Archive for September, 2011

The converters : Wood & Pickett

The converters : Wood & Pickett

Having served their apprenticeship with Britain’s finest coachbuilding company, Messrs Wood and Pickett were well-placed to cater to the demanding customers who ordered cars from them decades later… A potted history IN 1947, Bill Wood and Les Pickett left their jobs at London’s top-notch coachbuilders Hooper to start their own bodyshop nearby in the same […]

By September 25, 2011 2 Comments Read More →
Rover Prestige

Rover Prestige

Borrowing its name from the Citroën CX, the Rover Prestige was Wood & Pickett’s luxury version of the SD1… WITH Minis and Range Rovers already under their belt, Wood & Pickett next added the Rover SD1 to their range of conversions. In the now-familiar W&P tradition, customers would start by choosing their base model (usually […]

By September 25, 2011 16 Comments Read More →

The converters : William Towns

William Towns is probably most closely associated with Aston Martin, having been responsible for the design of such cars as the svelte DBS and the futuristic Lagonda. However, as early as 1969, Towns had become involved with British Leyland when he designed one of the so-called Triumph Puma proposals for project that would eventually deliver […]

By September 25, 2011 0 Comments Read More →
Railton Fairmile and Claremont

Railton Fairmile and Claremont

The Railton marque, first seen in Britain in the 1930s, was revived in 1989 with a pair of Towns-designed tourers based on the XJ-S convertible. THE new Railton Motor Company, based at Wixford in Warwickshire, was formed in 1989 with the aim of recapturing some of the glamour of the original Anglo-American coachbuilt Railtons, which […]

By September 25, 2011 6 Comments Read More →

TXC Tracer

This Metro-based, mid-engined roadster brought the concept behind the MGF to fruition some ten years earlier… IF you think the Tracer has a familiar look to it, there could be several reasons for that. First of all, William Towns clearly drew inspriation from his rather more exotic 1980 creation for Aston Martin, the Bulldog, with […]

By September 25, 2011 0 Comments Read More →

Towns Hustler

The Hustler: not so much a car, more a way of life… THE Hustler started out as a simple yet striking modular concept devised by William Towns in July 1978 to demonstrate that such a car could be viable for low-volume production. When the first prototype emerged in the Autumn of that year, it was […]

By September 25, 2011 11 Comments Read More →
Concepts : Towns Microdot

Concepts : Towns Microdot

Towns had high hopes for the Microdot, but they would eventually come to nothing… THE Microdot made its debut at the London Motor Show in 1976, where it couldn’t help but attract attention due to its tyically neat, glassy styling – and its bright lime-green paintwork. However, its green credentials were more than skin-deep, as […]

By September 25, 2011 0 Comments Read More →

Guyson E12

Dating from 1974, this archetypal Towns design was essentially a reclothed E-type… ONE stormy night in 1972, hill-climb champion Jim Thomson – who was also managing director of shot-blasting equipment manufacturer Guyson International – lost control of his Series III E-Type Jaguar on a country road near Wetherby in Yorkshire. Most people would have surveyed […]

By September 25, 2011 2 Comments Read More →
Concepts : Mini-based Towns Minissima

Concepts : Mini-based Towns Minissima

At the 1973 Earls Court Motor Show, BLMC expected the new Allegro to be the centre of attention on the Austin-Morris stand. Instead, it was another car that stole the limelight… SHORTLY before the 1973 motor show, BLMC gained permission to add to their stand a curious but radical small car, created by the futurist […]

By September 25, 2011 8 Comments Read More →

The converters : Thomas Startin/S MacNeillie & Son

The Birmingham firm of Thomas Startin Ltd is probably best-remembered as a long-standing Austin (and later Rover) dealership, but the company also had a mainly-commercial coachbuilding arm. Originally established in 1840, the coachbuilder’s associations with Austin were formed in the 1920s when they won the contract to build the Austin Seven van. By the 1970s, […]

By September 25, 2011 3 Comments Read More →

MacNeillie Rover 75s

The long and the short of how the 75 was stretched… MacNeillie Regency In 1999, the 800-based Regency gave way to a new version based on the Rover 75, again available in 6-door form and aimed primarily at the funeral trade, although it could also be ordered with full armour-plating and bomb-resistance for the protection […]

By September 25, 2011 3 Comments Read More →

Startins/MacNeillie Regency

Startins borrowed a suitably gracious-sounding name from the Daimler marque for their stretched 800… THE Startins Regency was the first Rover-based limousine conversion to be aimed primarily (though not exclusively) at the funeral trade. Some three feet longer than the 827Si on which it was based, it offered seating for seven passengers, with traditional folding […]

By September 25, 2011 0 Comments Read More →

The converters : Rapport International

Rapport International was founded by Ian Leaf, a graduate of Ealing Business School. Ian ran a very successful trading business and eventually purchased the goodwill of Chris Humberstone design, employed Chris and successfully sold specialist cars for several years to many high profile clients. The company’s move to Park Lane Mayfair was ill-advised, resulting in […]

By September 25, 2011 0 Comments Read More →

Rapport Ritz

Although it’s not based on an Austin Rover product, we love the Rapport Ritz, and think it makes a fascinating comparison with the equally desirable (and Honda-derived) Avon Triumph Acclaim. In accordance of luxury plans… Rapport continued in the footsteps of the Panther Rio and Avon Triumph Acclaim by taking a bread-and-butter saloon, revising the […]

By September 25, 2011 1 Comments Read More →

The converters : Radford

Radford came late to the coachbuilding industry, and despite undertaking a wide variety of work, the name – like that of rival Wood & Pickett – would become indelibly linked with luxury Minis. DECLAN BERRIDGE tells the story of a name that was always synonymous with craftsmanship and quality – as well as swinging Minis… […]

By September 25, 2011 0 Comments Read More →

The converters : Panther Westwinds

The origins of Panther date back to 1971, when Robert Jankel decided that he wanted leave the fashion industry and follow his dream of becoming a creator of exclusive cars. Panther’s products were truly a remarkable group of cars created by a remarkable man: Robert Jankel, designer and businessman. Jankel worked in the tuning trade […]

By September 25, 2011 0 Comments Read More →

The Harrods XJ6

Two cats for the price of, well, two… THE above picture gives little clue as to why, at £35,000 in 1983, this rather special Jaguar should have cost well over twice the list price of the standard 4.2-litre XJ6 on which it was based. Indeed, the most noticeable external modification was a very 1980s, boomerang-style […]

By September 25, 2011 1 Comments Read More →

Panther Lazer

A one-off commission that suffered from project drift, was rejected by its intended recipient, and ended up in the hands of a 14-year-old… WELL, it must have seemed like a good idea at the time: the Canadian Panther importer wanted Robert Jankel to build a unique car as a surprise present for his wife. The […]

By September 25, 2011 0 Comments Read More →

Panther J72

The J72 was a modern re-make of the SS100 based on Jaguar componentry, done in Bob Jankel’s own inimitable style…

By September 25, 2011 1 Comments Read More →

The converters : Lynx Engineering

With their workshops in St Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex, and a showroom in the Lexham Mews, Kensington, Lynx Engineering catered for the requirements of Jaguar-lovers who wanted something a bit special. Founded in 1968 by Guy Black (former Chief Production Engineer of Weslake Engineering) to cater for the needs of owners of pre- and post-war sports racing […]

By September 25, 2011 0 Comments Read More →