In 1954 a group
of 750 Motor Club members in the UK got together and designed an all
enveloping body for their Austin Sevens that would be made from the
new material fibreglass.
Microplas Ltd was founded in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire in the early
1950’s by a group of 750 Motor Club enthusiasts who got together
to design and produce an all-enveloping glass fibre bodyshell for the
Austin Seven chassis.They were, Mike Eyre, Roger Everett, Bill Ashton,
Sandy Wemyss and his brother Tony, The new shell was called Stiletto
which had a wheelbase of 6`9"
New designs came thick and fast and by April 1955 Microplas announced
what was to become their most popular shell, the Mistral. The price
of £58 was to remain unchanged throughout production.
on the 1954 D Type Jaguar
The Mistral shell was a very popular shell and was used by a number
of firms to clothe their chassis inc Buckler, Fairthorpe and TVR.
was intended for the contemporary Ford Ten chassis with a 7’ 6’’
wheelbase, the original round-tail looked rather like a scaled down
Jaguar D-Type. Cresting the wave of the 1950’s kit car boom, Microplas
rapidly expanded, relocating to Mitcham, Surrey and supplying Mistral
body shells, its most successful product, to a number of independent
producers including Buckler, Fairthorpe and TVR.
It was also
brought to New Zealand by Christchurch boat builder and racing driver,
Bob Blackburn. Blackburn, trading as Weltex Plastics Limited, intended
to go into full production with a Graeme Dennison designed chassis,
but couldn’t source enough Ford Prefect parts and so sold the
body and chassis as a kit car. About 10 cars were completed by Weltex
and 10 bodies sold between 1956 and 1961.
their own chassis the Mistral was marketed by Elmslie & Flockton
Ltd in Dunedin as "New Zealand's First Kitset Sports Car".
The chassis was available for E93A, 100E and 105E Ford engines and running
gear. Prices for the New Zealand car were £135 for the body and
£95 for the chassis. A list of extras was of course available
and included Front screen, hard top and the badge pictured above. The
company boasted that one of their own cars, fitted with a Inlet Over
Exhaust cylinder head could reach the scary speed of 110mph.
One of the Weltex Mistral bodies was fitted to the Stanton Special,
which set the New Zealand land speed record at that time.
In 1989 a New Zealander, Roger Wilson, established Wilson Classics Sports
Cars with the aim of building Mistral sports cars for use in classic
car racing and for touring. A set of moulds were taken to modernize
the original Mistral body. Several of the cars were built and successfully
raced but demand was insufficient for a sustainable business and the
The first kit Mistral built in Christchurch. Bob Blackburn in the driving