Who says there was no room for the start-up automobile entrepreneur in postwar Britain? The four Walklett Brothers certainly managed to found a successful car manufacturing business in 1958 (in the wilds of Suffolk) and ran it until their retirement in 1989.
The Ginetta G4 was an early introduction, in 1961. It had a fibreglass convertible roadster body that sported tailfins and was fitted with a Ford 105E engine. Unlike its immediate predecessors, the G4 was not designed specifically for competition use, though it was successful in that sphere. It was a classic ‘drive to the track and race’ car, which was equally at home on a motor-racing circuit or strutting its stuff to admiring glances when used as a road car.
This lightweight car had a space-frame chassis with double wishbones, coil springs and dampers in the front. Rear suspension consisted of a Ford live axle and there were drum brakes. Over the years the G4 enjoyed considerable evolution and improvement. A selection of Ford engines was offered, including a 1.3 litre Classic, 1.6 litre X-flow and a 1.5 litre Cortina GT power plant.
With the introduction of Series II in 1963, the roadster was joined by a coupe, which was essentially the same car with an add-on hardtop. At the same time a BMC rear axle replaced the Ford live axle. The tailfins were dropped and enhancements like disc brakes were introduced to improve all-round handling and performance. The G4 Series III took over in 1966, though the only obvious change was then-modish pop-up headlights that rested on the front bumper when not in use.
Around 500 of these zippy sports racers were built in the 1960s and they still compete regularly at classic meets, piloted by enthusiastic drivers who appreciate unmistakably British motoring heritage.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1961 (until 1969)
Various, but originally a 997 cc Straight Four
1 litre engine – top speed of 105 mph (169 km/h)
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
This great British sports car rides again in the form of the contemporary DARE Ginetta G4 – a sleek sports racer with a 1.8 litre Ford Zetec that delivers a top speed of 130 mph (209 km/h) and a 0-60mph (97 km/h) time of 5.8 secs.