JoMoRo & Lystonia: Mini Racing Legends for Mini Racing Legends
The ’70s produced some glorious motorsport; and some of motorsport’s most charismatic and beautiful racing cars. Cars like the Porsche 917, Ferrari 512, and Lotus 72 were romping around circuits at the turn of the decade, and if you were two thirds the size of Jochen Rindt, and no less fearless, the car to have was a JoMoRo.
At the start of 1970, Jim Rose, Jim Morgan and Rod Manester left Alan Mann Racing to form JoMoRo and put their extensive motorsport expertise towards mass manufacturing a racing car for children. Alan Mann Racing had pedigree and experience: a decade preparing successful racing cars, and then cars for film, like the camera car, a Lola T70, for the film ‘Le Mans’. This would be a no holds barred affair; exploiting everything that they had learned on the track, as well as the modern technology and materials of the time.
The car that they designed and built was roughly two thirds the size of a 70s Formula One car, with adjustable pedals designed to suit the talented heels and toes of five to ten year old budding Brabhams. Fiberglass body panels wrapped around a monocoque chassis that sat on fully independent rose-jointed suspension and coil-over springs and dampers. We’re talking a Chapman-esque rachine machine!
It was powered by a three horsepower Aspera engine that was limited to 30 miles an hour, but capable of about 15 more. Three horses may seem a little on the asthmatic side, but the JoMoRo had the looks, the handling, and a loud pedal that actually made with the loud. What a fantastic machine!
Unfortunately it was one, like many others, that was doomed to a shorter run than it deserved. The high cost associated with such a high end and niche machine, combined with the 70s energy crisis, and a fire at JoMoRo’s Alton factory ended with the business closed and Jim Rose packing it in.
Jim Morgan and Rod Manester, however, stuck with it. Enter the Lystonia.
One of the difficulties with the JoMoRo was that its size limited it to the slightly anaemic market of five to ten year old racers with sponsors that could hook them up with such an amazing drive. The Lystonia is slightly larger, edgier, and more modern (for 1973); aimed at the US market, and a wider age bracket.
They have more grunt as well. Financial troubles meant that the specifications of each car varied considerably, but they are capable of 70 miles an hour in some 6 or 7 horsepower configurations, and over 100 in strengthened and tweaked variations that used 250cc motorbike motors and ran anti-roll bars and a full set of disc brakes.
Sadly, the 1973 oil crisis intervened early on in the Lystonia story and ended this incredible adventure. Only 14 of these beauties were built.
Both the JoMoRos and Lystonias are properly fast. Their designers’ expertise and F1 inspiration shines through in a proper racing machine – a far cry from a kids’ toy – and something that is sure to get the petrol pumping through any aspiring racer.
Via the web’s most complete repository of everything JoMoRo and Lystonia: www.jomoroandlystonia.com
Images via www.jomoroandlystonia.com