August 2019

[1-Aug_19_Mini_Line.jpg] Line of classic Minis at the British Motorcar Festival in Bristol.
Photo by Iain Barker

Shipshape and Bristol Fashion
by Iain Barker

BRISTOL, R.I., June 8 — I was still recovering from a hectic but ultimately rewarding “British by the Sea” show in Waterford, Conn., the previous weekend, and was looking forward to a more relaxed road trip to the British Motorcar Festival in Bristol.

This was to be the second “overnight” car show this year for my daughter Nuala and me, but due to the busy social calendar of a seven-year-old these days, we would not be able to attend the opening Friday night parade. Instead, we drove down early on the Saturday, while temperatures were still cool enough not to trouble the engine of my 1967 Mini Cooper S.

The trip down was uneventful, save for the constant honks, thumbs-up and cellphone photos taken from modern cars on I-95, and we arrived in plenty of time to set up pitch in the classic Mini row.

Bristol has the same organizational team as the Stowe British Invasion, and follows that established order of ceremonies — including having a “royal” visitor chauffeured to her throne, and various British-themed events throughout the day including “British fashion” and “ladies’ hats” competitions.

Seven classic Minis were in attendance, with a good spread of the models represented: Morris Super-Deluxe, Innocenti, Morris Cooper S, Austin Saloon, Austin Countryman, Morris Traveller with a VTEC engine, and a Morris 1/4-ton Commercial Van. Honorable mention goes to “Fuddy,” a solitary Morris Minor Series II.

Compared to Stowe, the Bristol show is small — about a quarter the size — but benefits from a more intimate ambiance. The location is also great for kids, with the seashore and a playground within easy sight of the show field. And bright weather all day helped the cars look their best.

After the show we retired to our hotel in Seekonk, with Sunday being mostly taken up by Nuala’s favorite activity of mini golf.

In all, it was a great little car show and one we will definitely revisit in future.

August 2019

[3-Aug_19_MG_J2.jpg] MG J2 with two young drivers. Ken Lemoine, show organizer, is there to coach them.
Photo by David Schwartz

Framingham MetroFest
by David Schwartz

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., June 15 — NEMO’s Ken Lemoine has organized a small classic car show at Framingham’s MetroFest for the past six years. MetroFest offers a bit of everything, with 20 food trucks, music and dance performances, kids’ activities, craft beer tasting and over 100 vendor booths. In previous years the car show was multi-marque with British cars, American muscle cars, European cars and even a truck from the early 1900s. This year the theme was all British, with cars supplied by members of NEMO and the Boston Area MG Club (BAMG). Many owners belong to both clubs.

Wendy Birchmire drove her oh-so-cute 1973 Union Jack Morris Mini, and was joined later by her husband Tom. Bob Brownell had a short drive from Shrewsbury in his 1963 Austin Mini. Bob’s wife and granddaughters arrived separately in a modern car (no seat belts in the Mini).

I finished re-installing the interior in my 1950 Morris Minor Tourer the night before Metrofest, and the car had its debut at the event. My wife Betty Lehrman and daughter Alison met me later in the day for lunch.

Ken Lemione brought his 1961 Jaguar XK150, one of the last five imported to the U.S. before Jaguar switched to the XKE. Ken’s daughter Alison and her children also joined us for lunch.

BAMG member Michael Crawford drove his 1933 MG J2 in from Uxbridge, Mass. Twenty-year-old James Nifong and other BAMG members brought their MGBs.

The LBCs were very popular with the public. An overly enthusiastic teenage girl sprinted toward an MGB and was about to vault over the door when I called out to her. Owners did allow people to sit in their cars, as long as they asked permission first!

One of my favorite photo-ops was two young brothers sitting in the cockpit of the MG J2 as Ken looked on.

While scoping out food truck menus I was excited to see a nicely restored Divco Milk Truck that had been converted to an ice cream truck. The owner was sitting in the driver’s seat and was quite surprised when I asked him the year of the Divco, as no one else knew what it was!

(I did, because in the late ’50s to early ’60s a milkman delivered dairy products to my house in a Divco truck.)

This particular Divco was a 1948 and the owner, Philip Rosenfield, invited me to climb aboard to look around. Rosenfield also owns the “Reasons to be Cheerful” home-made ice cream shops in Hudson and Concord, Mass. The truck is named “Chillwagon.” It attends local festivals and is available for private events.

Contact Ken ( if you are interested in participating next year. Or just come for lunch. Admission is free.

August 2019

[2-Aug_19_Mini_MINI.jpg] MINI and Mini on the Museum lawn.
Photos by David Schwartz

British Car Day at LAAM
by David Schwartz

BROOKLINE, Mass., June 23 — The weather was sunny and warm for the 2019 edition of British Car Day at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum. Overall turnout was good, with cars filling the upper lawn and two rows on the lower lawn. The Rolls-Royce and Bentley contingent parked across from the main museum entrance.

Given the record 60th anniversary turnout at British by the Sea, it was surprising there were only five classic Minis and three modern MINIs in attendance. I felt like a traitor driving my 1950 Morris Minor Tourer instead of my Mini. The Minor spent two years on jack stands in my garage while I sorted out sins of previous owners. My goal was to have it back on the road in time for British Car Day.

NEMO regulars Iain and Nuala Barker, Wendy Birchmire, and Alex Daly were in attendance. As was Ken Lemoine, who brought his recently acquired 1961 Jaguar XK150. Brett Lemoine drove Ken’s 1965 Mini Traveller, so he was well represented. Bill Psaledakis and his wife had the fifth classic Mini, a 1979 Austin in green with a checkered roof. Their car pulled in next to a green 2019 JCW MINI Cooper S with only 500 miles.

Most of the Minis were parked in the middle of the upper lawn. I brought my pop-up tent so NEMO members and friends could gather in the shade. When the wind picked up, Iain improvised tent stakes with screwdrivers from his tool kit.

I always search out unusual or rarely seen cars. There was a large Lotus turnout, including a Europa and three Elans, two convertibles and a coupe. The coupe was for sale. Then there was the rare 1948 Jaguar 3-1/2 Litre Drop Head Coupe. The car had a three-position top that can open over the driver while passengers remained in the shade. The look was decidedly prewar, like a chauffeur-driven Duesenberg.

A very original Jaguar XK120 Coupe sported a “Please Touch” sign on the windshield. Wow!

A 1970 Marcos GT powered by a Volvo B30 engine was parked on the lower field. The Marcos has a fiberglass body with a long bonnet that reminded me of a Jaguar E-type. A total of 150 were sold in the U.S. by Volvo dealers.

A Triumph TR7 owner with a sense of humor had affixed Ferrari badges to his car. Late in the show, a beautiful blue and white 1934 Riley roadster was driven onto the upper lawn by an owner clad in a winter hat. The car stayed for less than an hour and was never judged.

Ken Lemoine’s 1965 Mini Traveller won best in the Mini class, and Wendy Birchmire’s 1973 Union Jack Mini took home the People’s Choice Award.

July 2019

[1-Jul_19_DanStCroix.jpg] Dan St Croix and his resurrected Mini — good to see them both at BBTS.
Photo by David Schwartz

Mini’s 60th Anniversary at BBTS
by David Schwartz

WATERFORD, Conn., June 2 — To celebrate its 60th anniversary, the classic Mini was featured as “Marque of the Year” at the Connecticut MG Club’s 32nd annual British by the Sea (BBTS).

The day started out overcast, but around noon the sun broke through the clouds. Harkness Memorial State Park, the site of the gathering, is a beautiful venue, and all show cars park on a large lawn with a view of Long Island Sound. There were 320 fantastic British vehicles at the show this year!

For the past few months I have been writing about BBTS in NEMO Newsbeat and posting event reminders on social media. Clearly, Mini and MINI owners got the message. We had a great turnout with 23 classics and 13 modern MINIs. The CT MG Club said it was the most “Marque of the Year” cars that have ever shown up at BBTS! Several members even brought one of each, while others brought two classics!

The official show start time was 10 a.m., but Minis continued to trickle in until after 11, so the parkers started a second row.

There were four NEMO member classic Minis I had never seen before. Dave and Fran Brown brought a ’66 Moke and ’67 Van, both of which were in pristine condition. Paul Smith brought a ’70 Innocenti Mini that he had rescued from under a tarp, as well as a ’67 Austin Van. The Van was a left-hand drive export model for Finland, equipped with a factory engine block heater and fresh air cabin heater in the engine compartment.

Other NEMO members got their cars back on the road just in time for BBTS.

Dan St Croix’s ’71 Morris Mini had been parked for five years. After a trailer ride to Dave Black’s Mini Barn, Dan’s car made the drive to Waterford. Dan looked particularly natty in his white coveralls with red trim. His windshield sign listed “cute single driver” as a feature, and I have to agree.

Greg Mazza’s ’67 Cooper S also made the trip, after finally drying out from the hurricane that hit British Legends Weekend on Cape Cod in 2016.

Lorine and Derick Karabec trailered their gorgeous ’67 Wolseley Hornet (a “booted” Mini variant) up from Ulster Park, N.Y. It is always a treat to see their Hornet, as these cars were not imported to the U.S. Dianne Izzo couldn’t make it to BBTS, but she sent her ’73 Austin Mini with family friends.

Iain and Nuala Barker’s ’67 Cooper S has been a regular at many events. This year Iain also brought a Churchill Hydrolastic pump he restored, as well as an original BMC tool roll.

Wendy Birchmire brought her popular Union Jack ’73 Morris Mini 1000 and Paul Berton flat-towed his ’67 Austin Cooper S down from Salem, Mass.

Bob Brownell made a 2 1/2-hour scenic drive on back roads from Shrewsbury, Mass., through eastern Connecticut. This was a comfortable 40-50mph drive for his ’63 Austin Mini’s 850cc engine. At 85 miles each way, it was the longest drive in his five years of ownership. To be safe, Bob carried tools and spare parts, while his wife Kathy followed in a modern car.

Dave Black drove down in his ’79 Mini 1000, as did Mark Fodor in his ‘59/’60 Austin Mini. Betty and I had an uneventful drive from Framingham, Mass., in my ’68 Morris Mini Traveller. Given the blown head gasket last year, I kept the speed down on the highway.

Barbara Newman drove “Buffy,” her ’60 Morris Mini, while Dave Newman drove their 2013 MINI Cooper Club Van woodie wagon. I have it on good authority that Dave’s modern MINI had trouble keeping up with Barbara’s 850cc classic. Buffy wore a variety of 60th birthday decorations at the show.

Dave Icaza brought his ’69 “Surfer Dude” Austin Countryman, and Jean Icaza parked her 2002 MINI Cooper on the show field.

Yes, NEMO was well represented in both classes.

July 2019

[2-Jul_19_Barkers.jpg] Best in Show Featured Marque, Best in Class — Nuala and Iain Barker’s 1967 Morris Cooper S.
Photo by David Schwartz

Non-member classics included a ’98 Mini that climbed Mount Washington and sported a “MINIs on Top” decal, a VTEC estate and a VTEC saloon, and a restoration in progress displayed on a flatbed trailer. The show announcer kept referring to the restoration project as half a Mini whenever additional classics arrived on the field and he gave the count!

Antonio Sapata has been active in the modern MINI scene for some time. He brought a recently acquired an ’81 Mini and is busy fitting it with Mk1 features, though he won’t swap out the wind-up windows.

Roger Bartlett’s 2008 “Minions MINI” was a crowd favorite and won 1st in the New MINI class. The car is yellow with green stripes, wheels and accents, and is covered with “Minions” from the Despicable Me movies.

There were several signs stating “Life is too short to drive a boring car.” Dave Oliveira displayed two MINIs on the show field, the GABB racing MINI and his daily driver. A MINI Clubman had a pop-up tent mounted on the roof. The owner said he has taken the car on camping trips and the tent sleeps two.

I am always on the lookout for oddball vehicles, and one of the most unusual cars on the field was a 1960 Bugeye Sprite that had been converted to an electric drivetrain.

From a distance I knew something was different when I spotted thick orange cables under the open bonnet. The 80hp AC motor accelerates from 0 to 60mph in just 10 seconds (the original 948cc engine took 20.5 seconds). The batteries are in the boot, which gives a 50/50 weight distribution, and the car is only 75 lbs. heavier than a 1275cc gas-powered version. The gearshift lever was replaced with a cup holder, and a battery charge gauge is mounted on the dash. Otherwise the interior is true to the original.

Several rarely-seen cars were present at the show. A 1953 Triumph Mayflower was registered in the Open Sedan class. The Mayflower is a very small saloon with upscale lines, as if a Bentley was scaled down by half.

Another Triumph, a 1948 2000 Roadster, was registered in the Open Sport class. The 2000 has “dickey” seats in the boot, just in front of the spare tire, which is mounted on the boot lid. There is a second windshield that folds up from the boot to protect the rear passengers.

When awards were handed out for the Classic Mini class, Iain and Nuala Barker’s 1967 Cooper S took 1st and Best in Show Featured Marque. Wendy Birchmire’s 1973 Morris Mini took 2nd, and Fran and Dave Brown took 3rd with their 1966 Austin Mini Moke. Congratulations to all.

Hopefully, the Mini 60th anniversary celebration will continue throughout the New England car show season.

July 2019

[3-Jul_19_Cable.jpg] Melted clamp. The outcome could have been much worse.
Photo by Iain Barker

Fire in the Hole!
by Iain Barker

A cautionary tale for those who do their own electrical maintenance. When replacing a car battery, make sure it is of the correct physical size and there is plenty of clearance before reconnecting the terminals.

A friend with an Mk1 Mini installed a new battery that had the same amps rating as the old one, but was wider, longer and shorter than the original. The reduced height caused the positive terminal to arc onto the metal floor when driving, and ultimately several hundred amps of current melted the old-style lead negative terminal clamp.

Fortunately, the issue was caught in time. Replacing the cables and using correctly spaced terminal clamps fixed the problem. It is best to try and maintain at least an inch of clearance around any non-insulated connector, or to use modern terminal clamps that have a plastic insulating shroud.

June 2019

[1-Jun_19_Twini_Mini.jpg] The Museum’s ‘Twini Mini’ replica. There’s an engine in front, too.
Photo by David Schwartz

Trip Report: Lane Motor Museum
by David Schwartz

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Jeff Lane established the Lane Motor Museum in 2002, donating a personal collection of 70 vehicles. Now there are over 580 vehicles in the collection, and the Museum, located in a former Sunbeam bakery, has a 40,000 sq. ft. main floor, enough to display approximately 150 cars. Additional vehicles are stored in an attached parking garage and in the lower level known as “The Vault.”

The Museum rotates its collection on a regular basis and runs several special exhibits a year. Vault tours are held on most Saturdays and Sundays and are highly recommended!

Budget an entire day to visit the Museum. Serious fans of unusual cars will have no problem filling that much time. They have a large microcar collection, one-of-a-kind vehicles, and “uniquely different” cars. The Museum slogan is “Unique Cars from A to Z,” and that is an understatement.

The car that started Jeff Lane on the path to collecting was a 1955 MG TF 1500, a Christmas present from his father when he was 12 years old. The MG arrived as a body shell, frame, engine and pile of parts. Jeff spent four years restoring the car and took his driver’s test in it. The TF has a prominent place on the main floor and is surrounded by other British cars.

Unusual Minis

The Museum owns about 40 British cars, including classic Minis wearing Austin, Morris and Innocenti badges. Custom and unusual Minis include a 1965 Austin Twini Mini replica, a 1976 Austin Reptune Mini GT Gullwing, a 1969 Austin Mini Convertible, a Chilean-built, fiberglass bodied 1969 Austin Mini, a 1960 Austin “Shorty” Mini 850, a 2/3rd-scale Morris Mini convertible, and a 1975 Morris Mini GT5 racecar. The Chilean Mini body shell was developed by Peel Engineering.

In 1962, BMC built an experimental Mini Moke with two engines to help its off-road capabilities. This inspired John Cooper to build a “Twini Mini” saloon with a second engine in the rear, for use as a rally car. While testing the Cooper Twini, a mechanical failure resulted in a rollover and John Cooper was seriously injured.

Downton Engineering also built a Twini and BMC may have built several. Research done by the Museum did not reveal any original Twini examples, so the only option was to recreate one. Work on the Lane’s Twini replica started in 2007. A cutaway drawing and photographs helped get the details correct. The car has a set of Smiths gauges for each engine and two gearshift levers linked together by a cross bar. The accelerator works both throttles and one pedal works both clutches.

June 2019

[2-Jun_19_Austin_Mini_Reptune.jpg] Mini Reptune kit car (from 1976).
Photo by David Schwartz

The Reptune Mini kit car is a fiberglass gullwing body designed to drop on a standard Mini, once the doors, roof, bumpers and lights have been removed. The kit was built in Ontario, Canada, and originally came with smoked acrylic gullwing doors. (The doors were not present on the Museum’s example.)

The 2/3rd-scale Mini was displayed next to a scaled-down Messerschmitt KR200. According to the museum website, the scaled down Mini was “built from body parts taken from a 1975 Mini, skillfully shrunken to approximately 2/3 the size of a real Mini.” The car looks much smaller than 2/3rd scale. It’s about the size of a child’s battery powered ride-in car.

Micros and Minicars

Of course, the Lane owns several cars built by the Peel Engineering Company, including a replica of the 1964 Peel P50. The P50 is known as the world’s smallest-ever passenger car. It is a three-wheeler, seats one person, has a 49cc engine with no reverse gear and weighs in at 250 pounds. Many readers have seen the episode of Top Gear where Jeremy Clarkson drove a P50 into the BBC Television Centre, in and out of elevators and down corridors, sitting in the car throughout his journey.

Somewhat taller than the P50 is the 1948 Lamar, described as the world’s narrowest car. At 2 ft., 4 in. wide, the Lamar was designed to fit through a standard British garden gate. The P50 is over 1 ft. wider. The Lamar’s target market was urban women shoppers. The car looks like it belongs on a children’s playground and sales were very limited.

The 1962 Sabra Sport Four was Israel’s first attempt at a sports car and is a marque that few are likely to be familiar with. Israel lacked a domestic auto industry at that time, so components were provided by 27 different British vendors, including Reliant, manufacturer of the tippy three-wheel Robin. The Sabra looks like a cross between an Alfa Romeo Spider and several different British roadsters.

June 2019

[3-Jun_19_1932_Helicron.jpg] Propeller-driven and steered by its rear wheels, the 1932 Helicron.
Photo by David Schwartz

The Museum owns several French-built propeller-driven cars, including a 1932 Helicron. It is unclear why anyone thought mounting a propeller on the front of a car was a good idea, and only one Helicron was produced. The Helicron steers using its rear wheels, and there is a video on the Museum website showing it being driven.

Numerous one-off prototype cars were displayed on the main floor. Streamliners included a replica of the 1933 Dymaxion, designed by Buckminster Fuller, and the oval-shaped 1946 Hewson Rocket, plus three teardrop-shaped cars designed by James Martin: a 1928 Martin Aerodynamic, a 1932 Martin Martinette, and a 1950 Martin Stationette, which featured wooden monocoque construction (you have to admire Martin’s perseverance).

Another odd one, the 1967 Gyro-X two-wheeled, gyroscopically-stabilized vehicle, was reported to reach speeds of 125mph using an 80hp Mini Cooper S engine.

As a microcar fan, I was familiar with the Zundapp Janus 250 from pictures in books and magazines, but had never seen one in person. Fortunately, the Museum owns a nice example from 1957. The Zundapp is like a two-headed BMW Isetta, in that it has a refrigerator-style door at each end. The car is symmetrical when viewed from the side. Passengers enter through the rear door and can face either front or rear. The engine is mounted between the two rows of seats, which can be folded down to provide a double bed for camping.

The Museum website ( provides details on the cars in this article, a complete list of the collection, and videos of unusual cars being driven. Click on the “Events” dropdown for Vault Tour information, and the annual “Rally for the Lane,” a fundraising event where you get to drive cars from the collection on a full day rally.

To see more photos of my trip, go to the NEMO website’s Gallery under “Events.” And for a chance to see and ride in some unique cars in the greater Boston area, don’t miss Gould’s Microcar and Minicar Classic, July 12-14 in Newton, Mass. Visit for more information.

June 2019

[4-Jun_19_1950_Martin_Stationette.jpg] An even smaller Woodie than David’s Traveller, the Martin Stationette from 1950.
Photo by David Schwartz

May 2019

[1-May_19_Lemoine_Gallagher.jpg] Getting down to business...
Photo by David Schwartz

NEMO Annual Meeting Report
by David Schwartz

WESTBOROUGH, Mass., Mar. 31 — This year we held the NEMO Annual Meeting at Owen O’Leary’s Restaurant, a brew pub with two locations in eastern Massachusetts. They feature an Irish pub menu and a good beer selection. We reserved the lounge, a semi-private room that opens onto the bar. We had a great turnout, with 25 adults and one child in attendance. The meeting started with a social hour followed by an à la carte lunch.

In the last issue I reported that Charles Laughton worked for BMC. Charles saved a variety of Austin marketing brochures from 1956 and 1957 that he shared with us before lunch. Charles also brought an 8x10 movie star-worthy photo with him at the wheel of the top-down 1957 Austin-Healey 100-6 he once owned.

Every year we hold a free raffle of Mini or classic car-related items donated by members. Faith Lamprey handed out raffle tickets as people arrived.

There was a special drawing for the soon-to-be-released book, Mini 60 Years, by Giles Chapman. Dave and Barbara Newman won the book and Faith provided a sign-up sheet for members to purchase copies at a discount. The regular raffle prizes included a yellow Hrach Moke T-shirt, stacks of magazines, books and toys, etc.

After the raffle we moved on to the business meeting. Dave Black provided the financial report. The NEMO bank balance is healthy, with the Holiday Party being our major expense, followed by British Marque subscriptions.

Dave also provided an update on the Hrach Fund account, which is in honor of founding member Hrach Chekijian. Ken Lemoine started the Fund in 2015. Its charter is to help young people get involved in the British car hobby. Thus far the Hrach Fund donated a new convertible top for 17-year-old James Nifong’s MGB. John Gallagher, who won the Hrach shirt in the raffle, auctioned it off to raise money for the Fund. Ken was the high bidder. Please contact Ken at if you would like to suggest a worthwhile project or recipient.

Lorine Karabec led a discussion on East Meets West Mini Meet 2019, June 24-28 in Snowmass, Colorado. There was a post in the NEMO Google Group about hiring a car transport company to drive six to eight classic Minis from New England to Colorado and back. Given the short New England driving season, though, members did not want to be without their cars for an extended period of time. It appears there will be little if any NEMO presence at East Meets West Mini Meet 2019.

Faith proposed adding a PayPal option to the website for membership renewals and new members. NEMO may still have a PayPal account from when the club last sponsored Mini Meet East. Stay tuned for additional information.

Yours truly provided an update on the NEMO Facebook page, which currently has 832 follows and 789 likes. Last year Iain Barker created an associated NEMO Marketplace group where members can buy and sell cars and parts, or post wanted ads. This is a closed group, which means members must be approved. To date, we have approved all membership requests. The group has been fairly active and has 259 members.

May 2019

[2-May_19_Karabecs.jpg] ...with a few laughs thrown in.
Photo by David Schwartz

I then led a discussion on the Connecticut MG Club’s 32nd Annual “British by the Sea,” which takes place on June 2nd in Waterford, Conn. (details and registration forms at Classic Mini is the featured marque in honor of its 60th anniversary. Classic Minis will be parked at the front of the show field with modern MINIs two rows back, and we want to have a record turnout of cars. Please invite all your Mini/MINI friends. The British Marque vendor booth will be up front with the Minis, and we are bringing a pop-up tent so club members will have a shady spot to gather.

We invited Zach Barbera to bring his historically significant 1963 Works Mini to BBTS (see Iain Barker’s article in the March 2019 issue). Zach is interested, but will need to have his car trailered from northeastern Mass to Waterford. John Gallagher may be able to provide an enclosed trailer, but we also need a tow vehicle. Please contact me (David Schwartz) at (508) 561-3462 if you have a trailer and/or tow vehicle and the expertise to be able to help.

Bruce Vild gave an update on the British Motorcar Festival, June 7-8 in Bristol, R.I. This event is organized by the same people who run the British Invasion in Stowe, Vt. The format is very similar to Stowe and the Festival is much closer to home for many NEMO members. The show venue is Colt State Park, which overlooks Narragansett Bay.

NEMO member Chris Izzo, a major force in British Motorcars of New England (BMCNE), invited NEMO to attend their events. Chris provided an overview of numerous shows and tours that have been added to the NEMO calendar.

Last but not least, Bruce moderated a discussion on Minis and Mini Variants. This discussion had been going on for months via e-mail and in the NEMO Google Group, with the intention of resolving the issue well before Stowe, where the question came up last year and led to one entrant’s protest after class awards were announced.

Members were happy with the food, drinks and service at Owen O’Leary’s Restaurant, though the space was noisy so that it was difficult to hear some soft-spoken members during the business meeting. For 2020 we would like to find a pub with a fully enclosed function room suitable for 30 people.

May 2019

[3-May_19_Honey_I_Shrunk.jpg] Compared to the other cars, David’s Mini Traveller looks like it could inspire a new movie — Honey, I Shrunk the Woodie Wagon!
Photo by David Schwartz

Mini Among the Woodies
by David Schwartz

Last September, my wife Betty and I drove our 1968 Morris Mini Traveller to the Woodie Car Show in Wareham, Mass.

The show sponsor was the Yankee Wood Chapter of the National Woodie Club. The event was held on the grounds of the A. D. Makepeace Company, one of the oldest cranberry growers in the country. A great bluegrass band played for much of the day and excellent barbecue was available for lunch.

My car was the first Mini-based woodie to attend this event. It was dwarfed by the huge American woodie wagons, sedans and convertibles. Many cars were true works of art, sporting panels of ash with mahogany trim, all varnished to a gleaming mirror finish.

The oldest car was a 1924 Ford Model T Depot Hack, and the newest was a ’70s-vintage station wagon with vinyl wood-grain siding. There were several preserved original cars and even a modern surfer-dude hot rod patterned after a Model A.

The way-back in one station wagon was filled with period-correct picnic baskets and luggage. Another car had child-sized fabric dolls sitting in the third-row seats that the owner had made to amuse her grandchildren.

My car won a trophy for the longest distance driven. After the show, most woodies participated in a driving tour through cranberry bogs, forests and on a historic road. The tour ended at an ice cream stand.

Owners I spoke with had no idea Mini produced woodies, though they were familiar with the Morris Minor Traveller. Everyone was welcoming and excited to see us. The organizers invited us to attend the 2019 National Woodie Meet, August 8-12 in Ogunquit and Wells, Maine. I promised to reach out to NEMO members that own woodies.

If you can’t make the national event in Maine, the Yankee Wood Chapter will be holding a show on September 14th in Wareham, Mass.

Watch the NEMO calendar for links to the National Woodie Club website and Yankee Wood Chapter Facebook page.

May 2019

[4-May_19_Mini_Variant.jpg] We have all agreed: this is a Mini Variant.
Photo by Bruce Vild

So, What Are Mini Variants?
by David Schwartz

As mentioned in the Annual Meeting report, we have been holding an open forum with the goal of arriving at a clear definition of Mini classes in time for the 2019 British Invasion. (This pertains only to Minis, not MINIs.) The club reached a consensus that should avoid the registration confusion and controversies of previous years, and everyone, at least in NEMO, is on board. Michael Gaetano, the Invasion’s Event Organizer, is on board as well.

The classic Mini classes will be separated by year as in previous years, but the Variant class will have a clear, consistent definition. Cars will be segregated by body style rather than what’s under the hood, where they were made, whether they have surfboards on the roof, whatever.

In other words, anything that’s not a saloon will be placed in the Variant class, the hypothetical arrangement and description being as follows:

Class X: Mini Saloons, 1959-1969

Class Y: Mini Saloons, 1970-2000

Class Z: Mini Variants, 1959-2000 (Non-saloons, including Vans, Estates, Mokes, Pickups and Cabrios, plus Riley Elf and Wolseley Hornet).

For members unfamiliar with terms from the other side of the pond, a “saloon” is a sedan and an “estate” is a station wagon such as the Austin Countryman or Morris Mini Traveller. Included now in the saloon classes will be the “foreign” (i.e., non-UK produced) Minis, such as the Innocenti Mini, as long as they have the familiar Mini saloon body style.

Although the Riley Elf and Wolseley Hornet technically are saloons, they have a different body style from other Minis due to their extended trunks and therefore will be grouped with the Variants.

Mike Gaetano has agreed to replace the 2018 class listings “Austin & Morris Mini, 1959-1969” and “Austin, Morris & Rover Mini, 1970-2000” with “Mini Saloons, 1959-1969” and “Mini Saloons, 1970-2000.” This will include the non-UK produced Minis other than Austin, Morris or Rover (for example, Leyland Minis), formerly classed with the Variants simply because they were non-UK models with subtle differences from their British cousins. The British Invasion class list will also include the note describing Variants.

The definition of “Variant” is sometimes called into question. Based on research done by members of NEMO, body style is the one thing that people can agree on, as we did at our Annual Meeting. We think these definitions will help car owners identify where their vehicles should be placed on the show field at Stowe, and may be useful for class registration at other multi-marque meets as well.


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