Tag Archives: John Gordon

A-Z of Car Stuff: BP is for British Plastic – Part 2

A-Z of Car Stuff

This is one in a series of posts on cars, drivers, designers etc. that have interested me over the years. I’ve bored my family and friends with this stuff for years – now it’s your turn!

See A-Z of Car Stuff page for more posts in this series.

So, what’s so special about British Plastic?

Having explained in Part 1 where the term “British Plastic” came from I just wanted to expand in Part 2 upon my thoughts as to how and why such an unusually large number of British fibreglass car manufacturers came and went during the ’50s,’60s and ’70s.

Continue reading A-Z of Car Stuff: BP is for British Plastic – Part 2

A-Z of Car Stuff: BP is for British Plastic – Part 1

A-Z of Car Stuff

This is one in a series of posts on cars, drivers, designers etc. that have interested me over the years. I’ve bored my family and friends with this stuff for years – now it’s your turn!

See A-Z of Car Stuff page for more posts in this series.

So, what’s so special about British Plastic?

A while back I bumped into a very nice chap at Donington Historic Festival who wanted to have a chat about our respective 911s. In the course of the conversation he almost guiltily confessed that although he really liked his 911 – his main passion was for “British Plastic”. His definition of “British Plastic”  was British cars with Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) bodywork built during the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.

In a scene reminiscent of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting – I had to own-up to having had a previous predilection for British Plastic myself through brief ownership of a TVR Vixen.  I obviously stressed that I had successfully overcome this problem and had since moved firmly into German metal.

The term “British Plastic” stuck in my head as it reminded me of the interesting cars that were around or on my potential shopping list during my “plastic period” in the late ’70s and I thought it merited a post or even two posts under my A to Z of Car Stuff page:-

British Plastic – Part 1 covers the following marques:-

  • Ashley, Berkely, Caterham, Clan, Costin, Daimler Davrian/Darrian, Elva, Fairthorpe, Falcon, Gilbern, Ginetta, Gordon Keeble & Jensen

British Plastic – Part 2 continues with:-

  • Kougar, Lenham, Lotus, Ogle, Marcos, Ogle, Peerless, Piper,  Reliant, RGS, Rochdale, Tornado, Turner, TVR, Unipower, Warwick and WSM

Read on……………….

Continue reading A-Z of Car Stuff: BP is for British Plastic – Part 1

Historic Sports Car Club – Silverstone Sat 17th Oct 2015

Having just been at Silverstone the previous Saturday for an AMOC meeting – the prospect of exposing myself to acute hypothermia two  weeks running wasn’t massively appealing. The Qataris could really learn a thing or two  from Silverstone about refrigerated sports venues for the 2022 World Cup!

Despite the Autumnal chill the packed program of HSCC championship finals drew a big crowd of hardy enthusiasts but their resilience was tested to the limit as various delays and incidents  led to the last item on the programme becoming a night race with all drivers being shown the “LIGHTS ON” board by the marshals as they rolled onto the track in the gathering dusk!

Continue reading Historic Sports Car Club – Silverstone Sat 17th Oct 2015

A-Z Of Car Stuff: H is for Hybrids (the Euro/US Variety)!

A-Z of Car Stuff

This is one in a series of posts on cars, drivers, designers etc. that have interested me over the years. I’ve bored my family and friends with this stuff for years – now it’s your turn!

See A-Z of Car Stuff page for more posts in this series.

So, what’s so special about Hybrids?

To my mind – there are hybrids and hybrids!

On the one hand – there are the modern internal combustion engine/battery powered vehicles built to save the planet and/or salve the collective consciences of automotive eco-warriors (isn’t that an oxymoron?).

On the other hand there are Euro/US Hybrids – sleek and elegant European styled cars with stonking great American V8s shoe-horned into their delicate chassis. These cars have a simple purpose in life – to tear-up roads and circuits at the fastest possible speed but in the best possible style and taste!

1) The special thing about petrol/electric hybrids is they’re NOT new. They were designed and driven donkey’s years ago thanks to Ferdinand Porsche.

2) The special thing about Euro/American hybrids is that they combine the best of European styling with the rugged power of American V8 engines. A number of specialist manufacturers have created beautiful and innovative sports cars, GTs and saloons that have graced the roads and race circuits of the world for years. Long may this Euro/US Hybrid cross-breeding programme continue.

Continue reading A-Z Of Car Stuff: H is for Hybrids (the Euro/US Variety)!

A-Z of Car Stuff: G is for Gordon Keeble

A-Z of Car Stuff

This is one in a series of posts on cars, drivers, designers etc. that have interested me over the years. I’ve bored my family and friends with this stuff for years – now it’s your turn!

See A-Z of Car Stuff page for more posts in this series.

So, what’s so special about Gordon Keeble?

1) The name! Let’s face it – if someone asks you what you’re driving these days and you respond by saying with “well actually old chap I’m driving a Gordon Keeble” it’s highly likely to be a conversation stopper. You might as well say – “I’m driving a Milton Keynes”.

2) Beautiful and understated Italian designed GT bodywork. This was a Giorgietto Guigaro design when he was still working for Bertone and it contains some design details which link it to other Guigaro designs for Alfa Romeo in particular. Unusually – the bodywork was executed in fibreglass instead of metal but this doesn’t detract from the overall beauty of the car.

3) Seriously powerful and flexible Chevy Corvette engine, all round disk brakes and De Dion suspension. Depite being manufactured in tiny numbers – there were some great design features on this car and using a race proven engine, Dunlop disk brakes and sophisticated De Dion rear suspension was a master stroke.

4) Its rarity but also it’s influence on cars to follow. Only 100 Gordon Keebles were made of which around 90 are thought to survive. Despite this – certain aspects of Gordon Keeble design had a profound influence on Giotto Bizzarrini in his creation of the Iso Rivolta GT, the Iso Grifo and the Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada/Corsa.

5) Its tortoise badge. This was a more than ironic touch as the car’s power train meant it was definitely no slouch with 70mph achievable in 1st gear and with a 140mph top speed. Continue reading A-Z of Car Stuff: G is for Gordon Keeble