Buckler DD2

Origins of the Marque   -   Microplas

I
Mistral
Loosely based on the 1954 D Type Jaguar the Mistral was a very popular shell and was used by a number of firms to clothe their chassis inc Buckler, Fairthorpe and TVR.The Mistral 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 (on the DD2 chassis), Fairthorpe and TVR.
An early English Mistral with Ford 10 components now beautifully  restored in Sicily by Aldo Larosa

The UK Origins of the Mistral

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.
Mike Seale’s Tatra special built in Bellingham, Washington, USA in 1959. The car was built by then college student Mike Seale. Seale would go on to become an auto engineering professor and head of the dept. at Western Washington St. University. Running gear components were taken from a 1950 Tatra T-600 Tatraplan. Parts used from the Czech built car included the engine, transaxel, suspension and brakes, wheels, fuel tank, and steering wheel hub. The chassis and remaining components were fabricated by Dr. Seale. He raced the car at Westwood in British Columbia. He entered and raced in a number of events in 1960 and 61 at times running respectably but didn’t finish many contests as various fuel system problems arose. The 4 cyl. Was taken out after the 61 racing season. The chassis and body were lengthened 6 inches and a 1959 Corvette 283 c.i. smallblock was fitted. It again, campaigned at Westwood, becoming the D sports champion in 62 and again in 63.   Seales would go on to licence the car following the addition of lights, horn, etc. and the “gull wing” coupe configuration was adopted. Jeff Hammers purchased the car in 1976 and drove it on the street. He broke a ring gear in the transaxle at one point and following acquisition and rebuilt another unit,  replacing the Chev engine with an aluminum Olds unit.  
Microplas Mistrals have spread around the world. Below are a selection that are currently being restored. If you know of more, or would like yours included please email photos and details.
Dave Curto in California has a 1954 Porsche Pre-A pan with a Mistral body and has had the car restored by Redline Services. He says: The documents I have state it came from Europe (Germany) to New York City in 1957 purchased by Bryan Walker and was raced in the Kansas City region during the late 1950s and early 1960s. I have not found any actual race documents.I believe it is an early Mistral Body probably a Microplas. I found a blog which stated only two mistrals were ever made on a Porsche platform and I believe this is one of them. My car has aluminum side panels with a two piece Mistral body nose and tail. Great looking restoration results from Redline Services http://redlineservice.com/
Andrew Shepherd in UK. My Mistral soon to be restored. It has a tubular chassis of unknown design and Morris minor running gear. I have rebuilt an A series engine and box to go in it. I won't be racing it! More photos of restoration to come soon.