segunda-feira, 3 de junho de 2013

What happened to Mick Hughes' Bedford Star Gazer?

Mick Hughes' Star Gazer was probably the UK's most radical van in 1981. It won several awards and appeared on the cover of Street Machine magazine (Sep.81). Unfortunately this van seems to have disappeared around 1985/1986...
I found the following post on the Rods 'n' Sods forum:

"I have thought long and hard before posting on this thread, but I think it is important to record the facts behind this amazing piece of work and Mick himself, who had the vision, skill, and unbelievable drive to build this van, he was a real unsung hero, from a disadvantaged background, he earned very little, but had an astonishing drive to build his dream, and what he did to realise it is nothing less than amazing. I often wonder what he would have gone on to do if his life had been a little bit more blessed.....

Winter 80, I had been told by good mate Dennis Wiison of a guy chopping a CF in Pitsmoor, Sheffield , (Pitsmoor was and still is a tough area) in my book anyone venturing on a project like this was worth visiting with a view to getting them to join Steel City Cruisers, (I was Chairman at the time) we turned up at the back of a pub yard, dark and raining, we walked down the yard and Mick was working away with a hand lamp, plugged into the pub (without them knowing) we walked around the van, and I can vividly remember thinking this thing is going to be something special, Mick told me that he'd been given the van by a scrap yard, so he was in front before he started, he had no electricity, and no power tools if he had the power! So he cut the roof of with a hacksaw blade, with a handle made of masking tape by hand over a three week period! He then with nothing but a pair of gas bottles created what you see in the picture above.

He had welded up the basic shape you see,and sanded with 40 grit by hand prior to filling, cause he had no grinder, and was starting and stopping based on when he could afford a can of filler, he had learned to shape and mould many of the body mods in expandable foam them recreate in glassfibre (years before it ever became the norm) he was quite amazing, but with very little income, four kids and all the drama that goes with it was struggling.
Over the next few months a lot of people were "badgered/courted' into supporting Mick and his amazing project, and Im sure I've forgotten people/companies that should be remembered for there support, but the one's I do remember were Challenger Tyres and Exhausts (wheels and tyres) who as the other sponsers saw the potential and gave Mick help where ever they could, autowindsceens, for the glass, Spraycentre Sheffield, for paint and materials, but Mick did all the graffed, and only came up with the name STARGAZER after sitting in the van the night the screen was bonded in. Mick was amazing, his life was hard, I remember the shows all wanted him to bring his van but because he was skint would turn up at the gates with his kids hid in the back of the van, so he could save a couple of quid, and he'd probably had to nick a few gallons of diesel to get there, I am so pleased he deservadly made front page of Street Machine, no one in my opinion deserved it more.
Very sadly only a couple of years later Mick took his own life, a terrible waste of talent, I often wonder what he'd have followed Stargazer with?.......... it would have been amazing I'm sure, bless you Mick."

STAR GAZER at the 1981 NATS

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