BMP 982 – an early 65

David Hawker contacted the archive about an article for publication on his 1964 trip with a Nippy to Nice – via various Alps. He sent one picture, which started balls rolling…

John Raeburn also made contact – he had found a car BMP 982 in a garage in Welwyn Garden City in 1968 – the same!

I bought BMP from a garage just outside Woolmer Green, where it had been abandoned by the previous owner, and it became my sole form of transport, up and until then I had a ’34 box saloon. The car was fairly original except for the engine which was a standard two bearing but with the Nippy gearbox. In 1969 I joined the VSCC, I was already a member of the 750 MC, and competed in trials and driving tests with some success. It was around about this time that the “750 formula” introduced the Reliant OHV engine to replace the seven engines, which prove to be good timing for me. Stan Goldthorp, who I had known for many years, was the then 750 formula champion, driving his car named WEV (Worms Eye View) Together we installed, the now redundant Austin engine, complete with the four-branch exhaust manifold, and twin SU’s, from WEV into BMP, and fitted the Morris Minor hydraulic brakes; together with a set of 15 inch wheels, BMP was transformed into a very sporty and fast car!

I competed at Silverstone, several times, Snetterton and Thruxton, and still have the trophies! I sold BMP in 1974 for £500 for the deposit on a house. Soon after I bought a Mini Estate not quite the same but much more practical!”

BMP was John’s only form of transport, and used to regularly enter race meetings and time trials with the VSCC and the 750 MC, in the days when all you had to do was enter, turn up, put your race numbers on the doors and present yourself to the scrutineers, then at the end of the day, take of the numbers, and drive home. As John says – Nostalgia is not what it used to be!

John (above) at VSCC meeting Silverstone in 1970 & 1971. He was living in Stevenage, Hertfordshire when he sold her in 1974 for £500 – a lot of money in those days, and for the deposit on a house!  “A chap answered my advert, arrived at my parents house, never spoke a word, handed me the cash, got in the car, drove off never to be seen, or heard of again!”

David Hearne’s dad John Hearne brought his first Austin 7 in 1975. At that time they lived in Bugbrooke, Northamptonshire. In early 1976 they moved to Sundon Park, Luton. It was here where his Dad started working on all sorts of classic, vintage and veteran cars in a workshop at the house. While living in Luton they purchased BMP, so Stevenage was very near. We would attend club meets and shows all over the country. He also had a 1929 Austin 16/6 Tickford and a 1904 Humber Forecar which he fully restored and they used on the London to Brighton.

John noted that the pub “The Chequers” was favourite haunt of the North Herts Centre, where they held Christmas parties. The main meeting venue was “The George” in Bucklersbury, Hitchin.

David immediately noticed the bonnet strap in the 1964 picture. He had one – but it is no longer the main fixing. The doors were altered because Nippy/65 backs always broke and this modification was meant to add rigidity to the body.  The boot also now hinges down and not up.

“The Brooklands screens are in a box at my Dad’s, at some point in the future I hope to be able to recover them!”

This picture is either David or John Hearne but it was at a Top Gear-type of program with Quentin Wilson in about 1980; we raced each other in a driving test in and out of parking bays,  I remember sending gravel spaying as I put it into reverse while still moving forwards – I wasn’t old enough to drive on the road at this time!

Here is BMP today. Perhaps you have memories or photos from a family member before 1964 – do make contact if so!  


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