Lotus Elan

Ginetta

PostPost by: trw99 » Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:27 pm

Well talk of the Ginetta G4 over on the "New garage mate for my S1" thread got me thinking. I know TerryP had a G15 for a long while and perhaps he will be along to reminisce soon. But I recall the G15 as an intriguing wee car, along with the Clan Crusader, both fitted with the Coventry Climax based Imp Sport engine.

At one time in my youth I moved away from my Mini/Cooper roots and was tempted by a Sunbeam Stiletto, fitted with the same Imp Sport engine. The Imp site says "The Sunbeam Stiletto is considered by many to be the most desirable, certainly the most sought after, Imp model." (!) Specs were: 68mm x 60.375mm, 875cc single OHC aluminium. Twin Stromberg 125CD carbs (where have I heard that before?), cylinderhead had improved gasflow and larger inlet valves, higher lift cam, stronger pistons, oil cooler, 6?in. Laycock diaphragm self-adjusting clutch, the superb standard Imp gearbox, all synchromesh. 0-50 in 10.6 secs and top speed 90mph.

It wasn't a bad little car and the engine was great - until it caught fire on the A4221 at the top of the hill coming north out of Bicester! So it was back to Minis for me after that. But I always had a secret yearning for a Ginetta or Clan until the Sprint came along.

Tim
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PostPost by: nebogipfel » Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:38 pm

A dear and sadly late friend of mine used to refer to his Imp as "The Stanley Steamer" or "The Pigeon Toed Pusher" ......I can't think why ..... :lol:

They were good little engines when they ran OK and the Imp was in many ways a far superior car to the Mini just never properly developed prior to launch.

Not that this has much to do with G4's of course.
John

No longer active on here, I value my privacy.
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PostPost by: terryp » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:19 pm

Hello Tim ...I'm here! yes I had a G15 for 17 years. We only sold it to finance the move to France. It was a great car. I did a few sprints as well.
It went though many engine specs
When bought - Standard 875cc sport + Nikki twin choke carb!
Then - Standard 875cc Sport + Twin Strombergs 125CD
Then - 998cc + Standard Imp Sport Head + 150CD Strombergs ...........(with 125CD Covers for Scrutineers!)
Then - 998cc + Full Race Head , Rally Cam + Twin 40 Webers - Yippee!!!
I know this isn't the place to say but its a lovely engine, better than a twink as it was completely designed as an overhead cam engine. No funny covers to leak
0 to 60 in less than 6 secs , revved to 8000 rpm with ease , and sounded like a formula 1 car!
Car itself was like a simplified Elan , handling was amazing.
I could remove the engine in under an hour lowered on a trolley jack.
I did consider buying my old car back recently, but SHMBO is still after the LHD Elan!

That G4 looks amazing, it must be one of the nicest looking cars ever.
As you can gather I am a big Ginetta fan.

Tim your right with your Sumbeam , it was easily the most desirable. I did have for a while along side the Ginetta a Hillman Imp Californian with Spot lights positioned as to look like a Stiletto!!

Terry
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PostPost by: elj221c » Wed Oct 05, 2011 11:51 am

Ah, yes, the G15. A very nice little car. I helped a friend build one from a kit. Herald front suspension so very similar to the Elan but with the Triumphs turning circle, if I remeber rightly.
They were a bit more tricky on the limit than an Elan because of the rear engine but my friend had good success with trials because of the rear weight bias.
I had a Sunbeam Imp Sport at the time. I think it was better than the Stilleto as that cars rear window didn't open like the saloon which also restricted access to the engine as the engine cover was shorter. I wasn't so keen on the twin headlamps' look, either. Mine rode on Hartwell shorter springs, modified front hub carriers to change the 'pigeon toe'd' look to negative camber and 5.5" rims rolling on Avon Wide safety Ovals, THE Formula Ford tyre of the time.
I also had dealings with a couple of race G12s. One Richard Dodkins of Stafford owned, the other was bought as an ex hillclimb car as a replacement for another friend's Lotus 23. I remember them as being rather 'agricultural' in the chassis department but maybe that was because I was used to the spindly 23!
Roy
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PostPost by: terryp » Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:06 pm

elj221c wrote:They were a bit more tricky on the limit than an Elan because of the rear engine


I think the handling was better on the G15 up to the limit ....but then you lose it! Elans are a bit more progressive!
Terry
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PostPost by: elj221c » Wed Oct 05, 2011 3:00 pm

elj221c wrote:Ah, yes, the G15. A very nice little car. I helped a friend build one from a kit.
I had a Sunbeam Imp Sport at the time.


Here they are together in '73, I think. I sold the Imp a little while after getting my Elan.
A couple of points I remember about the G15. The fit on the door was not good but in a different way to our cars. The frame had a straight top to 'fit' a curved body aperture and the headlight pods could be unbolted and slid up in a slot to meet lighting requirements. A poor man's 'pop-up'?
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PostPost by: terryp » Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:41 pm

My one! (at my wedding!!!!)
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PostPost by: 65ginetta » Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:44 am

All this searching for our youth and cars of our dreams really dates us. I remember as a BMC apprentice going to the racing car show in London in 1965 and queing to sit in a G4, I wanted an Elan but on apprentice money it was out of the question, the G4 was a just over 500 GBP's and I couldn't afford either car so I got a cheap day Saturday return on the BR from Coventry for 5 bob and pretended I could afford the G4,
In those days I weighed 161 lbs and could get in both cars really easily, now I'm 215 lbs and its a bit of a struggle to get in the Elan & the G4's are like I'm an escape artist from a circus act, but once I'm in I'm back down to 161 lbs again and my youth returns until I need to get out to pee.
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PostPost by: bilcoh » Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:48 am

65ginetta wrote:..., but once I'm in I'm back down to 161 lbs again and my youth returns until I need to get out to pee.


And this is why we love on these cars so much. They are time machines, less so in that they are examples of a bygone era, but for their ability to transport us back through the decades.

Great post. Thanks for sharing.

Dave
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PostPost by: Jens » Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:03 am

bilcoh wrote:And this is why we love on these cars so much. They are time machines, less so in that they are examples of a bygone era, but for their ability to transport us back through the decades.

Dave


I hope not!
My car is older than me. In combination with time travel that might add some unwanted features.
"Make the suspension adjustable and they will adjust it wrong - look at what they can do to a Weber carburetor in just a few moments of stupidity with a screwdriver..." (CABC)

My one problem is that distance keeps me from my Elan. (36/5395)
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:24 am

:(
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:53 am

At the end of last year I saw a white G4 in a town called Fukuoka, I'd never seen a G4 before, it looked fabulous. I couldn't tell if it was an original or something built more recently. Not sure what it was powered by but it sounded well. I'd be happy to own one :)

I recently saw this on pistonheads http://www.pistonheads.com/ginetta/defa ... ryId=24453

If only I could afford it and sadly I don't think I've got the minerals to drive it...
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PostPost by: Jens » Fri Oct 07, 2011 7:22 am

I had the pleasure of driving one of the few Swedish built Ginetta G34's a couple of years ago. My father bought one at the factory in ?lvalen.
It packed a two-litre, turbo-charged, Volvo engine wich produced somewhere around 240BHP and a whole lot of torque wich really set the little thing flying. As it weighed in at 610 kg it actually had a power to weight ratio that beat most of the supercars as well as all the WRC-canons. It sure as hell was sheer joy to drive in most conditions. Only snow, rain and speed in excess of 265 km/h were slightly frightning.

The snow because, well, just because a rear wheel drive car with little or no weight on the rear axle really isn't made for winter driving. On a cold and crisp day (-5, dry roads and sun) it was joyfull though. I used to put my big leather jacket on together with my helmet and racing gloves just to have a go with the softtop removed.

The rain was frightening and annoying. First of all the rear had severe tendencies of going around corners following it's own path instead of following the front wheels - probably because the car asked the driver in a less then polite way to keep spanking the throttle, no matter what.
The other part, the annoying part, merely consisted of a handfull of holes where the soft-top and the side windows just didn't mate upp very well. As soon as it started raining a little bit you had the option of taking the top down (should you have it on, wich almost never happened) in order to remain dry as the wind took the rain over the cockpit. You were then limited to speeds beteween 70 and 110 km/h. Under 70 the rain wouldn't get pushed out of the way - over 110 the rain would be forced down your neck from behind and it would most surely hit the inside of the windscreen.

The speeds above 265 were a menace, a serious and dangerous menace. The car just wasn't designed to travel at MACH 0,25 and tried it's best to get airborne at those speeds. That is also the only reason that we have never achieved the theorethical top speed of 298 km/h. I reached somewhere between 270 and 275 with the wind in my back once - but almost cr*pped my pants when the nose lifted enough to make the steering more than just a little unsensitive.

Of all the fun memories I cherish there are two that stick out. The first one was in early April. My dad had set off on a weekend trip to Gothenburg, 200 km further to the south. When he left on friday, the sun was shining. He then choose to leave the soft top home, wich would later turn out to be a bad and cold decision. Come sunday, come snow. When he - after five hours of tailgating trucks on the highway (overtaking was impossible, the car wanted to turn itself around as soon as he just looked at the throttle) he finally managed to come home. Half an hour earlier he called and asked, demanded, that the Sauna was put on. I found out just why when he asked me to park the car, he actually didn't say car - in his eyes it was "that f*ck*ng bathtub" in the garage. He had managed to fill the footwell with about 5 cm of meltwater. As a consequence he had been sitting in ice cold water for the last hours.

The other memory I cherish is the last trip I made with it. I started in Malm? early on a Sunday and headed towards Nyk?ping, a 5 hour drive if you stick to the speed limits - more or less. I knew this would bve the last trip, so I gunned it from the start. After giving the odd biker a scare (they were seriously surprised that they had to downshift to stick with me) I got involved in a highway-and-b-road-battle with a Toyota Supra. Eventually, the Supra driver won. Not on speed or agility but on a technical KO. I gunned it on the ramp towards the highway. Second gear, third gear, fourth gear, and fifth gear - it all just seemed to work like a dream. I saw the Supra getting smaller and smaller in the mirror untill there was a loud bang from under the bonnet. A bang and a complete lack of power accompanied by a different engine note and clouds of black smoke. I managed to get to the nearest filling station and opened the bonnet - afraid that something had gone seroiously pear shaped. It took me a while to see that there was a big turbo-hose that had popped of. A screwdriver, a cigarette and a cup of coffee was all that was nescessary to fix the car and calm my nerves. I remember just enjoying the rest of the trip in a more mature way.

Unfortunately dad sold it a few years ago, a decision he really regrets.

Cheers
Jens
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My one problem is that distance keeps me from my Elan. (36/5395)
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PostPost by: terryp » Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:58 am

Well this is a coincidence , my old car is for sale!!!
http://www.carandclassic.co.uk/car/C262827

Sorry to all regarding the number plate (It was an L Reg OEC455L) .... I did not pay very much for it but now feel ashamed that I had a personalised plate! :wink:

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PostPost by: ardee_selby » Thu Nov 03, 2011 12:17 pm

terryp wrote:Well this is a coincidence , my old car is for sale!!!
http://www.carandclassic.co.uk/car/C262827


Very nice! Seems a good price to me.

terryp wrote:Sorry to all regarding the number plate (It was an L Reg OEC455L) .... I did not pay very much for it but now feel ashamed that I had a personalised plate! :wink:
Terry


Why ashamed? It's not one of those contrived efforts that stretches credibilty.

Or is it the "B"..."Baldric"? "Beverly"? "Biggerstaff"? :wink:

Don't answer that!

(If anyones interested, part of series on a G15 build can be found here, in my Drop-Box.
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/45450049/Ginett ... G15_01.jpg
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/45450049/Ginett ... G15_02.jpg
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/45450049/Ginett ... G15_03.jpg )

Cheers - Richard
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