You asked for it...so for the first time here, for anyone who is remotely interested?..is the real NIMROD
Your Website name sums it all up! - 'Mad
aboutkitcars' ...You have to be barking mad to have anything to do with one!
Designing the Nimrod came about for two reasons;
1, Because I was asked, "'ere Juppy! Can you design a Beach-Buggy type car?
2, I was so p***ed off with every car I had ever owned crumbling to rust, that the idea of a new, rust free car was very appealing.
As far as influences are concerned (as in design... not 'under the
I'd always been fascinated at how far advanced the WWII German military had been..from aircraft down to scout cars.
I knew about the ubiquitous VW Kubelwagen (below)
but was amazed when I first saw the amphibious version, the VW 'Schwimmwagen'
It was that amphibious vehicle that really influenced my design, I created the 'Ski-jump' back to be able to fit an outboard motor, and the recessed edge to take a flotation collar. None of that happened through lack of loot...but the flip-up back was a great piece of serendipity as it acts as a spoiler, and the recessed edge acts as one large mudguard! The rear mudflaps were meant to add to the impression of wide 'Beach-buggy' tyres. My car has Dunlop 165/70 R10's.
One last thing that didn't happen through lack of loot!..The roof was supposed to go to the back, to give the profile an 'L' configuration instead of the 'T' shaped profile it finished up with. The only way that could have been achieved was with an aluminium extrusion!
VERY expensive!.... VERY didn't happen!
The two Del-Boys that had asked me to 'design' a vehicle (i.e. draw a pretty picture of a car, as opposed to technical DESIGN)..thought it would only take 6 months from conception to sales!
They found a local company to make the chassis and someone (RAY JAY) to construct the moulds. Ray got stuck into the project using his own money and time. When the 6 months was up and there was only a semi-finished chassis to show for it, Plank and Plonker skiddadled leaving Ray in the lurch!
I was only just out of Art College and had about as much money then as I have now 36 years later! i.e. ****-all!
Somehow I managed to scrape enough together to pay Ray for one Nimrod, then my mate the actor Nelson Ward said he'd have one..so Ray kept on with the project.
Have you ever noticed that an extinct Ichthyosaur looks very much like a dolphin? No? Well it does! Both body shapes evolved to fit their environments.
The reason I say this is because several Mini-based 'Buggies/things' started to creep onto the roads from the late 1960's onwards..and some of them looked very similar!
I was amazed (and suspicious!) when I first saw the great BARRY STIMSON'S
The truth is that Barry's car made out onto the street BEFORE Ray's prototype! I had never seen Barry's car, but I suppose there's only so much you can do styling a 'buggy' with no doors around a mini sub-frame?
(Below) Ray Jay's Prototype 997/8 c.c. cooper engine, Nimrod minus rollbar moulding. C. 1971
For nearly 2 years, every Saturday morning, I drove from Bognor to Ray's parents farmhouse at Birdham. Progress was painfully slow as Ray had to earn his money with other work. I still remember the magic moment of seeing the first complete body shell attached to the chassis. It's a strange feeling to actually be able to touch a figment of your own imagination!
Here's a grainy photo I took of it outside Ray's workshop..bithplace of the Nimrods. My own car's bodyshell can just be seen inside the shed.
Ray and I got publicity for the Nimrod from several car mags of the time, Hot-Car, Custom Car, Car and Car Conversions etc. All were impressed with its handling! (some not so sure about my design?)
However, Ray and I still say there's NOTHING that can go around corners as quick as that mother!!!
It appears that we had the worlds first side-impact bars as the 1" box-frame chassis is a wrap-around that comes above the level of the driver's waist! The roll-over bar is a one piece, shaped scaffold tube that has it's roots imbedded in the chassis at floor pan level.
The floor itself is Marine Plywood. The bodyshell and parts lay-up are REALLY SOLID, about quarter to half an inch thick in places!
Purely for the sake of aesthetics, I wanted square headlights, so Ray made the headlight mouldings to take the then available Hillman Hunter lights.
Hunter lights were also good for the back as they were flat
The loom was standard mini, but the fuel tank was from a Mini-van. A Mini-Van was also the donor of the rear 'Swinging arm' suspension.
The springs themselves came from a motor-bike (Ray was well into his moter bikes.. and I haven't a clue what sort of bike they came from?)
The roof was/is made of black vinyl with 4 transparent 'windows'. It unzips to be rolled and fastened on the top of the 'T-Bar' The original roofs were supplied from our specifications by the then 'CAR HOOD COMPANY' of Hailsham,East Sussex. They still exist, under another name..and STILL have the Nimrod templates! They will shortly have a customer in me, as my car's roof has been ****ed for years!
Anyway, I took delivery of my shiny white Nimrod in 1972 and used it as my car for the next 26 years. Garaged in 1998 (being a Dad costs money!)..it was reborn last year!
Incidentally, its longest journey was in 1974 when me and my buddy Graham drove to Dracula's Castles in Wallachia and Transylvania (as you do!)
You have to look at the cars of the era, especially ones behind the Iron Curtain, to realise what an impact the Nimrod had!
At one point when we parked up in Tirgoviste, the car was mobbed by a crowd of several hundred natives! It took us bloody hours to get back into it...and half my 'Custom Car
' vinyl stickers were nicked! (The other half disappeared one night when we were asleep in the thing!)
It's a hell of a long way to Romania and back for a mini powered Nimrod and trailer..but it did it with no problems!
I drove off into the world of advertising and TV. Moved to London, Holland, Germany, South Korea and finally to Northern California to make my own Cartoon TV series.
Ray, being the superb craftsman, became Product Manager for Fairline Boats at Chichester Marina...and is now Head of a prestige boatyard at Birdham Pool.
I'm still as poor as a cathedral rodent but......
If enough people buy my Jigsaw Puzzles?..
...I should have my car looking good for some car shows later in the year.
(below) Mine at night!..about 2 months ago.
However!..as any mad Kit-Car owner knows!...
'The road to Hell is paved with good intention