Preserving our British Motoring Heritage

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$14,500

An opportunity for a rarely seen British sports car in North America.

This 1970 Ginetta G15, series 3, no. 105 of 800 was imported into Canada in 2015 after being restored in the UK.  The car was rebuilt from the ground up intended for hillclimb and sprint racing that never came to fruition.

The last UK owner’s description says a lot.

The car was restored by the previous owner to a high standard but has been mildly used since so isn’t quite concours.  This being said it has won Best Modified trophy at the annual Ginetta Owner’s Club (GOC) meeting for the last two years.  It also won best Ginetta at the Imp National meeting in 2013 and second for best sports car at Tatton Park in 2014.  I’ve not entered any other competitions, so you could say the car has a 100% success rate.  GOC asked me to display my car at the National Classic Car Show last November so its now fairly well known to other GOC members.

 

The car was restored in 2012/13 using a new factory (one of the last four) chassis, which was strengthened in all the right places by the previous owner before being powder coated.  He did this because he had owned several G15’s and knew the chassis weak spots.  The bodywork was restored and painted in Porsche Signal Orange two-pack, which I think is the best colour for a G15.  The sunroof fabric was also replaced. The car gets lots of admiring comments whenever I take it out.  All chrome work was replaced with new or refurbished items.

 

The running gear was replaced with new, including suspension (adjustable shocks / RAC springs), brakes, hoses and lines, master cylinders, Alloy wheels, tyres etc. etc.  The fuel tank was replaced together with new fuel lines etc.  The gauges are probably original but the wiring was completely renewed. The original seats have been re-trimmed and new carpets fitted.

 

The previous owner built the car to compete in hill climbs and sprints, but his situation changed and he sold it to me so it’s never been used on the track in anger.   It has a roll bar, cut out switches for the battery and a fixed fire extinguisher system (electrically operated).  The battery is a small race type (for lightness), which is perfectly adequate. The rear and side windows are Perspex (not glass) for lightness.  

 

The engine was newly built  to a high specification for racing and needs to be revved to get the best out of it.  It sounds great but can become a little tiresome on long journeys. The spec is:

 

998cc with Chessman big valve ported head.

R22 cam

Strengthened block

Big sump and high efficiency oil pump

Twin 40 Dellorto carbs

4 branch sports manifold and special exhaust (muffler)

 

I had the car on a rolling road in 2013 and it was producing 104bhp at 7200 rpm.  I didn’t want to over rev the engine at the time as it had only done 250 miles.  It should do better than this a little higher up the rev range (up to 9000 rpm) due to the cam.  I’ve not taken it that high and have a limiter fitted at 8200 rpm.

 

The car was fitted with a close ratio straight cut gearbox by Jack Knight (higher 1st, standard 2nd, lower 3rd & 4th) when I purchased it in 2013.  I’ve swapped this gearbox for a standard box as the whine of the straight cut gears was too much for road use.  Also top speed was restricted due to the low gearing.

 

The car was also fitted with a fully sintered race clutch, which would have been great for racing, but was far too vicious for road use.  I’ve fitted an organic mild race clutch which is a great improvement.  The only thing I’m a little disappointed in is the release (roller type) bearing which sometimes makes a squealing noise on initial take up in first and reverse.  Ideally this needs investigating.

 

Since owning the car I’ve fitted an electronic Rev Limiter (set to red line at 7200rpm and cut out at 8200rpm), an improved pre-engaged starter motor (needs less cranking current), an oil catch tank and vehicle tracker (not sure if this will work in Canada).

 

As I said earlier the car has been used but not abused since its rebuild.  I’ve taken it on two track days, but been careful not to over use it on both.  There are a few minor stone chips and two minor cracks in the GRP at the base of the engine cover (a common weakness area).  When I purchased the car the edges to the doors had been slightly damaged.  I had one side repaired (which if studied hard can been seen), but the other side I decided to leave.

Since its arrival in Canada in 2015, some items have been re-built and replaced,

Engine – New pistons, rings, bearings and gaskets. Re-jetted carbs for road use, electric water pump replacing the original mechanical, new alternator and coil, new coolant catch can

Transmission – clutch throw-out bearing

Tires, 175/60 – 13 fronts and 185/60 rears

Interior – seat cushions reupholstered

The following comments on  Bring A Trailer (BAT) describing G15s may be of interest.

For me the one thing that characterizes these cars above all else is the extremely quick steering. Tiny movements of the wheel translate into large movements of the front wheels, so you sort of flick it through corners rather than steer it. The rear-end weight bias only adds to this effect… so you turn in, feel the rear end kick out, and spend the rest of the corner trying to keep up with its momentum. Unfortunately for me this resulted in me spinning the thing into a guard rail about 9 months ago and the rebuild’s not exactly progressing much…

My car was factory-built (as opposed to a kit) and has exactly the same kind of flip-up sunroof, so that might be original. The rest of the glass is, in fact, glass rather than plexi, and the windscreen is unique to the G15. Plenty of room in there for me as I’m only about 5″5 and 140lbs. The seat backs are at quite a reclined angle which gives it a racing-car feel to it, and would probably accommodate people somewhat taller than you would expect as a result, but it’s pretty hard on your neck.

And the front bumper placement on this car is correct (though they’re not so much bumpers as tin-foil coverings. A lot of people delete them entirely), and the headlights are in separate pods which can be slid upwards on a track – probably so they could be placed higher to satisfy legislation in some markets.

Overall it’s a fantastically entertaining thing to drive. Engine and gearbox are sublime, and handling is precise if a little unpredictable on the limit. Not that fast ultimately… though as a result it’s actually pretty good on public roads under the speed limit.

@Varjak- The bumper placement is correct. I believe that the bumper is from the lower portion (without the over riders) of the 1957-1967 VW Bettle. The rear bumper is off of a British car? I think.

Spit front suspension as stated, Hillman Imp engine, bits and pieces off of all of other cars, except for the body, frame, and carpets. They were ladder frame cars with a fiberglass body and are not difficult to fix.

The windows are plexi (the front ones slide horizontally like a Cooper S) I can’t remember what the front windshield is from (it’s glass) and I thought the rears were also plexi but it looks like it has a rear defroster in the photos.

@rancho bella- These cars seem to have come with “custom” plexi sunroofs, not sure if this was from the factory. But adding a sliding top is relatively easy to correct the cheap looking one.

Martin Horrocks is dead on with all of his comments: It is smaller than an Elan, yet you could fit in it being 6′. They are extremely light and handle intuitively (if you can get over the fear of hitting anything!). They feel like a 911 minus 1000 lbs.

Your feet almost go straight out, with your butt about an inch or so above the fiber glass floor. The shifter touches your thigh and is tight as a cat’s ass. The steering is slightly off center and your feet fit as well as most lotus cars of the 60s.

These motors rev and rev, they remind me of a Coventry Climax. A well worked over motor will hit 9,000 rpm and are suitable for side draft webers if you don’t mind gas leaking out of the velocity stacks in your driveway. The rear engine layout is easy to work on except for the plug closest to the front of the transaxle, it is close to the frame rail and requires an open end wrench to get to.

Lots of fun on the track!

Sorry to come in late… but I’ve got one of these! It’s a 1972 model with a 998cc engine. It’s an absolute blast to drive, with its screaming, high-revving small capacity engine, short-throw gearbox and low-to-the-ground setting. The handling is a bit tricky… with all the weight concentrated at the rear it can generate quite a pendulum effect – definitely don’t lift off mid-corner! There’s quite a bit of front-end lift above 65MPH as well.

Styling-wise it reminds me more of a Renault Alpine than anything else, though at the same time unmistakably English-looking and yes about the same size as the Elan. The bumper placement I think must have had something to do with legislated minimum height – and in any case the bumpers are all but useless as they’re quite thin steel bolted directly onto the glassfibre mouldings. But at least the chassis seems quite rigid, as evidenced by this video! at 0:47: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fhtOnnYXbc&NR=1

The flip-up engine cover’s pretty cool, but also interesting are the headlights, which are in separate glassfibre pods that can be manually slid vertically (they’re at their lowest point in the photo) – again presumably so that they could reach the minimum height restrictions in some markets. The cockpit works well and is quite roomy, which is contributed to by the laid-back, racecar-style seating position, which I love, but which gives you a stiff neck after a while.

And yes, the fuel tank (steel in my car) sits worryingly right above your lap, which given glassfibre’s propensity to crack in an accident I’m not too happy about… I’ve been looking into foam-filled options.

Altogether a thoroughly entertaining and deceptively quick little toy. Not without its flaws, but at a price-point similar to an MGB it was impossible to resist – found myself saying “i do” after a five minute test-drive!

With an early 15 and an Elan + 2 in the family I’d choose the 15 every day. It’s way prettier than a Europa, you can see out the back, there’s a surprising amount of headroom and a lot of stowage space behind the seats. And they are far cheaper to buy and to maintain.

I doubt there are many interchangeable pieces between the Coventry Climax engines and the Imp which would have had to be re-engineered for mass production and die-casting. I’ve never seen a performance comparison between similar capacity versions of the two engines but I’d take the Imp for everyday use. Mine revs to well above the 8K limit of the Rev Counter and with a block strengthening kit would go to 10K reliably. It showed comfortably over 60hp at the wheels on a rolling road and covered 330 miles between 6 gallon refills touring in France and Spain, running twin 40 dell’Ortos. And for all those who are about to point out that 15s don’t have 6 gallon tanks, mine has had a one-off stainless from new.

It’s a lot simpler to work on than the Elan, better access , and must be even more so than the mid engined Europa. You don’t need special tools to e.g change a headlight bulb. And basically there’s less to go wrong anyway.

I don’t understand the 2 frog eye style auxiliary lights which ruin the front of this car, and that oil cooler mounted up against the chassis isn’t going to get any airflow through it at all, especially given the engine cover hasn’t been cut to allow flow in the first place. And on an engine pulling the sort of revs this one must need for 130 hp, you’d expect to see deep racing-style alloy pulleys to stop the long water pump/fan belt flying off as the revs zip up and down. Even standard Imps pull that trick on you.

I’ll give the Lotus a walk over on comfort. Ginetta weren’t bothered about anything other than going round corners quickly.

Presently has 45,130 miles on the odometer.

Letting it go, as I prefer my Austin Mini and it’d like the garage space back.

YouTube videos of the car in the UK are at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4e5ETNlHEE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LnwIPeVUJ8

Priced at $14,500 Canadian to go.

Literature provided, including the UK restorer’s binder of notes and photos, copy of IMP workshop manual and Dellorto tuning guide.

For more info, contact Dan in Winnipeg, Manitoba at vtecfour@gmail.com or preferably phone (204) 430-1601 pretty much any time.

  • Contact Name : Dan Pang
  • Make : Ginetta
  • Model : G15
  • Year : 1970
  • Mileage : 45130