Wednesday, 25 February 2015

A plane, a bird? No it's a Mini based sports car

The Ibis is a bird, right? Not necessarily. There have been planes, bikes and hotels named Ibis. Plus a Mini based car hauling from New Zealand. It was initiated by Wallace McNair who restored classic cars in Auckland when the good old Berkeley T60 all of a sudden sparked his idea for a Mini based sports car. But it was Ian Byrd (what's in a name) who actually turned it into a prototype. When that was destroyed when it fell from a truck Byrd nearly gave up, but fortunately Tim Monk-Masen came around to give him a hand. Under Replicar Developments (NZ) Ltd they actually build it. I will write the Ibis' full and enjoyable story for Maximum Mini 3.

But meanwhile Ben Taylor surprised me with some unseen film footage of the late 1980s. Ben says his father owned no less than three Ibises and his current car (the red one below) is supposedly one of just three on the road today. The marketing video can be found below, enjoy it and thank you Ben!


Great marketing video to promote the 1987 Ibis by Replicar Developments
Video courtesy Ben Taylor


The first Ibis sports cars can also be seen at speed in the film footage
Picture courtesy Paul Wilkinson

 The same car made it to the stand of the Sports Car Club of NZ in 1992
Picture courtesy Paul Wilkinson

Ben's father's 1275 powered car is believed to be 1 of 3 Ibises on the road today
Picture courtesy Craig Watson

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Mini Jem left rotting is not for sale

Every now and then I receive a message from someone who has spotted this orange Mini Jem Mk2 looking very sad for itself. One of the chaps who photographed it some years ago published his picture and was contacted by the owner of the car who was not amused. It's not for sale nor does he want his address to be made public. For this reason I never posted any of the pictures. But now that Olof Neergaard sent over a particularly good shot of world's saddest Jem it may be about time. Olof writes: "This is why I love England! A friend was filling up his car, in the freezing cold the other day and couldn't believe his eyes: a Mini Jem parked in the grass across the road looking sad with an open side window and, apparently, a rotten interior. The big Marcos and Seven are also interesting."

I looked it up again on Google Streetview and - yes - it's still there, now joined by not one but two big Marcoses of which the first (the one on Ola's picture) has been there for several years now. Phoahh!  Here some pictures of what the Mini Jem looked like back in 1990. It's about time these cars get some tender loving care. And if that is too much asked, put it under a cover, or roll it into a shed!

This Mini Jem Mk2 has been left rotting for many years now and is spotted regularly
Picture courtesy Ola Nigård

Some years earlier in Summer… This was a very nice Mini Jem back in 1990
Picture courtesy Arthur Jackson

I'm not giving the address but this is how it can be seen on Google Streetview today
Picture courtesy Google Streetview

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Get ready for the 2nd Action Day!

After last year's first track day for fans of early Minis and Mini based cars, the time has come to get ready for the 2015 edition! The second Mk1 Performance Conversions / Maximum Mini Action Day will once again be held at Blyton Park, Lincolnshire, this time stretching over the weekend of Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd of May 2015 with plenty to do and see on both racing tracks of the venue.

Full details can be found here and anyone wanting to book one of the 120 track places will find the details there, too. Drop me a line if you need details from me or if you want to put your Mini derivative on display at the Maximum Mini stand. In the next weeks/months I will do some postings about the event here, too, with some ery exiting cars and their respective owners on their way to Lincolnshire in May! Meanwhile, you may enjoy the great little video my brother made of last year's event below.


Great Mini derivatives at Blyton Park during the 2014 Action Day
Video: J & J Booij

Friday, 6 February 2015

Pictures of Peter Sellers Hooper Mini emerge - but where is it?

A string of unseen (to me) pictures of Peter Sellers' very first coachbuilt Mini - built by Hooper (Motor Servives) Ltd. in late 1962/early '63 - have been posted on the Stilltime pictures website. They give a new insight at the car which cost Sellers £2600 (a standard Cooper came at £679 at the time) and which caused the Mini to become a new coachbuilt favourite for use as a city car for the rich and famous. Sellers supposedly asked dealership HR Owen for the conversion, but HR Owen commissioned Hooper for the job, building what became known as the Mini to start the coachbuilding hype. The later car used by Sellers in the Pink Panther film looked similar, but was in fact another and later car coachbuilt by Radford.

The original Hooper car, registration '6189 PK' came lavishly trimmed inside and out, with Royal Purple paint and a beige Conolly interior - the exact specs can be found in the Autocar article I have attached. Despite the fact that several pictures of the car have been around, even some film footage, I never noticed it had wheel spats and new rear light clusters, possibly cut-down Aston Martin DB4 units. Confusingly, the car is seen wearing another registration number (57 PJ) and a red rather than beige interior in another Autocar clipping, while the film footage shows it with its '6189 PK' number but with red leather, too. Was it the same car converted once more or did Hooper build two of them?

And then there's the question of where it is now. The Radford-built Pink Panther car was famously found back by John Adair in 1994, but what happened to the original Hooper car (or cars)? The last lead dates back to 1994, too, when a snippet in MiniWorld magazine appeared, quoting it survived with a classic car restoration firm in Newtonmore, Scotland. It was said to have been painted pink at one stage because of the supposed link with the Pink Panther movie... The company, as far as I managed to find out, was dissolved in 2002 with no clues to what happened to the car. '57 PJ' is unknown to the DVLA, but '6189 PK' is still in their database as a mauve Morris Mini Cooper with 1152cc engine, but is untaxed since 1979...

Well-known photograph of man and machine - Sellers and his (the) first coachbuilt Mini
Picture courtesy art.com

But this one is new to me. Note wheel spats and unusual rear light treatment
Picture courtesy stilltimecollection.co.uk

Lavish interior with beige Conolly leather seats with 'Reutter reclining system'
Picture courtesy stilltimecollection.co.uk

Yes, the windows were electric on it, as was the aerial and the screen washer
Picture courtesy stilltimecollection.co.uk

Headlights were supposedly Bentley-sourced. Canework by Geoff Francis
Picture courtesy stilltimecollection.co.uk

Note replaced gear lever as in later Minis and even leather on the steering column 
Picture courtesy stilltimecollection.co.uk

The Autocar liked it, too, calling it 'the ultimate in luxury Minis'
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Is this the same car? It wears a different registration and has a red leather interior
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Film footage of Sellers and the car, seen here in its Royal Purple with red leather interior
Picture courtesy youtube.com

Last trace of the car dates back to 1994, when it was in Scotland ...painted pink...
Picture courtesy MiniWorld

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Freewheelers Mini Bug found

Before we have our man Barry Stimson himself dish up some more tales here, have a look at this. A Stimson Mini Bug, which feels rather sorry for itself, oh yes. But according to Barry Tilbury, who bought it recently, it is one of the cars that featured prominently in the 1970s television series Freewheelers. In fact he says it is the car registered RPX 885K, which can also be seen here in its heyday. We don't know, but would to see it being restored. More information is welcome!

UPDATE 4 February 2015: Barry sent in a copy of the car's document - it's the one!

A Stimson Mini Bug, no doubt, but a rather special one to 1970s tv fans
Picture courtesy Barry Tilbury

According to the new owner the car is complete but needs a restoration
Picture courtesy Barry Tilbury

Friday, 30 January 2015

Mystery Mini derivative (41)

This is not a Land Rover. Oh yes, it looks like one, that's for sure. But in fact it is quite a lot smaller and what's more: it is believed to be based on a Mini. The 10" Cosmic wheels do indeed point to that direction. Know more about it? Let me know!

Land Rover or Mini - or a bit of both perhaps?
Picture source unknown

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

More Broadspeed GTS pictures emerge

You may know by now that the Broadspeed GTS spent most of its life in The Netherlands, where it was raced between 1967 and 1971, mostly on Zandvoort, before it languished in Amsterdam for another few decades.

We've seen a picture of the car in action before (here), taken by Hans Hugenholz. But Hans has more of them! Some of these below, taken at the Zandvoort track - designed by Hans' father - in 1969. During that year then-owner Tonio Hildebrand raced it at least three times under number 7 - and finished three times first in class. I think it had a golden bronze colour at the time. Great shots, love them!

The Broadspeed GTS in Zandvoort's Hugenholtz corner, named after the track's designer
Picture courtesy Hans Hugenholtz

Note it doesn't have the ram pipes poking through the bonnet like earlier at Zandvoort (here)
Picture courtesy Hans Hugenholtz

Capacity was 1293 or 1296cc back in 1969 and it was fast enough to beat all other Minis  
Picture courtesy Hans Hugenholtz

Monday, 19 January 2015

Mystery Mini derivative (40)

This mysterious Mini based six-wheeler hauls from France and was spotted in an ad by reader Vera Domnick. She wrote: "I just ran across this advertisment in France. Did you ever see this car before? Labelled as a Moke, it's really quite ugly..." The car is said to be of 1964-vintage and is offered for sale in Villedieu-les-Poêles, which is situated quite convenient for interested parties from the UK... see the ad here.

I think it may be based on a Scamp Mk2 or MDV six-wheeler, but I'm not totally sure. What do you think?

There are clearly hints of a Scamp Mk2 or an MDV in there. Or am I seeing things?
Picture courtesy leboncoin.fr

Six snow gyres and a big flat bed for carrying another Mini derivative?
Picture courtesy leboncoin.fr

An interior doesn't get much simpler. Again: that fits the suggested donors
Picture courtesy leboncoin.fr

Is that a Mini or Metro engine? One thing is clear: that is an awful lot of wiring!
Picture courtesy leboncoin.fr

Friday, 16 January 2015

Stimson's stories (1)

Okay. How about a new series? Regular readers out here know I've been doing more of them - on Le Mans cars (Minis at Le Mans), on my Camber and Maya GT researches (The Camber / Maya files), on mysterious cases of disappeared derivatives (Urban Legends) and of course that all-time favorite of the Mystery Mini derivative. Anyway: time for new online series now, and this time it's all about what I believe to be the most prolific designer of Mini based cars: Barry Stimson.

From the late 1960s-on Barry designed, built, drove and marketed a great number of wild vehicles, and many of these were Mini powered. Not all of them were a hit, but it's a fact that there are some great tales attached to them. What's more: Barry likes to chat about them with me, and thanks to his free-of-charge telephone account it's not too difficult (or costly) either. Great. But where to start? Barry had a laugh about his first car, when I asked him about it. A Ford 93E of, he thought, 1937. It may not be a surprise that it didn't last very long in its original shape. "Any pictures of it?" I asked him, and to my great surprise I found them in my mailbox only minutes later. That was the one to start with.

Barry was 17 at the time and told me that his mum and dad thought he'd gone mad cutting up this still very usable car. Barry: "But it sort of started there... with a hammer… a saw... a spanner… and a vision. Mum hated the thing and banned me from parking it outside their house in Portsmouth! …Can’t think why? Oh, and yes, they are dustbin lids on the wheels!"

So there you go. Not a Mini derivative for this time, but there's much more to follow as this man was responsible from anything Mini based from three-wheelers to six-wheelers. Welcome aboard Barry!

Barry Stimson at the age of 17, here on his way to adventures in Africa…
Picture courtesy Barry Stimson

The first Stimson: a much modified Ford 93E, much to the horror of The Stimsons!
Picture courtesy Barry Stimson

 It was the start of a long list of cars, tricycles and amphibians to come. Note dustbin lids...
Picture courtesy Barry Stimson

 A disgrace to that neat and tidy street in southern England in the late 1950s!
Picture courtesy Barry Stimson

 Ever the optimist: Barry Stimson's balcony overlooks a marina, here some years ago
Picture Jeroen Booij

Monday, 12 January 2015

Car and Car Conversions display is fabulous!

Now that's what a display should look like! Pete Flanagan sent in some images from last weekend's Autosport show at the NEC in Birmingham, where a Cars and Car Conversions magazine display was recreated on the stand of the Mini Cooper Register. Just as well as some racing Minis the show stoppers were the Cox GTM and Unipower GT, both as campaigned by the magazine in its heyday.

Pete adds: "It was great, really good feeback from not only Mini derivative lovers and owners but from some of the people who remember these cars from when they were new and rarely seen. I suggested your website to many of them to read up on them. We also had an opportunity recreate that photo from the '67 Racing Car Show, one I couldn't miss out on. Thanks go to the lovely young lady sat on the wing of my car who very sportingly agreed to play the part of Monika!" Well done boys and girls!

Two stunning cars flying the flag for what was one of the UK's greatest magazines
Picture courtesy Neil Burgess

We'll never get enough of this little stunner, won't we? The fabulous ex-CCC Cox GTM
Picture courtesy Pete Flanagan

Why not recreate that infamous and cheeky shot from 1967 while on the show? Well done!
Picture courtesy Pete Flanagan

That's the original picture with the same car and model Monika Dietrich on its nose
Picture archive Jeroen Booij

And with even less clothing on... Not sure if Pete tried to recreate this one too
Picture Richard Heseltine archive