Ginetta. (Great Britain) 1958 to date.
Ginetta Cars Limited was founded in 1958 by the four Walklett brothers, the business being an extension of their passion for motor racing and as a result cars produced by the Company were predominantly race or road/race. This was the era of the post war specials which saw the first stirrings of other marques which, like Ginetta, have gone on to achieve great things; Marcos, TVR and especially Lotus.
The early models were very much specials, creating rudimentary chassis's for standard Ford mechanical components which, whilst performing rather better in a Ginetta frame than a Ford chassis, still lacked that certain something that instantly attracts sports car enthusiasts to the right machinery.
For Ginetta this happy reaction occurred instantly in the wake of their G4 model which was unveiled at the Racing Car Show in 1961. Whilst the G2 and G3 models had been aimed at the enthusiast who wished to build his or her own car to achieve economical and enjoyable transport, the G4 was aimed squarely at the club racer who wanted a cost effective weekday road car and a weekend racer. In this it was aided by the new Ford engines, which suited the Ginetta to a T, giving it the necessary performance to firstly beat the MGBs and TRs before taking on and winning against such exotica as the Jaguar 3.8s. Such ability soon translated to an escalating tally of race successes at which point the mainstream motoring press took an interest firmly establishing the Ginetta marque on the motoring map.
Success with the G4 prompted designer Ivor Walklett to ever more ambitious designs and further success with the Imp powered G15 and the Chrysler 1725 powered G21 amply demonstrated that the G4 was no fluke. Both cars underwent full type approval testing and were available as kits or factory built cars. Ginetta had become a respected manufacturer of outstandingly capable sports cars but while Marcos, TVR and Lotus became ever more out of reach to the grass roots enthusiasts they had originally set out to serve, Ginetta preferred to concentrate on innovative and affordable machinery for the true enthusiast.
There are not many Companies that can lay claim to such a profusion of diverse products all of which were fully developed in house.
As well as road going sports cars, the Company produced single seaters. The G8 and G9 formula 3 cars were great designs but manufacturing difficulties led to the projects being shelved. Single seater success came with the G17 and G18 cars designed for Formula Ford. However, the G19 a BRM V8 2litre and the ultimate ambition the G20 a 3 litre BRM engined Formula 1 car never materialised. The Company also produced classic sports racing cars like the G12, G16 and G22 as well the awesome G10 which took the racing scene by storm due to the huge performance derived from Ford's 4.7 litre (289 cu in) V8 and was well up to the dynamic task providing 271bhp and giving a top speed in excess of 150mph.
In the eighties, Ginetta returned to the kit car market first with an updated G4 model now designated G27 for which enthusiasm had never waned and later with a range of sports saloons designated G26 to G31 using Ford Cortina and Sierra components utilising both 4-cylinder and V6 engines. These again were extremely successful and provided the impetus to once again take a crack at a type approved, factory built car. This was originally constructed as mid engined, Ford Fiesta based G25 but later upgraded to G32. Again a thoroughly competent, extremely affordable performance sports car was made available to the mass market. The car was successfully productionised and launched as was the much loved G33 a V8 powered car which again traced it's roots back to the G4.
Three of the founding Walklett brothers retired in 1989 while Ivor remained until 1992. Today the Company is owned by a consortium of enthusiast businessmen from Belgium, France, Japan, South Africa?and the UK and though much has changed in the Company's structure, the aims remain much as they ever were; to continue producing innovative, capable and above all, affordable sports cars.
The current all rear wheel drive model range being the G20, utilising Ford Zetec power, and the G40, the latest revamped version of the legendary G33, using either Ford Zetec or V6 engines. All are available in kit and fully built form and continue the company's proud heritage, which is seen at it's best on the track.
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