Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Back on track

That was a rather long silence on here, but all for a good cause. I have been traveling to see some splendid cars and meet their enthusiastic owners. The scene below is one of several I stumbled upon. No, I'm not telling you where or what, but it may be no surprise that the car in the centre of the picture is the one that brought me there in the first place. Yes, it's another Unipower GT. And I can tell you it wasn't the only thing of interest in there. Do you recognize the others on the picture?

Centre stage for the Unipower GT in a superb collection of cars
Picture Jeroen Booij

Monday, 29 September 2014

James Garner's Radford Mini was scrapped

Like James Garner himself (who passed away only months ago), his Radford Mini DeVille is no longer with us either, or so an anonymous reader from the USA knows. After I wrote about the car a while ago, he answered my question about if it could survive: "Sorry to inform you, but Garner's Mini was wrecked in the early 1980s on Mulholland Drive by a prospective buyer - he lost control and ran it into a concrete corner-edge head on, pushing the drive-train into the passenger compartment somewhat, and breaking both front wheels. Minus the engine and the surviving Mamba wheels, it was sold to a guy in the San Diego area who was poorly advised to part it out. It was restoreable, and it's a pity people were out for a quick buck. The roof was hacked off immediately and sold for the Webasto sunroof, the boot was also sawed off to make a trailer for someone, (who never did, as far as I know) the interior went one way, and gradually it was reduced to scrap. If I would've found out early enough I would've tried to stop such idiocy - it was a significant Mini, and should've been restored. I did end up buying the Morris Cooper grille after I found out they'd whacked the car up, that was pretty rare over here back then. It's still around on one of my Minis, for sentimental reasons."

Both no longer with us, but the Mini was the first to pass away
Picture Jeroen Booij archive


Thursday, 25 September 2014

Video: CCC Cox GTM bangs and breaks

Oh dear. Maximum Mini friend Nick Wilkins - who is definitely not afraid to use his gorgeous ex-Car & Car Conversions Cox GTM in anger - crashed the car last weekend at a rally stage held during the Manchester Classic Car show. What went wrong? Video footage by John Mitchell shows it. With its short wheelbase the car oversteers, Nick corrects nicely but unfortunately cannot avoid a big concrete block, hitting it with the rear near side, snapping off a wheel. I like the dry comment: 'Well - We've had a bit of a bang there. We may not be seeing that one on the circuit tomorrow'. But I'm sure Nick and Derek will be able to put it back on the track soon, though. Nick ads: "Its is all stripped-down and ready to be repaired. Luckily it looks worse than it is. A new sub frame and bottom arms and it will be mechanically okay. Body is cracked on the rear but should be relatively easy to repair." See you at Blyton next years boys!

Moment of impact - legendary Cox GTM hits concrete block, bonnet torn apart
Picture courtesy John Mitchell


John Mitchell stood next to the concrete block that Nick hit - and had his video camera running...
Video courtesy youtube.com/John Mitchell


The CCC Cox GTM at the Maximum Mini display at Blyton Park in May this year
Picture Jeroen Booij

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Australia's Broadspeed GTS is getting ready for action

It had been months since I heard of Jono Morris, the intrepid Broadspeed owner of Australia who is working hard to get his car - the only Broadspeed GTS that made it to Australia - ready. But he's getting there now. Jono wrote to me: "Hi Jeroen, I hope all is well, great to see you have a new book and the regular Maximum Mini posts are great. Well done! You will be pleased to know that the Broadspeed GTS restoration is nearing completion. The engine is not quite finished so its not back in the car yet, but otherwise it is almost complete. See attached a shot of me with the car and my son at Eastern Creek last week. Next time I hope I am driving it rather than just displaying it!"

Meanwhile, Jono also put together a brilliant book about his car, featuring all the old pictures, newspaper clippings, advertisements, magazine extracts, programme booklets and other stuff he amassed. And believe it or not but this has become a truly fantastic document of the car's early life, counting no less then 103 pages and hundreds of historical pictures of it. It can be seen chasing other Minis, Alfas, Lotuses, big Fords and Holdens plus a JWF Milano at Oran Park, Warwick Farm, Catalina Park, Lakeside, Surfers Paradise and Bathurst. In complete anger. What can I say? Well done!

Jono and junior Morris with the Broadspeed GTS that's now almost finished
Picture courtesy Jono Morris

Jono has made a 103-page book about the Broadspeed GTS and its fantastic!
Picture Jeroen Booij

 Many, many previously unseen pictures (by me…) make it a document like no other
Picture Jeroen Booij

Clippings, ads, programme booklets describe the car's first racing seasons
Picture Jeroen Booij

I never knew Brian Foley had a brochure made of the Australian Broadspeed GT…
Picture Jeroen Booij

Monday, 22 September 2014

Rotten Wood & Picketts resurface

Not one but two 1970s Wood & Pickett Minis have resurfaced recently, with both of them are in a pretty sorry state. First is a 1275 GT based Mini Margrave of 1974 in two-tone blue with lovely leather interior in Oxblood. The car was supposedly hidden in a storage for the past 23 years but is still very complete and is now in the hands of a Mini specialist in Kent. Nothing about the car's history is known to him, but hopefully he'll find out more about it in the near future.

Secondly, a 1973 car was unearthed last week in a much worse condition. This Mini received the Margrave treatment including the Landau roof conversion by Wood & Pickett, but remarkably it was based on an Innocenti Mini Cooper. Contrary to the 1974 car, this one is missing many of its parts and restoring it would be a tremendous task, with the shell in a terrible state. The current owner, who is now selling the car, is honest about that and says: "A massive, massive undertaking which requires huge amounts of time, patience, skill and cash. But what a car this must have been and I would love to see it go to someone nuts enough to do the work rather than someone looking to steal it's id!"

1974 Wood & Pickett Mini Margrave in 'as found' condition. Its history is unknown
Picture courtesy Palmer Works S

Partially deseamed, vynil roof, nudge bars - all clear W&P features. But no Vauxhall grille
Picture courtesy Palmer Works S

Lovely Oxblood leather interior makes great contrast to two-tone blue exterior
Picture courtesy Palmer Works S

Innocenti Cooper based Wood & Pickett is very, very rare and very, very rotten too
Picture courtesy Rory

The Landau roof conversion with low rear window was seen on this car too
Picture courtesy Rory

Friday, 19 September 2014

Dinky Inc. stocks Maximum Mini

I am proud to announce that Dinky Inc. is distributing Maximum Mini 2 in Japan. Dinky is a truly fantastic Mini specialist in Hamamatsu, run by the ever enthusiastic Naoki Ishizuka. Naoki has been dealing and wheeling Minis since mankind and has had a string of very interesting derivatives. 
He put me in touch with several owners of cars in the past years and owned a number of interesting cars himself, from MiniSprint to Mini Marcos and from Unipower GT to Broadspeed GT. If you're in Japan and looking for Maximum Mini 2 - give him a bell, drop him a line or visit him here

The facade of Dinky Inc. in Hamamatsu, Japan. Behind it you'll find many, many Minis
Picture Jeroen Booij

The shop is a true Alladin's cave of Mini parts and Mini related paraphernalia
Picture Jeroen Booij

Naoki Ishizuka with his favorite car: the ex-Graham Hill Speedwell Cooper 'S' he owns
Picture Jeroen Booij

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Codford Mini - where are you?

Did I ever mention the Codford Mini here? I don't think so, which makes it about time. The car, built in and named after the village of Codford Saint Mary, certainly looked good. No surprise perhaps, since it was designed by Neville Trickett, following much of the lines of the MiniSprint, but with different nose and rear (hatchback!) sections in fiberglass. You can read its full story in Maximum Mini 2.

Only three were built, and as a matter of fact one of those three cars has disappeared from the radar since ages. It was red; wore the registration number '31 TKT' and was supposedly Cooper 'S' powered. Where did that ever go?

I know the other car - metallic green; registered BPR 2B; 850 power - was crashed and scrapped in the early 1970s, while the third was actually never finished and survives as a badly corroded body. Also: a stack of professionally made pictures of BPR 2B is believed to may well survive - anyone who knows more about these?

The missing Codford Mini was red and supposedly used Cooper 'S' power. Where could it be?
Picture courtesy Chris Rees

Number 2 was crashed and scrapped but a number of glamourous pictures of it could survive
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Codford Mini number 3 was never finished, but the body does survive - only just
Picture Jeroen Booij

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Driving a Scamp with blindfold

Ever drove a car with a blindfold on? I haven't but I understand you can if you like to. Just book a Team Build day with Mithril Racing and you can take place behind the wheel and trash a specially prepared car into a slalom at Goodwood grounds - blindfolded. It's a modified Mk1 Scamp! Not a Moke as the website mentions. Sounds like fun to me.

Modified Scamp Mk1 comes with instructor and emergency brake in the back
Picture courtesy Mithril Racing

Friday, 5 September 2014

Mystery Mini derivative (37)

This has been a while - no mystery motors have appeared here for some time. But the Mystery Mini derivative is back with a funny four-wheel steered creature which made a brief appearance in two advertisements, supposedly dating back to 1969. At first thought I believed it could have been Mobi-One in a much chopped-up state. Fortunately it isn't. Mobi-One creator Morris Bishop (who is still looking out for the car) told me it could well be 'one of the many copies that there are around'. That leaves us with the question: which one? Do you know it? Share your knowledge here!

Square tube frame, aluminum body, Mini mechanicals. But who built it? 
Picture courtesy carandclassic.co.uk 

Full four-wheel steering would make it a winner at every auto test 
Picture courtesy carandclassic.co.uk 

Morris Cooper S powered, too. Please do not scrap it for the engine alone 
Picture courtesy carandclassic.co.uk 

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Maximum Mini 2 in reviews

Slowly but surely the reviews for Maximum Mini 2 drop in and I wanted to share some of it here with you. The current issue of The Automobile is my favorite so far, describing some thoughts that I can only endorse. A quote about the cars: "The reasons for their obscurity are obvious in many cases, but handsome little GTs like the Lawther or the Neville Trickett-designed Codford surely deserved a better fate than as mere footnotes."I was also flattered by: "The level of information offered on each vehicle is a testament to Booij's diligent research. In nearly every case he has tracked down a (or more often than not, the) surviving car and has interviewed many of the people who helped create these curious orphans."

Like I did with the first Maximum Mini book, I will upload all of the the reviews that I receive on a separate page (find it here), have a look if you haven't got the book yet and want to know what others think. Click here to buy it directly.

Meanwhile, if you want a Maximum Mini sticker - buy the latest copy of Mini Magazine, which will have one included!


The Automobile's view on Maximum Mini 2, click up for bigger view

A Maximum Mini sticker is included with this month's Mini Magazine
No awards for guessing the car it's on here!
Picture Jeroen Booij