Top 10 Specialist Sports Cars
Britain’s cottage industry of specialist sports car manufacturers has produced some remarkable machines. We outline ten of the best
Lots Of Trouble, Usually Serious. It’s a tired old acronym, but if anything it befits Lotus as a business much more than its products. This revered marque for so long mirrored the fortunes and motivations of its talismanic founder, Colin Chapman. His envelope-pushing tendencies were all too apparent when the Elite broke cover in October 1957. The concept of an all-glassfibre monocoque was new, the tiny coupé boasting a drag coefficient of a still credible 0.29cd. And powering this brave new world? An all-alloy four-banger conceived originally as a fireman’s pump. From a meagre 1216cc, the Elite was capable of 110mph.
AutoFact: Lotus lost money on all 1030 made to 1963.
For Lotus Elites for sale, click here.
Ginetta G4 Series 2
This shapely tiddler was conceived in the 1950s, arrived in the early ’60s and never really left. At a time when most of its rivals are already four decades into a career lull, you can still buy a G4, albeit with a Ford Duratec engine under the flip-up front rather a pre-crossflow four-pot. Introduced in late 1960, and officially unveiled at the following January’s Racing Car Show, the G4 instantly found favour. First among developments was a hardtop, then the Lotus Eleven-like rear bodywork was junked in late ’62 in favour of an 8in longer, more rounded affair. This became known as the Series 2 edition.
AutoFact: In 1964, Ginetta introduced the race-inspired G4R version with independent rear suspension.
For Ginettas for sale, click here.
Unveiled at the 1964 Racing Car Show, the timber-hulled, Volvo-engined Marcos 1800GT was intended as a stopgap until a proposed three-seater, mid-engined sports car came online. It never did as the 1800GT was greeted with acclaim. Unfortunately, the lofty £1500 asking price was a barrier to success, yet it cost more to produce. In a bid to make it more accessible, the car’s de Dion rear end was phased out in place of a live axle, but the corresponding drop in price to £1340 didn’t result in an increase in sales. Marcos was in danger of tanking so, in 1966, the much cheaper 1.5-litre Ford four-cylinder was substituted.
**AutoFact:*** Stylist Dennis Adams, together with brother Peter, also created the Probe design studies.
MG Midget Mk III 1971
1971 MG Midget MK III GAN5 Convertible. The 1275cc A-Series I4 has been stripped & rebuilt, with the cylinder head converted to unleaded petrol in the process along with new spark plugs, HT leads and full service. Brakes have undergone a complete overhaul. Chassis needed minor welding work & is now in very good condition, rust free. New stainless steel exhaust has also been fitted. The list of worFor Sale | 22 May 2018 | Lincoln, UK£ 7,995
BMW Z3 Roadster 1996
On offer is my personal 1996 007 Edition BMW Z3 with 37,000 original miles. I am an automotive journalist at Autoclassics, cassiccars.com, and at Sports Car Market magazine and I searched for a 007 edition Z3 for 4 years before finding one. It is a 5 speed manual equipped car (half of the 100 cars were automatics) and what sold me on it is that it has every single piece of it's original documentFor Sale | 22 May 2018 | Connecticut, USA$ 25,000
STUDEBAKER R10 PANEL VAN 1950
Studebaker R10 Panel Van 1950 rare collector’s item. This Studebaker R10 was originally delivered as Panel Van, a very rare model. This unique appearance was in a museum for several years. This beautiful Panel Van has deep red paint with beige striping. The interior of this Studebaker has a marvellous metal dashboard with the original Studebaker ‘climatize controls’. The cargo space is hugeFor Sale | 22 May 2018 | Kleiweg 1 5145NA Waalwijk, The Netherlands, Industry No. 1302€ 24,950
1952 Plymouth Cambridge
** IMPORTED FROM THE DRY STATE OF TEXAS BACK IN 2016, THIS EXAMPLE IS NOT ONLY MOT & TAX EXEMPT, BUT IT’S ALSO RUST FREE & IN SUPERB ORDER THROUGHOUT **. This beautiful 1952 Plymouth Cambridge 2 door coupe is finished in red coachwork with a contrasting oatmeal and red interior. The car was originally imported into the UK from Texas back in 2016 and it is a totally rust free thanks to it’s locFor Sale | 22 May 2018 | OFFICE 2, GATE 1, TEC PARK, TENENS WAY, BOSTON, LINCOLNSHIRE PE21 7PA£ 17,995
FRAZER NASH LE MANS REP - CROSTHWAITE & GARDINER
Frazer Nash are one of the best known names in motor sport despite only producing just over 400 cars during their 33 years of production. These light, well handling cars are the benchmark to which all cars of the period are compared and the array of events in which they competed was quite incredible and included Le Mans, Mille Miglia, Targa Florio and the TT to name but a few. Perhaps the most iFor Sale | 22 May 2018 | Gloucestershire GL7 5NX England£ POA
Citroën 2CV6 1987
In 1934 Michelin took over the bankrupt Citroën company and the new management ordered a market survey to determine what type of car was needed by the large rural population which could not yet afford cars. Citroën used the survey results to prepare a design brief for a low-priced, rugged "umbrella on four wheels" that would enable four people to transport 50 kgs of farm goods to market at 50For Sale | 22 May 2018 | Mortlake, London, UK£ 9,995
PORSCHE 996 C2 TARGA- BLACK - BASALT BLACK METALLIC
Information. 2004 Porsche 996 C2 Targa- Black. 104000 Miles. Tiptronic. Beige Leather Interior. Satellite Navigation. Telephone Module. BOSE surround system. CD Changer. BOSE Surround Sound system. Memory Seats. Fully Electric Seats. Heated Seats. Part Electric Seats. Silver/White Dials. Climate Control. 18 Alloy Wheels. Rear Wiper. Porsche Crest Emboss. Full Service History. INTERESTED IN VEHICLEFor Sale | 22 May 2018 | Hendon Way Motors, 393-395 Hendon Way, London NW4 3LP, England£ POA
JAGUAR E-TYPE SERIES II 4.2 ROADSTER - GUNMETAL GRY
Information. 1969 JAGUAR E-TYPE SERIES II 4.2 ROADSTER. Matching Number Example. 250 miles (since full restoration) - 6 figure cost today! Heritage Certificate available. Only 5 Former Keepers, complete history, detailed and documented. Series 2 4.2 - combines pure lines of launch car - with added power over 3.8 model. LHD. Manual Gearbox. Gunmetal Grey Coachwork. Red Leather Interior. 15” ChromFor Sale | 22 May 2018 | Hendon Way Motors, 393-395 Hendon Way, London NW4 3LP, England£ 125,000
Founded in 1959 by butcher Giles Smith and German-born ex-Prisoner of War Bernard Friese (Gilbern being a contraction of their forenames), the first model, the GT, was based around Austin A35 components. With gradual developments to the model, culminating with the BMC B-series-powered GT1800, production ran at around one unit a week by 1965. A year on, an all-new car was launched, the Genie being a much larger 2+2 coupé with Ford V6 power. Essentially a more sophisticated variation of the Genie, the Invader went on sale in 1969 with constant developments refining the concept. The range was augmented with an estate variant from 1971, but the firm expired three years later.
AutoFact: A Trevor Fiore-styled, mid-engined car was in the throes of creation when Gilbern tanked.
The Crusader was created by a breakaway band of former Lotus men headed by Paul Haussauer. The car’s unorthodox outline was penned by John Frayling who had previously styled the Lotus Europa, while its glassfibre monocoque was largely the work of Brian Luff. Powered by an 875cc Sunbeam Stiletto four-pot, the Crusader could top 100mph thanks to its drag coefficient of just 0.32cd. The wedge wonder was well received when launched in 1971. Sadly, for all its considerable promise, the Crusader’s life was a brief one. The Fuel Crisis and a host of other outside forces killed off the Clan marque in late 1973.
AutoFact: There were several attempts at a marque revival, but none was officially sanctioned.
Elva Courier MkI-III
Launched in 1957, the capable Courier featured a glassfibre body and a tubular frame designed by marque instigators Frank Nichols and Peter Knott. Power came from a 1489cc MGA engine. The Courier MkII appeared in 1958. Powered by the latest 1622cc version of the MGA unit, the new strain was physically distinguishable from its predecessor by its curved windscreen, which replaced the previous split-screen arrangement. In 1961, Elva’s US importer failed to pay for a number of cars so there was no option but to liquidate the company. Production rights passed to Trojan Ltd, which recommenced manufacture in September of the following year with the revised MkIII.
AutoFact: ‘Elva’ was a contraction of ‘Elle Va’, French for ‘She Goes’.
Strictly speaking, the genesis of the Griffith was sparked in New York rather than the marque’s spiritual home of Blackpool. American Andrew Jackson ‘Jack’ Griffith installed a 289cu in Ford V8 into a TVR Grantura MkIII to create the Griffith 200, which went on sale in April ’64. The Griffith Car Corporation followed through with the uprated 400 seven months later, TVR having already launched its own variation – with Griffith as the model name rather than the marque identity – at the beginning of the year. The tag was dropped in January ’67 to coincide with the model’s relaunch as the Tuscan.
AutoFact: Jack Griffith found greater commercial success converting mainstream fodder into convertibles.
For TVRs for sale, click here.
The Piper marque was the brainchild of George Henrotte who, together with his business partner Bob Gayler, produced tuning parts. The move into building cars occurred after a customer commissioned a sports-racer. This, in a roundabout way, led to the GTT which featured a backbone chassis and Austin-Healey Sprite (later Ford) power. Unveiled at the 1967 Racing Car Show, the project was undone by the death of Robin Sherwood who had acquired the rights to build Pipers in series. Works manager Bill Atkinson stepped into the breach in ’69. A revised version of the GTT, the P2, arrived in 1971. The marque later operated under the Embrooke Engineering banner, the last car being made in ’74.
AutoFact: The GTT was styled by artist Tony Hilder.
The specialist sports car industry is littered with intriguing what-might-have-been stories, the 515 being among the most unfortunate. The Falcon marque had been at the vanguard of the ’50s ‘specials’ movement, but this bold coupé marked a major change of direction. Arriving at the January 1963 Racing Car Show, it featured a chassis made by Progress Engineering, 1.5-litre Ford power and styling by mysterious Brazilian Tom Rohonyi. One car was equipped with a Coventry Climax ‘four’, and there was briefly talk of a Le Mans bid, but a changing of the guard saw the model canned before it had a chance to shine.
AutoFact: Rohonyi is believed to be a fictitious name. The actual stylist was moonlighting so didn’t want to be credited.
Unveiled at the 1965 Racing Car Show, the G10 roadster was a classic in the making even if some onlookers couldn’t resist commenting upon its fuzzy likeness to an MGB. Such comments were understandable when you factor in the use of the B’s doors and windscreen. Priced at £2729, the 4.7-litre Ford V8-engined G10 wasn’t cheap but it was well equipped. Fast too, even if the speedo that read to 220mph was a touch optimistic. Unfortunately, the G10 was axed after only four cars were made. However, the model was reworked to feature MGB power and Triumph Vitesse derived front suspension. The resultant G11 didn’t fare much better, though.
AutoFact: The G10 won on its debut at Brands Hatch in 1965 when driven by Chris Meek.
For Ginettas for sale, click here.
Pictures courtesy of Rota Archive
Classic Cars for Sale
A complete bare shell restoration of a dry, rust-free car. Body and paint by Apex Autobody in Denver, Colorado. Outstanding panel fit, with original floor pans and upper body sheet metal. Engine and transmission rebuild by Brad Berry in Denver. Full suspension rebuild, all instruments, wiring, brightwork, full interior from A to Z. An outstanding, correct, matching numbers example restored from a
THIS DEFENDER HAS HAD A FULL RESTORATION, IT LOOKS AND DRIVES AMAZING. MECHANICALLY A1, BODY WORK IS EXTREMELY CLEAN FOR THE YEAR AND IN MY OPINION IT'S MINT.IT'S HAD A PROFESSIONAL OVEN BAKED PAINT JOB AND A NEW PUMA BONNET WHICH SET THIS CAR OFF A TREAT!!! ITS FULLY FITTED OUT WITH KBX GRILLS AND VENTS, THIS FULL KIT IS NOT CHEAP AND COSTS OVER £700 ALONE. INTERIOR IS AGAIN IN GREAT CONDITI
This is one of the best 356C series Porsches anywhere. Rare and beautiful colors, matching numbers, full-factory options, and numerous show awards. A restoration to this level costs well over $125,000. A California black plate car. Very hard to duplicate Restored by Porsche 356 expert, Don Emory, of Fallbrook, Calif. A bare shell, full restoration of all components. Has original upper body shel
It is extremely rare to find a matching numbers and colors SC Coupe with original body shell and floor pans. Just serviced and ready to drive – a beautiful example! Restored some 20 years ago, this is an outstanding example still in its original colors of Ruby Red with Fawn vinyl interior. It has survived with its original upper body sheet metal. All serial number stampings are in both doors,