Mys­te­ri­ous Mini-based racer dis­cov­ered in Por­tu­gal set for restora­tion.

Mini Magazine - - Contents -

The lat­est sto­ries from the world of Minis, in­clud­ing a rare Mini Mar­cos dis­cov­ery.

Some 41 years af­ter it went miss­ing, the Mini Mar­cos that par­tic­i­pated in the 1966 Le Mans 24 Hour race has been found by Jeroen Booij, au­thor of the Max­i­mum Mini se­ries of books about Mini-based cars.

The diminu­tive 1289cc Cooper S-pow­ered GT came 15th over­all at the leg­endary French en­durance race, behind an ar­ray of Ford GT40s, Porsche 906s and Fer­rari 275GTBs. It was the only Bri­tish car to fin­ish that year and no doubt the crowd favourite, nick­named ‘La Puce Bleue’ (The Blue Flee). It is some­times re­garded as Le Mans’ most heroic en­try. Due to its dis­ap­pear­ance in 1975, the car has been cloaked in mys­tery, with sev­eral peo­ple search­ing for it ever since.

Booij re­ceived a tip-off from Por­tu­gal ear­lier this year and de­cided to in­ves­ti­gate fur­ther, with his ef­forts even­tu­ally lead­ing him to the car – or what was left of it. Just about all of the Mar­cos’ me­chan­i­cals have dis­ap­peared, but the shell still has ev­i­dence of its orig­i­nal blue and yel­low paint scheme and the painted white roundels un­der sev­eral more lay­ers of paint. All the sig­na­ture mark­ings and holes are still there, too, in­clud­ing the flared arches, holes for aux­il­iary lights and the big 80-litre fuel tank that was specially made for the car.

De­spite be­ing over 50 years old, the body is in re­mark­ably good and orig­i­nal con­di­tion. Booij is plan­ning a full restora­tion in or­der to bring it back to its orig­i­nal Le Mans spec – watch this space for more up­dates.

Ev­i­dence of the Mar­cos’ orig­i­nal Le Mans colour scheme can still be seen.

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