9 October 2013

Ginetta G15 - The Walketts Impish Creation

Ginetta's first models were based on Ford parts and these early cars were often successful in club racing, especially the evergreen G4. The cars were designed and built by the four Walkett brothers: Bob, Ivor, Trevor and Douglas, at their base at Woodbridge in Suffolk; in the mid sixties they moved to Witham in Essex. More sports car with a competition bias followed and in 1964 a F3 chassis was built and work on a F2 car began. In 1969 a customer Formula Ford car, the G18, was built which showed some promise and another F3 car, the G19, based on the G18 was mooted but never built. In the same year Ginetta even announced the G20, a BRM V12-powered F1 car but again nothing resulted of it, so Ginetta decided to concentrate on the kit cars and leave the world of single seaters.

Built between 1968 and 1974, the G15 grew from the Walklett brothers desire to build an affordable road-going sports car. The G4, introduced in 1961 was really a specialist road/race car, the Ford V8-powered G10 was an MGB-based GT car designed for the US market, but was not permitted to enter the race series it was designed for; the related G11 was introduced for the UK market with saner MGB engine and parts.
In terms of volume, the G15 was Ginetta 's most successful car (over 600 built, but exact figures vary), probably due to the fact that it could be sold in kit form in the UK. Introduced at the 1967 London Motor Show, the body of the G15 was a semi-monocoque attached to a square tube separate chassis. Front suspension was courtesy of the Triumph Herald, while the engine, transaxle and trailing arm IRS were from the 55bhp Hillman Imp Sport. 0-60 mph was in 12.9 seconds while top speed was 95mph. Several orders were taken, however due to development problems no cars were delivered until mid-1968. These early cars had laid back Mini indicators, separate sidelights, small side windows and MGB door handles.

Production was at a steady trickle when Ginetta launched a series II with several small improvements, the biggest of which was the radiator moving from the rear of the car to the front. While the G15 was not intended to be raced, the fact that it was a Ginetta meant that some had found their way onto the racetrack, so the improved cooling was a welcome feature. The 1971 series III had more cosmetic improvements; the sidelights were gone, Imp indicators were now in place of the mini items, the rear side windows were also enlarged and Cosmic alloys replaced the 4.5x13" steels. From 1st April '73 G15s were only available fully built, due to the introduction of VAT. The series 4 had changes updated rear lights/indicators, steering lock and Morris Marina door handles. The last of the line Series 5 had an ABS-moulded dash and door panels.
Mention must be made of the US-only Super S; two cars exported to California were designed to accept 1600cc flat four VW engines and had modified body styling; they were built at Witham, long after G15 production had ceased at Sudbury, around 1976. They were designated as the 'G15 Super S' by the Walkletts.

Now we've whetted your appetite for a G15, here one for sale at Sussex Sports Cars.

'A rare opportunity for G15 enthusiasts is presented with the purchase of this car. This Ginetta has had only one previous owner, since its purchase in 1970, and has been used primarily as a road car. The original purchase receipt and detailed maintenance history are included with sale. Over the years a few adjustments have been made to improve performance but with the main principle of keeping the car as close to the original as possible.
An electric cooling fan has been added and the original 875cc sport engine was replaced with a 998cc Imp sport “Rally” engine, a factory optional extra. This change resulted in increased torque and a power output of around 70bhp.
The car has also had a rebuild; reinforcing plates were welded to the imp rear sub-frame of the chassis as well as the installation of a new trans-axial (sic). The body of the car had its original paint removed by hand prior to a re-spray. In addition: a high efficiency radiator was fitted, the lower chassis tubes were treated with waxoil and the cylinder head was machined to receive Wills rings gaskets.
As with many classic cars, work has been needed to keep this G15 in prime, road worthy, condition. It is a pleasure to say that any additions and rebuilds have made it more suitable to road conditions in 2012 while keeping the look and feel of a real classic.'

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