coach builder

George Harrison’s Mini and John Lennon’s Rolls Royce, 1967; screen capped from Living in the Material World

Excerpt 2 from Thank U Very Much: Mike McCartney’s Family Album:

“In the carefree, couldn’t care less, psychedelic LSD, day tripper London period, I would leave our kid’s St. John’s Wood home in my khaki coloured Scimitar sports car (the first one bought from Reliant at the 1967 Motor Show and not at all ‘flower power’… more ‘tank power’) to drive down to ‘Kinfauns”, George and Patti’s [sic] Esher home.

With explicit ‘secret’ instructions from George how to get lost, I soon arrived outside the high walled superhome and gave the ‘secret’ horn beeps. Before you could say ‘open says me’ the door had swung open and I was overt the moat and inside the low slung castle.

After pleasant reunions I was shown around the ‘bungalow George’ home by Patti [sic] [Note: Elsewhere in the book, Mike recalls: ‘I once had a crush on her.’], through the Dali inspired extension, complete with huge round window, and out to the heated swimming pool.

We enjoyed a peaceful day lounging round the pool and a quiet Ravi-Byrds evening in, with large whisky and Cokes (Jim Macmeasures [As Mike notes earlier in the book: ‘Pour quadruple, four-finger measures of neat alcohol for each and every guest.’] poured into the early hours. By this time I was quite drunk (for the second time since August 1961, or was it the third?) and staggered to my bed.

In the morning (sorry mid-day) I shakily presented myself to the company, and after breakfast cum dinner brunch, George asked if I’d ever been to John’s house. As I hadn’t, he offered to drive me over to Weybridge after my Alka Seltzer.

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Studebaker Italia, 1960, by Carrozzeria Francis Lombardi. In addition to the Frua Larks, Renato Bornigia (the Italian Studebaker concessionaire) commissioned a coupé and saloon from Lombardi. There appear to be no photographs of the saloon, some sources credit the 4-door Frua prototypes to Carrozzeria Lombardi but they were definitely made by coach builder Italsuisse who worked with Pietro Frua on a number of projects (I think confusion arouse because all of the cars used the name Studebaker Italia) . Like the Frua cars, the Lombardi Larks never progressed beyond prototype stage


Citroën SM variations, 1972, by Heuliez. As a struggling independent car maker in the early 70s Citroën lacked the resources to develop the SM beyond a single model so they invited various coach builders including Heuliez to make proposals. These drawings by Yves Dubernard of Heuliez show 4 and 5 door versions as well as a version with a more utilitarian flat bed rear deck. In the end all of these were passed over for a 4 door by Chapron


Dartz Prombon Black Alligator, 2017. The latest product from the Latvian coach-builder is based on a Mercedes-AMG GLS63 and built to owners’ individual specifications. The body is modified using Kevlar and carbon fibre, and is available with amour-plating. The Mercedes-AMG 5.5 litre V8 can be modified to produce up to 1600hp. The headlamps appear to have been sourced from a Jeep Grand Cherokee


1931 Minerva 8 AL Convertible Sedan with custom coachwork by the Rollston Company.  I find it particularly interesting when a European chassis was sent to an American coach builder, and vice versa, as you saw it so infrequently.  Using a coach builder across the world added significant time and expense to the whole process of commissioning a custom car, with emphasis on time because money was generally no object for individuals in this realm.  

Bare-Knuckle Boxing in the UK

Once regarded as something that happens exclusively in Guy Ritchie films and on Gypsy sites, bare-knuckle boxing is fast becoming a thriving scene in the UK—the ultimate British bloodsport.

When Clive Martin embeds with the bare-knuckle boxing elite, what he discovers is not dissimilar to Fight Club: IT technicians, builders, lifestyle coaches, and even a lawyer, all throwing their unprotected fists into one another’s faces. It’s a subculture of honor, pride, and violence.

As the UK prepares to play host to the first US-vs.-UK bare-knuckle title fight in 150 years—the biggest event the scene has known since it went underground in the 19th century—Clive tries to find out whether violence is a cause or effect for these angry young men.

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Mini XXL Concept, 2004. A six wheel, four door, six seater stretch Mini Cooper S built by a specialist coach builder in Los Angeles. In addition to the usual limousine accoutrements the XXL features a whirlpool integrated into the rear section of the car which can accommodate two people. The detachable roof means that it can be covered when not in use, or if privacy is desired.