First things first. Yes, progress on the car is sloooooooow!
Paul Hickey and I are working on this car in our spare time and, recently, our spare time has been incredibly limited. However, we are committed to getting the car out on track this year…even if it kills us!
We will have updates on the car very soon but, in the meantime, we have been contacted by someone who has helped to fill in a lot of blanks for us on the original car.
That someone is Guy Konz from Luxembourg who bought the car from Tom in 1981!
Learning Number 1: The car went to Luxembourg, not Germany as previously thought.
“In 1976 I started my racing career with a Mini 1000 Group 2 fitted with a Richard Longman engine. The car was very successful on hill climbs and slaloms, but ran out of homologation at the end of 1980. As I wanted to continue with a Mini, the only car that was still homologated was the 1275 GT. I called Richard Longman at the end of 1980 as he had two cars for sale, his own the blue one and Tom Pitcher’s car. I decided to go for for Tom’s car as it had a new shell.”
Learning Number 2: A new shell was used for the build which explains something else that came to light in Guy’s email.
So, with the decision made, Guy and his father set off from Luxembourg to collect the car in Bournemouth in January 1981. They stayed the night at Tom’s house, but Guy didn’t sleep a wink.
“I remember it quite well, I didn’t close an eye during the whole night.
Early in the morning we drove to Richard Longman’s garage and, even 38 years later, I remember quite well when I first saw the car.
It was stunning. A new car, built to a very high professional standard. Perfect even in the smallest detail. The dyno showed some 92 HP at the wheels, not too bad for a Group 1 car.”
Learning Number 3: The stories we heard about the car being immaculately prepared are confirmed!
With the car home, Guy set about making it his own by fitting a new bucket seat, harness, larger battery, and his own sponsor decals. He kept the rest of car the same, however.
“The first hill climb early March was in Fleron in Belgium. Compared to the 1000cc Cooper, Tom’s car was about 1 second per mile faster.
2 weeks later was the first slalom in Luxembourg. The car didn’t start due failure if the electronic ignition. Richard sent a new one and the car was fine again.
During the whole season the car was very reliable and successful in Luxembourg and Belgium. The best result was the 4 km long hill climb in All sur Semois (Belgium) where I won the group N class, leaving a lot of more powerful cars behind.
Another event I remember was a track race at the Nurburgring where the car was really in it’s element. It was built for the track.”
Learning Number 4: The car had a ’71/’72 plate so, presumably, was originally based on a Mk3 shell. Is this why there were Mk2/Mk3 lights fitted?
At the end of the 1981 season, Guy returned the car to Richard Longman to have the engine overhauled for the 1982 season. The car was still very competitive and Guy enjoyed further success.
“At the end of 1982, I sold the car to Marc Dozot in Belgium – a very successful Mini driver, and the story ends here.”
Learning Number 5: The car moved on to Belgium. But what happened next?
We are incredibly grateful to Guy for contacting us and sharing his story and photos. Guy still enjoys playing around with English cars and brings his MGB GT V8 out on track often. You can watch some of his videos here: https://www.youtube.com/user/guykonz
As for the replica we’re building? Hopefully we’ll have a big update for you soon so watch this space!