July 2000 - Part 1   (click here to view full page in new window)
Originally published on The Classical Gas web site, moved here on 1 Feb 2002

Rhona's Buckler

One of the really nice things about Classic Trial’s is the variety of machinery and crews taking part. Every event seems to bring out something or somebody new and the March Hare was no exception with Rhona Boswell making her début in the family Buckler Mk 6. The storey of both car and driver are fascinating.

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Rhona Boswell in action in her Buckler Mk 6 on Falcon Motor Clubs millennium March Hare Trial.

Rhona’s Buckler was re-built from a wreck by her husband Peter, who joined the MCC in 1992. Peter made a new body himself, using the nose cone from Stan Hibbert’s Mk 53. Peter used the car quite a lot on MCC events but Rhona never passengered him. Sadly Peter had a heart attack while he was at work a few years ago and died.

Rhona decided to keep the car and to keep it on the hills where it belonged. This was in the tradition of the cars history as it was used to hard work and had received a trophy for “most used car” at shows. It needed a lot of work but this wasn’t a problem as her daughters partners, Gary Booth and Steve Maskell are both pretty keen and it was Gary who drove the Mk 6 on the 1999 March Hare. This year Rhona decided to drive herself and enjoyed herself, despite a bit of clutch trouble. Lets hope she repeats the experience.

Some other Bucklers

There are quite a few Bucklers in the MCC. Mike Furse has one (or is it more?) and so does Exeter organiser Ken Green who owns a Mk 5 and also runs the Buckler register. You may have seen this car on this years Clee when it was driven by Dave Lucas.

Stan Hibberd is another enthusiast. Stan bough his car back in the early 60’s, used it mainly for autocross and has owned it ever since. He used to race it back then and it made it’s re-acquaintance with a race-track when Stan drove it in a most spirited fashion in a lunchtime demonstration at last years MCC Silverstone bike meeting. Not bad for a guy who had recently recovered from a heart operation!

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MCC General Secretary Mike Furse driving his Buckler Mk 5
Derek Buckler generally supplied his cars without any bodywork, thus avoiding the owners paying any purchase tax.

Bucklers

The Buckler was one of the first commercially available “specials” or “kit cars”. Derek Buckler started by making a car for himself in his well-equipped engineering shop back in 1947. DDP 201 had a tubular construction, space frame chassis and a Ford 10 engine.

Derek used his car with some success in club motorsport of the day and decided to go into production with the design. He had referred to his own car as the “Buckler Colonial”, but he started production with the Buckler Mk V! Derek’s expertise was in building the frame or chassis. Constructed from 40 ton/sq. in tensile CDS alloy steel tube these frames weighed in at 60 to 75 lbs., depending on the model, and being extremely rigid did not require the panelling to help stiffen up the chassis. In consequence, most Bucklers are very light, some weighing little over nine hundredweight. Derek’s idea was to sell the Mk 5 as a general-purpose two seater competition car, that you could use for anything, from 1172 formula racing to trials.

The first production Mk 5 was ERD 96, purchased for speed events by Mike Parrott. Mike bought from Buckler without the body, which was made from aluminium by the man next door! Derek generally sold his cars without a body, thus avoiding paying the 30% purchase tax of the day. The guy next door built bodies for a lot of the cars but owners were free to go where they wished which is why many Bucklers look so different.

Derek went on to build about 500 Bucklers in his Reading factory before ill health forced him to sell-up in 1962. The new owners only built a couple more cars before they closed the business. The number of cars that still survive are testimony to the strength and success of the original design. The great variety of specifications is due to the sheer number of options that were available, most of which were produced in-house. I.F.S conversions, special springs and wheels, alternative diff and box ratio’s and many stages of engine tuning were just for starters. Clearly an enthusiasts dream.

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Want to find out more about Bucklers? Check out these links:-
bulletBritish Speciality Cars - Buckler
bulletFord 8 & 10 Car Club Inc - Technical Topics
bulletBUCKLER MK VI

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