Thursday, 22 March 2018

The many faces of the Fisher

I came across my file on the fascinating Fisher Spyder recently and was surprised with the many great photographs of this car, perfectly showing the different guises it went through throughout the years. I made only a brief selection for this article as there was so much to choose from.

The Fisher was initiated by Scotsman Jack Fisher of Edinburgh and has always been Mini powered. Work on his Special started as early as 1959 when Fisher acquired an 850 Mini engines from BMC and started to build a chassis. But only when he acquired a damaged Lotus Elite body shell in 1964 he managed to finish it, by that time he'd come up with a brand new space frame chassis with new detachable subframe so that the Mini powertrain could be mounted into the Elite boot. It was road registered 'ASG 182B' and used on the streets but soon only used for sprints and hill climbs.

Some time later a new space frame was made for the car, now using Lotus 23 suspension, disc brakes plus the centre body section including the doors of the ex-Ecurie Ecosse Le Mans Tojeiro! Engine size was increased to 1,150cc and an Arden 8-port head with twin Webers was now fitted, making it seriously fast. But it could do better, Fisher thought, and he remodelled it once again, now with shortened Gropa Spyder body and Lotus suspension. In this guise it set a class lap record at Ingliston where it was a frequent winner in the hands of both Fisher as Edward Labinjoh, who worked as a mechanic for Fisher’s garage. It was restored in 2007 by the current owner Peter Speakman at who's place I photographed it in 2011 for Maximum Mini 2 in the beautiful Lake District.

That's the Fisher being built in 1964. Recognize the Lotus Elite body in it?
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

The car's space frame was made to measure for the Lotus body. Suspension seems Triumph?
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

A subframe was made to easily fit the Mini engine in the Elite boot. An 850 here
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

And ready to race! It used a Lotus type 23 nose section and was registered 'ASG 182B' 
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Here slightly later, now also using Lotus alloy wheels and Lotus disc brakes
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Next guise: much altered space frame was now mated to ex-Le Mans Tojeiro body!
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

It makes you wonder where the body from the Ecurie Ecosse Le Mans Tojeiro now comes from?
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Seen here at the start of a race at Ingliston in September 1967. Note Mini Marcoses on grid, too
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Different paint job. The car was also raced by Fisher's mechanic, Eddie Labinjoh
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

By the late 1960s it used an 1150cc engine with Arden 8-port head and double Webers
Not sure if this is that engine, though. UPDATE: It isn't this was a Gordon Allen 1500 BDA unit placed on a modified Mini gearbox that proved to be too much for the car's transmission.
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

1970. Now with shortened Gropa Spyder body to make it even lighter and more aerodynamic
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

And that's still how it looks like today. This picture was taken in 2011 in the Lake District
Picture Jeroen Booij

The Mini engine is still there. That's owner Peter Speakman opening the front
Picture Jeroen Booij



UPDATE 14:30: Alastair Brown writes: "The Ecosse Tojeiro from which the body came was destroyed in an accident at Brands with, I think, Bill Stein at the wheel in the mid '60s (in open cockpit, Ford engined form). When it was later rebuilt the original roof section was tracked down and is now back on the car from whence it came. I think it's the one Tom Mcquirterr has in the Moray Motor Museum, but the identity of the 2 Tojeiro coupes is a bit like bowl of spaghetti to unravel!" 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jeroen, very interesting article, with great photographs, I was at that Ingliston meeting and from memory, the white and blue marcos on the front row/middle is that of Andy Barton, brings back good memories of a great day's racing.
    hopefully see you next month.

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