whilst it was being molded but this was left to rot on the island so later bodies were said to be missing reinforcement. The only set of steel doors known, like fitted to mine, were the ones made to mould the fibreglass ones from, so my doors can't be explained at this stage."

"They are going to investigate further and send me any information they can trace about the original Peel built cars. At present they know of my car but hadn't traced it back further than Peamore Garage in about 1980, but know of only one unidentified original car, so there is a possibility it is this one. I will let you know if more info comes to light."

John's Peel Viking Minisport at the Mk1 / Maximum Mini Action Day at Blyton Park in 2015
Picture Jeroen Booij

Joined by a TiCi. Note late (april 1980) registration number, the reason for which is unknown
Picture Jeroen Booij

Made on Man, or so it seems. 'F809' may suggest there were at least 9 bodies produced on the island?
Picture Jeroen Booij

But the link to Peamore Garage, in Alphington, Exeter, is also still shrouded in mystery
Picture Jeroen Booij

The engine in this particular Peel is an 850 from a 1964 Austin Mini
Picture Jeroen Booij

Much of the car's interior had been eaten by mice, but the mechanical side is all okay
Picture Jeroen Booij

Most Peel Viking's have fibreglass doors; this one does not. They are shortened steel Mini items
Picture Jeroen Booij

Last on the road in 1993... In 1982 it supposedly was a Christmas present to a young man in Devon
Picture Jeroen Booij

Friday, 10 November 2017

Beach car returns to show scene

While the Unipower GTs shine at the NEC in Birmingham (click!), an original Mini Beach Car stars at the Epoqu'Auto show in Lyon, France. It has come out of the woodwork after not having been seen in public for ages, and it's a pretty special one, too. This is the car that was seen with a most unusual 'fringe top' on its roof back in the 1960s in Cannes. And some more unusual features: figureheads at the door steps and the boot handle and a white Bakelite telephone, amongst others. It does look very smart, although I couldn't stand noticing that it does seem to miss some more bits. Apart from the strange roof accessoire, the overriders and cornerbars and the gear knob in the shape of a hand that it originally had appear to have gone, too. According to a period article "The owner of the car had the cabin of his motor vessel similarly decorated."

This French registered Mini Beach car hasn't been seen in public for decades
Picture courtesy Dominique Sabat

This particular car, one of the 14 made in Longbridge, has some unusual made-to-measure features
Picture courtesy Dominique Sabat

Telephone, tailored badges and ornamental figureheads on doorsteps and boot, for example
Picture courtesy Dominique Sabat

Originally, it was even more lavish, with mauve 'fringe top' and curtains as doors. The car is seen here in Cannes in the 1960s. Note '75' (for Paris) registration 
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Unipowers shine at NEC

(Almost) Live from the NEC in Birmingham, I was sent these shots taken at the Unipower display at the Classic Car Show by Colin Baines. Tim Carpenter, who put the beautiful display together, tells me the collection of Unipowers is very well received with the cars getting lots of attention. It does look cracking!

Mark Butler re-imported this car from the US in 2006 and beautifully restored it. He is seen behind it here in the green jacket, with two more GT-owners (Pete Flanagan and Gary Marlow) The car is now owned by Mark Glashier
Picture Colin Baines

Tim Carpenter's GT is the first production car. Tim bought it in 1982 as a rolling shell in a poor condition and fully restored it during the 1980s. But it's only now that he regularly uses it. 
Picture Colin Baines

Pete Flanagan's car is a lightweight racer that comes with Downton tuned 1293 engine. It was owned and raced by Janspeed's Geoff Mabbs and later by Cars and Car Conversions magazine
Picture Colin Baines

Tim (right) is seen here with Thomas Jay, another Unipower owner. Thomas is restoring the GT he bought in 1971, crashed in 1975 and which he is currently restoring (some pictures here)
Picture Colin Baines

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Unipower GTs at NEC this weekend

Unipower GT owner Tim Carpenter has been busy organizing a display for the Classic Car Show held at Birmingham's NEC this weekend. Tim's own car is there (chassis number 1), along with the ex-CCC racer of Pete (as here) and the beautifully restored car of Mark Glashier (as here).

Tim sent me a press release, which I'm quoting as a whole here: "Super rare Unipower GT breaks cover on Stand 2-160. The best, least-known mid-engined British production special gets its own stand at the Lancaster Classic Car Show with Discovery this weekend. Never heard of the Unipower GT? Perhaps not surprising as only 71 were built 1966-70 in NW London and lots of survivors emigrated to Japan in the 1980s. Like a small race car for the road, these mid-engined sports cars embody superior design and turn heads to this day. Take a good look. It may be while before you see another one."

The picture below was taken at the 1967 Racing Car Show in London in January that year. More Unipowers on show here. More Unipowers on show with ladies on their bonnets here and here.

London Racing Car Show 1967: a 998cc Unipower GT 'to the latest specification' 
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Grandson of builder is looking for an Edenvale Mini coupe

I was contacted some time ago by Vaughan Frankiewicz, who happened to know more about the Mini fastback coupes built in Edenvale, South-Africa in the 1960s (see Maximum Mini 3). He wrote: "The Mini Fastback is one of three my grandfather build. It belonged to my mother for many years before being sold. I would like to know who currently owns the vehicle as I would like to purchase it and have it back in the family if possible." I haven't heard from him anymore, but would love keep in touch. Also: the whereabouts of the three cars are currently unknown to me, but I'm sure somebody else will be able to help.

First of the three Frankiewicz built Mini fastbacks was owned by a South-African radio DJ
Picture courtesy Chris Rees

This one turned up for sale in South-Africa in 2013 when it was sold for a very little sum
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

And it was seen for sale again two years later, still looking pretty rough. Where did it go?
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Mystery Mini derivative (45)

It's been quite a while since we saw a mystery Mini derivative here. This while I still have quite a few mystery cars that could do with some more information. So here we go again. This car was bought by Andrew Jackson in New South Wales many years ago, but he still didn't know much more about it then it was supposedly made in Adelaide and not just as a one-off. He applied to The Mini Experience magazine for more information and then wrote: "It has a Mini engine (1098cc) and transmission in the back, mounted in a cut down front subframe. The fabricated frame that located the top of the subframe looks to have been made in a professional manner. Other Mini parts are the bonnet hinges and lock, door hinges and handles, and the cut down sliding windows. I do not know what the front end has come from, although it may have a Mini steering rack. A windscreen for a Triumph Spitfire will fit." Do you know more? More Mystery Mini derivatives here.

Australian Mini based sports car, presumably made in Adelaide in a small series
Picture Andrew Jackson / The Mini Experience

Engine is a 1098cc Mini unit. The frame 'looks to have been made in a professional manner'
Picture Andrew Jackson / The Mini Experience

Monday, 30 October 2017

The Freewheelers and their Stimson (video)

The late 1960s / early 1970s British tv series The Freewheelers has come past here before, but only in 'screen grabs' (click here). This was a series about a group of teenagers who get caught up in the plans of an ex-Nazi officer; totally period and starring a Stimson Mini Bug. I asked for moving images, and now received them. Talking Pictures TV was showing The Freewheelers once again recently and days after the broadcast, a video appeared on Youtube compiling the Stimson driving scenes. I thought there were two cars seen in the series, an orange one and a yellow one, but this appears to be not the case. Ian Wegg wrote: "There was definitely only one Mini Bug used, 'RPX 885K', you can also see the registration a few seconds earlier in the Halnaker scene. The orange colour is the result of auto correction on the screen grab." He seems to be right! Oh - as you may also remember, that one car was found only a few year ago, and it's awaiting a restoration awaiting its restoration now! Enjoy the video.

Video courtesy Youtube / Colonel Buchan

Friday, 27 October 2017

Mini Magazine features Broadspeeds

When you read Mini Magazine, you may know that the Le Mans Mini Marcos project features regularly in the 'Our Minis' section, with the current issue publishing the third part of the series. But there's another reason to go and buy that mag. Together with editor Jeff Ruggles I've penned down the full story of the Broadspeed GT and GTS Works racer pairing from 1966, which has made it to a massive 9 page feature. All you ever needed to know on these cars is there. So go and buy that magazine, bound to become a collector's item...

Broadspeed Works racer and demonstrator have made it to the market recently. And to Mini Mag
Picture Mini Magazine

Third installation on the Le Mans Mini Marcos project can be found in the same issue
Picture Mini Magazine

Mystery Mini Marcoses of the Low Countries

Reader Kees Plugboer recently took a dive in his old photo-albums and out came a collection of Mini Marcos shots, taken in the 1980s and 1990s at the Zandvoort track and at a lock-up near Brussels in Belgium where he had a look at a Mk2 Mini Cooper at the time. He didn't buy the Mini in the end but took photos of the Marcoses there, some of them which he also spotted at Zandvoort earlier. They make me quite curious. Was this one collection, and what happened to it? I add some more unknown cars from Belgium to it, making this overview of Dutch and Belgian Mini Marcoses which all appear to have gone off the radar. Perhaps you know what happened to these cars?

One of several Mini Marcoses spotted at Zandvoort. This one being a Mk4, photographed in '94
Picture Kees Plugboer

Another one at Zandvoort, now in the patriotic colours of the Dutch flag. This was in 1987 
Picture Kees Plugboer

And it was joined by yet another Mini Marcos. The white car seems a Mk3, the blue a Mk4
Picture Kees Plugboer

A lock-up near Brussels in Belgium at the end of the 1980. Kees bumps into the same blue car
Picture Kees Plugboer

And the white sister racer is there, too. We can now see its (January 1970) registration 'RHR 2H'
Picture Kees Plugboer

There's yet another example, also a Mk3 I think. And it seems to wear a British registration, too
Picture Kees Plugboer

And how about this one? Another Mk3? Also in the same Belgian lock-up in the late 1980s
Picture Kees Plugboer

Was somebody hoarding Mini Marcoses here? And what happened to these cars?
Picture Kees Plugboer

This car was seen more recently (in 2014) and offered for sale in Belgium as a barnfind
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Registration dates back to 1970, too. Wide arches and rear spoiler make it easily recognizable
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

This car supposedly raced at Zandvoort in the 1980s too, but I know nothing more than just that
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Bonus car: this racy Mini Marcos was offered for sale from Belgium last week
Picture Reezocar.be

It's chassis #7109, another Mk3 that was registered in 1968. I'm not sure if it sold
Picture Reezocar.be