Four Gemini Mk2 BMC FJ were imported into Canada in around mid 1960, three to the Eastern states and one to the Mid West. A fifth Gemini Mk2 raced by Richard (Dick Lake) of Seattle Washington State, USA was raced at times at Westwood Circuit in British Columbia.
One visiting rear engine Gemini MK3 from Ohio USA raced in Formula Junior race at Mosport in 1961 and its possible that other Gemini at time had brief forays into Canada in the seventies.
In the eighties a further Gemini Mk2, previously resident in Washington USA was imported into Canada and restored by Mile fenton to take part in historic racing events.
A rear engine Gemini Mk4 was imported from California in the eighties and raced by Stephen Burnet in Canadian historic events.
The following is the known and in some cases presumed history to date of the five resident Canadian Gemini Mk 2’s; their drivers, entrants and owners of the cars along with race numbers.
All early Gemini ownerships are confirmed up and to where Peter Barker and then John Ash owned the Gemini’s. Peter Barker at times owned and raced two of the Gemini Mk2, and at some time also owned or raced the Kiki Mk1 and the Copper DKW, both of which contained Gemini parts from two of the Gemini MK2 that were dismantled. John Ash takes ownership of one and possibly two mostly complete cars and parts from one and perhaps two of the dismantled cars in the late 1970’s – 1980. Subsequent to that the ownerships trails get murky and still require clarification.
The following is not by all means a comprehensive list of the race events that occurred in period in Canada, as many of the results are not available or only mention the first two or three place getters. Any scanned race program or results for any Canadian FJ or CC races with or without Gemini FJ involved would be much appreciated so as to move this research forward. Race results to date courtesy of F1 Register Record book, Canada Cars Site, CMSHG, various individuals in Canada and searches through various newspaper and magazine archives.
1) Gemini Mk2 – Dave Hennessey Car. Chassis 1017
Dave Hennessey and Dave Verity both of Burlington Ontario together purchased and imported direct from The Chequered Flag, two unpainted alloy bodied Gemini Mk2 Formula Junior. Hennessey and Verity had responded to an advertisement on the back page of an Autosport magazine around December of 1959, having jumped at what was then the first independent rear end Formula Junior car. Hennessey believes the base car was about $2600 and with further upgrades the cars cost them $3000 each, plus the shipping. The two bare alloy bodied cars duly arrived in Ontario in April of 1960, having been air-freighted in on a KLM air cargo flight.
Both cars were identical, with the latter flat spoke type magnesium wheels, the latter nose cowling in that the arch over the suspension was not fluted , internal cockpit mounted fuel fillers and Aluminum Alfin drum brakes, as opposed to the Maganesium ones that some of the earlier cars were fitted with. The two cars were consecutive chassis numbers and Verity and Hennessey had agreed that they would flip for ownership numbers high or low and then assign ownership before delivery, thus avoiding any controversy in case the cars were not identical or any where damaged. Hennessey which photos show, got chassis 1017, and whilst not absolutely sure, he remembers that his was the low number, making it the chassis that Verity probably took delivery of as 1018.
The following link is to British Pathe film of construction of Gemini MK2 FJ at The Chequered Flag lock up and filmed in April 1960.. The film tag mentions that the feature car being constructed is being exported to Canada. At about 2:25 min into the film there is a front view of a car with a number 17, scrawled on the fire wall. As all the Mk2 bodies were hand built at Williams and Pritchard, they would have numbered the panels from the individual cars so as not to mix them up.
Engine bay at Edendale, soon after arrival ,showing the car still with its original Amal Carbs. The #17 on the inside of the nose cowling is the same number and script as in the British Pathe film. All the alloy bodies were hand built by Williams and Pritchard, bespoke for the individual chassis and so numbers were written on the bodies so as not to get these confused when building several cars at once. Courtesy Dave Hennessey
Amongst the upgrades the pair had ordered that they had paid 80 pounds for was the supply of three or four sets of alternate ratios for the transfer case. Unfortunately the cars arrived with just the standard gears, The Chequered Flag belatedly explaining that they were unable to make the quick change system work. It was this feature that had helped swing the pairs purchase choice away from Elva 100 FJ and towards the Gemini Mk2. Also ordered in the upgrade were stage 5 Speedwell engines and close ratio gear boxs.
The cars duly arrived with the outward appearance of full house engines. Hennessey say; “Less than sparking performance caused us to check and discover that the only upgrade was cosmetic; the Amal carbs of the stage 5 engine. 950cc not even bored out to the class limit of 1000cc! We had paid 50% down KLM had released the cars without the final payment. With that much leverage we were able to dictate a fair settlement albeit with a lot squealing and squirming from Mike Buettler, the Sales Manager of the CF in England. I(Hennessey) got the feeling if they had been paid in full we would have been SOL.”
Hennessey’s Gemini was given its first shakedown at Edenvale early in May of 1960 with the first event later in May 27th at the Carling 300 event at Harewood acres.
Dave Hennessey in 1017. June 18, 1960. BEMC Harewood. Photo August 60 issue of Track & Traffic which incorrectly listed the car as a Special being driven by Dave Foote. 1017 was identified by Hennessey by the odd shaped Square Roll Bar he had installed, more to fend of scrutineering objections than for safety reasons but which rendered the car readily identifiable in photos.
The Gemini was extensively raced by either Hennessey or his brother Ernest, both of who typically competed in the car under the number 11. When the wasn’t entered under the Hennessey name, it was done so under Howe and Needham name; Derrick Howe and Harry Leedham being the two English friends of Dave Hennessey, Dave Verity and Ernest Hennessey and who were also staunch supporters of their racing efforts. Howe and Needham acted as pit crew and mechanics at most of the events and so the cars were entered the cars under Howe and Leedham Enterprises in gratitude. In one racing incident, Verity unfortunately was to hit and broke Harry’s Leedhams leg during a pit stop in a relay race in 1960.
Shakedown at Edenvale. Dave Hennessey in 1017
Ernest (Eric) and Dave alternated as drivers, competing at most of the local Formula Junior races during 1960, even venturing along with Verity’s and his car as far as to St Eugene ,Quebec for one event and with Ernie in 1961 venturing into the USA on at least one occasion, racing the car at the small Waterford Hills circuit, part of a private country club in a wealthy suburb near Detroit Michigan .
“It took the pair most of the summer to get the underperforming car sorted, not winning any races until finally with the help of the upgrades begrudgingly supplied by Chequered Flag” they won a race at BEMC’s Indian Summer event in September 1960.
Edenvale: about 20 miles South West of Barrie Ontario and Green Acres; about 20 miles North of Godrich Ontario and which were about 200 miles apart from each other were both former air training stations. It was these circuits the car was most extensively raced on in 1961-62. By 1962 the car was raced more sporadically with its last recorded race with a Hennessey behind the wheel in June 1963.
Bob Young, Hennessey’s neighbor then purchased the car from the Hennessey’s with the first event being June 5th 1965 at Mosport with Ken Daniels as the driver. Racing number 51 or #515 was typically used when either Young or Daniels drove the car. Daniels being a race mechanic put on a Cooper S big valve gas flowed head on the car, removed the Amals, replacing these with a 45mm side draught Weber and so taking the car from what Daniels believed was 60HP at best to 75-80HP. Young and Daniels drove it over that summer and in the fall of 1966 Young traded the Gemini for Daniels Sprite racing car.
The following original footage was shot by a super 8 by Bob Young. Recently transfered over to CD. Most footage was coming off Gunnery Corner onto the front straight away. Some going through corner 1 at Harewood. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSafjD8PHcQ&list=UUhvzVNMYASQba6m7o2rGicg&index=1
Bob Young in 1017 foreground center, on the starting grid at Mosport 1965. The grid comprises a mixed grid of Formula Vee and Sadler FJ -Blue #182. Photo courtesy Dave Gold
Ken Daniels purchased the car and over the next winter in the quest for more power ,took a 1300cc Cooper S engine, had a local machine shop cut the snout off the end of the crank and mounted the flywheel flange from a Sprite onto the end of the crank, fabricated a rear main seal for the engine and fitted it into the Gemini. “I would guess that it then had upwards of 120HP.”
After racing it a couple of times Daniels realised it needed more rear grip and put on a set of larger Good Year Blue Streak tyres. The car then would run with any of the Lotus F-Jr cars around southern Ontario. With the extra HP came problems with the transfer case which with the extra power would not hold a seal and would always torque itself/flex to the point that it would start dumping its oil, a problem that was never solved and so for Daniels there was always a mess and a worry. At the end of that season, recently married and having bought a house with the inevitable mortgage and disillusioned with the car, the engine and transmission was pulled and the car sold to Peter Barker, who lived on the Lake Shore in Burlington near Walkers line.
Peter Barker purchased the Gemini in 1967, immediately after having crashed the Gemini Mk 2 that he had only recently purchased from Dave Gold. Barker mostly raced under #107, entered under the Yorkshire Racing team banner with the car being driven by Barker on most occasions. At Harewood in May 1967, the last recorded event for the Gemini, it was in driven under #107 by a Gerald Hancock .. After having run it for the couple of seasons Barker, apparently intending to build a Sports Racing Car and may well have started to dismantle the car. Ken Daniels believes it was on sold in dismantled state to Jack Boxstom but there is the possibility this is confused with 1038.
Jack Boxstom, TBC a well known name in Canadian Motorsport had the foresight early on that vintage car racing was about to take hold and he was buying all of the old race cars around that he could find. Boxstom would run them through his shop in Toronto and resell. Boxstom was to also buy and on sell another Gemini, 1038 from Craig Hill. John Ash name has also been associated with 1017 but possibly confused with his ownership of 1038 and 1018.
The whereabouts of 1017 has not been ascertained.
2) Gemini Mk2 -Dave Verity Car. Chassis 1018 tbc
The back view of Dave Verity’s Gemini Mk2. courtesy Mike Nilsen from Craig Fisher archives.
Dave Verity of Burlington Ontario purchased and imported his Bare alloy bodied Gemini Mk 2 in conjunction with Dave Hennessey’s, direct from the Chequered Flag . Other than Veritys car arriving with minor damage from shipping, a dent in the nose which was easily hammered out, the car was identical with Hennessey’s 1017; Flat spoke wheels, latter nose cowling, internal fuel filler caps and latter pattern Alloy bimetal Alfin drum brakes.
Verity was a electrical engineer and worked as communications manager at Dofasco and lived at 251 Oak Cresent in Burlington. Invariably the car was entered under the number 251 (from his address) and despite having no connection to the Chequered flag team other than having purchased a Gemini, he raced most times under “Gemini Racing Cars” banner. The name extended to a pink hearse he used as a tow car with the name “Gemini Racing Cars” on the side of it. Hennessy remembers that “On one occasion a couple of guys from the US, maybe Ohio were very upset that Verity was using this name, Apparently they were the North American agents for Chequered Flag and Hennessey believes they had two cars”. This would have been Bob Johnson, the USA importer of Gemini Racing cars who ran in the USA under “Gemini Racing Team” with a Gemini Mk3A and the earlier Mk3 car, with himself and Charlie Kolb as drivers.
Like Hennessey’s car, Verity’s was also entered at times under Howe and Needham, the two friends and staunch supporters who acted as pit crew and mechanics all the time. Veritys car was more often than not driven by others; On one occasion at Harewood Acres in 1960 Verity unfortunately hit and broke Harry’s leg during a pit stop in the relay race 1960 . The car was at times driven by Jim Duncan, but always entered by Verity. More often when Verity was not behind the wheel then the car was driven by Don Kindree, owner of the Kindree Sunoco Service in Burlington. Kindree invariably raced under #99 when he was not racing under Veritys race #251
Don Kindree in Veritys Gemini with the number 99. Veritys number 251 can be seen to be clearly crossed out.
Advertisement for Dave Verity’s Gemini Mk2
Ronald Laurie, one of Dave Veritys pit crew on occasions drove the car, again entered under Veritys Gemini Racing Cars – Laurie raced under #251.
In 1963 Verity advertised the care for sale and in June of 1963 sold the Gemini to Mike Beverley, a teacher at Ridley College in St Catherines. Beverley raced the car in the July 1963 Harewood event as a novice, but after having blown the motor the car seemed to sit until purchased in 1966 by Dave Gold, then of Scarbourgh in Ontario.
Gold purchased the Gemini from Beverly’s father, who farmed 80 miles from Burlington. Beverley had by this time taken a teaching job so far away from any racing that he had decided to sell the car.
July 1, 1966 Harewood Dave Gold entered the car as a novice 91 CC, Now Mid Blue r with alloy sides and sporting a cooling louver and the bonnet bulge put on by Dave Verity, Parked behind are a Sadler FJ and Cooper T56 FJ. Courtesy, Dave Gold
Gold identified his Gemini as previously being owned by Verity’s as it had the hood bulge that Verity had installed and whilst Hennessey had installed an antisway bar on theirs, Gold’s car like Verity’s didn’t have a sway bar or the squared of roll bar that Hennessey’s had come up with.
The car still with the Alexander tuned BMC engine as advertised by Verity, was raced by Gold as a novice through the 1966 racing season, before mothballing it and heading to the UK for a period of time. In Gold’s absence the car was sold to Peter Barker who unfortunately crashed the Gemini quite badly his first time out at an event at Mosport in 1967. The crash occurred on the fastest corner. Barker promptly then went out and purchased the ex Hennessey Gemini Mk2 from Ken Daniels, the owner of Gemini 1017 at the time. The car languished, remained unrepaired and the front suspension and brakes from the crashed Gemini 1018 ultimately ended up mounted on an early Cooper F3 that had been repowered in Ontario with a DKW engine and transmission, so as to be able to compete in the Canada Class competition.
Peter Barker along with his friend, Ted Hicken jointly owned the Cooper DKW in 1966 with Barker running the car in the regular group and Hicken with the novice group. Hicken became the sole owner in 1967 as Barker was now dedicating his time to racing the ex Hennessey Gemini 1017. The Cooper DKW can be seen in photos during the time of the Barker/Hicken’s ownership to have acquired the magnesium wheels from the Rees Gemini Mk2, the car at this time having been dismantled and converted into the Kiki Mk1 sports racing car that had also come into Barkers ownership.
1967 DKW Cooper with the Kiki Mk2. The Gemini Elfin front brake drums (and presumably brakes) from the Gemini are evident on the Cooper DKW. The earlier style “Banana Bunch” wheels are most certainly borrowed from dismantled Rees Mackley Gemini. The yellow painted Kiki Mk2 has the forward body from the Rees Gemini Mk2. . Courtesy Dave Gold
The derelict Cooper DKW was subsequently recovered in the 1990’s, underwent a comprehensive restoration back to F3 500 specifications. During the rebuild to F3, the then unknown Gemini front suspension parts were disposed of.
Gord Whatley purchased the remains of 1018 from Barker; including frame, running gear, differential, rear suspension and odd parts, later selling these John Ash who was also acquiring the other Gemini Mk2: 1038 and possibly 1017
It has commonly been accepted that 1018 was rebuilt for Ash by Louie Martin at Martin Industrial repair, A company which Dick Baker, Aldo Bigioni, Phil Lamont had shares in. However the Gemini restored was probably 1038, acquired by Ash from Craig Hill. The rather incomplete FIA papers for 1018 show owners ship by Dick Baker to John Ash, however this is the only evidence to suggest that Baker was ever involved in the ownership of 1018.
For many years it has been thought, but mistakenly so, that chassis 1018, the car commonly associated with Tony Goodwin car in the UK, was originally the Finch car from the mid West. Craig Hill, a past owner of the Finch car confirms his car was chassis 1038. That 1018 and 1038 had common owner in John Ash and all the cars were sent to the UK by Ash was only recently discovered and this is where the confusion arises. 1038 was shipped complete and restored whereas 1018 was shipped as pieces. Further confusion arises as Noble understands that when he restored 1018 that the castings incorporated into the 1018 were “from a car that had been converted into a Sports car” the Kiki and so these parts originated from the Rees Mackley Gemini Mk2.
Neal Shepard is understood to have actually repatriated the Gemini 1018 back to UK and that the car may have also have gone to Rodney Tolhurst UK to David Noble UK who apparently rebuilt the Gemini with a new chassis by Geoff Rumble, the ex Chequered flag employee who in 1960 originally constructed the Gemini Mk2 chassis at the companies lockup. The car then moved to Rene Rosenberg CH , then to Hans-Ulrich Kohler CH to Peter Henry CH.
The car returned to the UK to Dr Tony Goodwin . The car was extensively raced by Goodwin and is mentioned in his book. “The Racing Doctor”. The car passed to Ian Bankhurst UK and then to Richard Ellingworth UK and has recently been sold..
3) Gemini Mk2 – Mark Rees Car. Chassis 1016 tbc
In the spring of 1960 (April/May) Mark Rees of Montreal purchased a Gemini Mk2. The car was raced soon after at St Eugene on June 24 1960, entered under Rees racing team; “Ecurie Erable ” with the car being driven by a Mr Castor.
The Rees Gemini is readily identifiable from Hennessey’s and Verity’s Gemini Mk2’s by the Cooper type Banana Bunch pattern wheels often fitted to the early Gemini Mk2. Rees car had twin SU carbs rather than the typical twin Amal’s and the car was equipped with what was unusual for a Mk2, a fiberglass body. These bodies were also made for the Chequered Flag by Williams and Pritchard, the same famous British firm that made the Gemini alloy bodies. Painted white the body was reputedly very thin, in contrast to thick fibre glass bodies on other types of car of the time.
Hennessey first saw the Gemini and met Rees at an event at Harewood in the summer of ’60; Rees commenting to Hennessey that he had avoided automobile duty by persuading customs to classify his car as sporting equipment. Hennessey was somewhat surprised as the chassis number of Rees car was earlier than His and Verity’s Gemini. Hennessey believes that given his car was number 1017, that Rees car was one number earlier; 1016. The British Pathe Film footage recently found supports Hennessey’s belief that Rees car was an earlier chassis number as the first scenes from the film show in the foreground two largely completed Mk2’s with white nose, cowlings and tail, the bodies undoubtedly unpainted fiberglass; The Chequered flag did not paint customer cars. These two white cars in the film, one of which is no doubt destined for Rees, were both in an advanced state of construction when compared to Hennessey’s 1017, the construction of which featured in the film.
Besides racing in Quebec, Rees Mk2 was apparently raced a fair bit in New England and sometimes in Ontario, invariably using the racing number 48. The car was more often than not driven by others, possibly as Rees had expressed some apprehension to Hennessey about racing. Whilst a Mr Castor was the first to appear in the car, Bud (P G )Mackley of St Eugene can be seen to have driven the car more than any other. Typically both Rees and Mackley raced the car under the Ecurie Erable name and then latter the Ecurie Pitstop or Ecurie Pitstop Westmount team names. Rees also handed the wheel to John Bell for the June 24 1961 Mosport event.
Both Mackley and Rees were entered in September 30, 1961 for the Mosport. Canadian GP which appears to have been the last race for the pair in the Gemini. The white Gemini #48 can be seen behind the starter with a the Canadian built Sadler FJ #118, the Teubler FJ #54 and a second Sadler FJ behind this. (photo courtesy Mike Nilson)
In late 1961 Gord Dewar of Ottawa purchased the car from the Montreal area, most probably from Rees, The car was Ice raced at least once at St. Pierre De Wakefield north of Ottawa but other than this there is no evidence that Dewar raced the car on the track.
Doug MacArthur of Campbellville Ottawa was the next owner, appearing with the Gemini at the Mosport Park event on Sept 8th 1962 after nearly a year’s absence from the circuits. The car still with SU carbs, Banana Bunch Magnesium wheels, and aluminium side panels with glass nose, cockpit section and tail and was now painted red.
Doug MacArthur in the now red painted Gemini Mk2 competing at Mosport Park in 1963. MacArthur typically competed in events with race number 181. courtesy Doug MacArthur
Doug MacArthur and Gemini at the Ottawa hillclimb in 1963 courtesy Doug MacArthur
MacArthur raced the Gemini with a vengeance for one season, cut short when the CASC decided that front engine juniors could no longer be run as Canada Class cars. MacArthur considered this would have resulted in limited racing for this and the other juniors and so the Gemini was therefore dismantled and immediately work was began on constructing a sports racer named the Kiki Mk1. The construction involved chopping the central section out of the Gemini chassis and welding the front and rear sections to a newly constructed wider central section with the car becoming a very attractive Devin bodied Sports car.
Kiki Mk1 competing at at St Jovite 1965. The Gemini origin wheels clearly evident. Courtesy Dave Gold
Kiki Mk1 clothed with Devin body. Courtesy Doug Durrell
Kiki Mk1 The complete forward section of the chassis which the suspension is mounted off has been removed from the Gemini complete with suspension, uprights, brakes, steering and wheels and grafted to a new central chassis section. Courtesy Doug Durrell
Kiki Mk1 rear showing Gemini origin. As with the front the complete rear section of the chassis complete with suspension, uprights, diff, brakes and wheels having been cut off and grafted to a new central chassis section. Courtesy Doug Durrell
The fiberglass body of the dismantled Gemini Mk 2 went onto to a second car; the rear engine single seater Kiki Mk2 built to race in the Canada Class races. Doug Durrell was involved in the projects to build both the Kiki cars. The CASC were subsequently to change their minds regards Juniors being involved in Canada Class racing but by then the Gemini had been dismantled, the centre frame section of the Mk2 had been disposed of and the KIKI 1 construction was well under way.
The KIKI Mk2 CC #24 on July 1, 1966 at Harewood . Don Enns ran the car. The cockpit and nose cone are from the Gemini. 325 is a Sadler FJ whilst the green car #167 behind the Sadler is the Cooper DKW from which the brakes and suspension from 1018 went into. The car pictured here on its Cooper wheels, the Gemini (Banana Bunch ) that were later fitted are presumably still on Kiki Mk1. Courtesy, Dave Gold
The motor and transmission of the dismantled Gemini Mk2 ended up in a Sadler FJ that was later destroyed at Mt Tremblant. These were subsequently recovered and were fitted into a Sebring Bug Eye Sprite which was itself subsequently destroyed in a barn fire. For a while in 1967 the wheels were on the Copper DKW which had been constructed from the crashed Gemini Mk2 of Peter Barker and undoubtedly fitted when both the Kiki Mk1 and Cooper DKW were in Barkers procession. .
The Kiki 1 went from Doug MacArther to Colin Gibbson ownership before then returning back to Doug MacArthur, then on to Peter Barker to a P Loth in Oshawa.
The Kiki Mk1 was hill climbed at Mosport on Oct 13, 1968 with both Barker and Loth driving. Loth then dismantled the car, the Kiki parts were trashed but the Gemini parts were saved and rumor has it that some of these were sold to Dick Baker.
Dick Baker had worked at General Motors in Oshawa in the 60 – 70’s but after leaving GM, Baker along with Louis Martin, Aldo Bigioni, Phil Lamont, and Dave, an American from Vermont who were partners in Martin Industrial Repair, the company that carried out the first of the Gemini restorations for Ash.
As with some of the other Gemini Mk2, the parts then found their way to John Ash-Toronto. It’s known that John Ash received some of the remaining Gemini castings of the Kiki Mk1. Ash who also received at least one, and maybe two of the other Gemini’s and had moved these onto the UK, also sold the castings from 1016 onto the UK. The forward chassis section, front suspension, and uprights from the Rees car remained in Canada with a possibility of the rear chassis section having remained also. The front end then going from Ash to Stephen Burnet who at the time was restoring the Gemini Mk4 that he had obtained from California. In turn the Gemini Mk4 and Mk2 parts passed to Steve Bodrug. The Mk2 parts were retrieved by Doug Durrell as he was looking to resurrect the Kiki Mk1.
It’s presumed the castings went to the UK with either 1038, or the Verity Gemini 1018. The wheels that 1018 ran on in the UK for a time appear to be those from Rees car. Dave Noble who restored the car in UK confirmed the castings used in the restoration of 1018 had originally come from the car that had been converted into a sports car. This would be the Kiki Mk1.
4 ) Gemini Mk2- Robert Finch Car. Chassis 1038
The last of the Gemini Mk2 to appear in Canada during the Formula Junior era was imported by Robert Anthony Finch of Winnepeg, sometime in 1962. Finch was a member of the Canadian Military serving in Europe in the early 1960s. Finch brought the Gemini back with him when he returned to Canada, flying it in aboard a returning Canadian Forces plane. It’s believed the car had been used prior to Finch acquiring the car and there were some thoughts it may have been a works Gemini with a Ford engine. A photo of the car with Finch at its first event in May 1962 shows the latter to be highly unlikely as it is fitted with a BMC engine.
Finch Gemini Mk2 May 20th 1962 Fort Mcleod. – Finch brought the Gemini Mk II into first place in the non winners’ race. Courtesy, Tom Johnston
Finch raced the car for three years with the Winnipeg Sports Car Club, mostly in mid West events in Saskatchewan, Alberta and at least once venturing to Ontario to race in the Mosport Park Players 200 meeting on June 1st 1963. Here the car competed against the Gemini Mk2; 1017, driven by Ernst Hennessey and Dave Verity’s Gemini; 1018 in the hands of Ronald Laurie.
The car was subsequently advertising for sale in Canada Track and Traffic, March 1964 issue. Oddly no phone number was given and the advertisement only ran once.
It’s not known if the car was sold, but it stayed in Winnipeg until at least the 1970’s, when it was picked up by Morris Calvert of Calgary and immediately passed onto Craig Hill. Hill purchased the car as a “mess of parts” and assembled the car together, with new alloy sides as a roller, then selling the project to Jack Boxstrom who immediately sold it to John Ash.
Finch working on the Gemini Mk2 At its first event, Davidson July 1st 1962 Ed Makarenko archive Courtesy Mike Adams.
Finch Davidson July 1st 1962 Ed Makarenko archive Courtesy Mike Adams.
As no one had realised that Ash had acquired two or more of the Gemini, it was commonly assumed that the Finch Gemini was the car that went to the UK and ultimately into the hands of Dr Tony Goodwin, though that car carries the chassis plate 1018. Hill has a photograph of the chassis plate of the Gemini that passed through his hands which shows it to be 1038.
Finchs Gemini Mk2 at 1963 Mordon Hill Climb. Courtesy Darrins Photoclique see http://myworld.ebay.com/darrins?_trksid=p2047675.l2559
John Ash had the car restored at Martin Industry and raced it at VARAC events in the eighties before selling it in 1988 to Rodney Tolhurst in the UK.. Roger Fountain clearly remembers taking it “in good shape” on a pallet to Toronto freight terminal around 1988.
Subsequently the car passed to Grant Wilson UK , then to Erika Pilkington UK and then to Mike Fowler UK
5) Gemini Mk2. Chassis 1023
Pete Lovely a Washington car dealer and former driver apparently imported to USA a Gemini Mk2 as a commercial proposition. Lovely never raced the car, but passed it onto an unknown racer in Seattle, Washington State, who only raced it once or twice. The races the car apparently took part in have not been established. The car then sat until the early eighties when somebody unearthed the car and brought it to Westwood for the Historic Weekend. Sadly whilst the car remained intact, nothing is known of its early history.
Gemini MK2 of Miles Fenton Courtesy, Miles Fenton
Miles Fenton of British Columbia Canada acquired the car at this time. The car with Alloy body, red nose band, single weber carburettor and no external filler cap evident. The car has the early nose with fluted wheel arches but the latter Flat spoke wheels option. The car was restored whilst it was with Fenton.
David Birchell purchased the Gemini a couple of years later, racing the car for a couple of season before selling it on to Buddy Cooperburg in New Jersey.
David Kieley USA is now actively racing the car after purchasing it from Cooperburg in around 2008
Owners and Drivers of Gemini cars that are not connected to the Canadian Gemini.
Dave Foote drove a special in Canada Class races at the time. F1 register has one results say Foote drove a Gemini June 9 1960 but this could well be an error. Foote did enter in some events in a Canada Class special. A photo in Canadian Track and traffic of Foote in Gemini in Harewood Acres June 17th 18th is wrongly attributed to being the driver. The photo is actually of the Dave Hennessey car as can be seen by the squared off roll bar with Hennessey at the wheel. Hennessey confirms this and he, Verity and Durrell are not aware of Foote driving a Gemini Mk2. If he did so then in all probability it could only be the Rees car. In the mid-1960s, CT&T had ads from David Foote Motors, a FIAT dealership at 1787 Bayview Eglinton Toronto) .
Bill Vine.(RIP) An obituary posted on a forum for Ontario racers in 2012 mentioned that “Bill started racing in a front engined Gemini Formula Junior before switching to Formula Four cars, first in a Vixen and later in a series of X-Pits.” So the puzzle is, what car did he race, when and where?
Richard (Dick) Lake of Washington USA raced his USA based Gemini Mk2 in events in British Columbia in June 1960 and April 1961. The car should not be confused with 1023. see West Coast Gemini
Robert Coiteux from Eastern USA states raced at Mt Tremblant in 1967 and other vintage races. The other three Canadian Gemini’s had ceased to race or reduced to pieces by this time so it cannot be any of the Canadian cars.
Dudley Diemel from Columbus Ohio, USA competed in Gemini Mk3A in the Formula Junior race at the Mosport Grand Prix in 1961. Diemel was a late entry and though having previously raced a sports car, this is the only known event he competed in the Gemini Mk3A.
Dudley Deimel, Gemini Mk3A #103 at the Canadian GP Sept 30 1961 Dick Shelton collection, Courtesy Rupert Lloyd Thomas
The ex Colin Davis, Scuderia SSS Republica de Venezia team Gemini Mk4 that was subsequentialy sold to Chas McCarty in California
Chuck McCarty, California Gemini Mk4 Courtesy, Oliver Crosthwaite
USA and extensively raced by him from mid 1963 to mid 1965 was imported to Canada from California and restored by Stephen Burnet. The Gemini Mk4 passed to Steve Bodrug thence in recent times back to the UK where it underwent a further restoration by Oliver Crosthwaite.
Help wanted. The author would appreciate being put in contact with anyone who can add to the information on Dave Foote, The Bill Vine or Robert Coiteux Gemini’s, or Dudley Diemel who drove the Gemini Mk3A at what appears to be one solitary race.
And finally an appeal. John Ash was last thought to have moved to Vancouver. If anybody knows the whereabouts of John Ash could they have him contact me.
Acknowledgments: Many thanks to Dave Gold who single handed sort out and either put me in contact with many of the Gemini racers from the 1960’s or gathered memories from others. Thanks to Gemini owners Dave Hennessey, Doug Durrell, Ken Daniels. Members of the CMSHG ; Rupert Lloyd Thomas, Mike Nilsen, Mike Adams, Tom Johnston, Mile Fenton and other members of the CMSRG for their contributions There’s certainly a great spirit and camaraderie and willingness to help further Canadian Motor Sport history amongst the group. Thanks also to Richard Page in the UK, the Formula 1 Register and any others who offered information that I have forgotten.