History of the Mini Marcos Family
4. The Mini Jem
As mentioned in Chapter 1 Dizzy Addicott's Mini Dart project was sold to Jeremy Delmar-Morgan who rechristened it the Mini Jem. It is tempting to assume that the name had something to do with Jem Marsh, but this was not the case.
The Jem's career was shorter and even bumpier than that of the Mini Marcos. It was initially produced by Delmar-Morgan's Jem (Developments) Ltd. in North London, before being taken over by Robin Statham and moved to his Fellpoint company in the Buckinghamshire village of Penn.
In 1969 Statham made a number of improvements. The body shape was modified, with the windscreen being set further back and inclined less steeply, with corresponding changes to the door shape, and the roof line was slightly raised to give more headroom. An interesting feature of the Mk. II is the lack of external door handles. Access is gained by lowering the window which is secured by a panel lock, and reaching for the inside handle. The option of opening rear quarter lights on the Mk. II was usually taken up.
Mk. I cars were made under licence by John Taylor in South Australia who sold them mostly for racing.
Craig Williams writes:
"I think that they were more commonly called TaylorSpeed Jems by Taylors as that was their trademark at the time in the late 60s. The particular body shell I have was a very late production model (1969) for Taylors and does vary slightly from the English produced models. The rear window has been trimmed square at the bottom rather than the more rounded look of the English shells. All the locally produced cars I have seen feature this style. The cars were laid up in a surfboard factory in Adelaide called JR's Surf Shop. I have seen some photos of the early cars being built and let's just say that industrial health and safety was not really an issue in 1968!"
The moulds used to produce the Taylor Jems are still extant and could be used to produce replacement panels if needed.
See also Tony Shaw's Minimag article in MiniJem Plus.
High Performance Mouldings
Fellpoint was developing a futuristic kit car based on the VW beetle floor pan, appropriately called the Futura. Unfortunately the financial backer pulled out and the company went into liquidation in 1971. The Mini Jem was rescued by High Performance Mouldings of Cricklade, Wiltshire, and reappeared om the market in 1972. This firm subsequently moved to Wombwell in Yorkshire.
A further design change was made: the wheel arches were extended leading down to points at either side of the nose, and an opening rear hatch was available as an optional extra. The bonnet opening was made wider, with square instead of rounded corners at the back. This was the Mk. III and last Mini Jem to be produced comercially, although there was a further change of ownership - this time to one Malcolm Fell. It appears that the Futura prototype came along with the project but received no further attention.
Production ceased in around 1976, and the moulds remained for many years in a barn in Norfolk. At one time they were offered to the Mini Marcos Owners Club, but without its own premeses it had nowhere to house them even if it had been able to raise the cash. However all is not lost as the moulds are now co-owned by club members, Bob Stevens and Mike Phillips of Harlequin Kitcars. The Mk. III moulds are in useable condition while the Mk. II ones are somewhat the worse for wear and neglect.
In 2016 the moulds and jig were generously donated to the club and we shall at some point be able to make replacement panels if required. It is unlikely that it will be economic to make any complete new shells but you never know.
Last updated 31st January, 2016