Can You Name That Car?
Last week's car was a 1961 Warwick GT, which sold at a March 2013 Historics at Brooklands auction for £19,244.
This car was identified as both a Peerless GT and a Warwick GT. These two cars are so much alike and came pretty much from the same people so the mix up is understandable. Steve Favill, shortly followed by Alan Brand in the wee hours of Saturday came it with the correct identification. Robert Carlile, and Greg Foard chimed in correctly Saturday morning. Saturday afternoon, Gary Kiernan had it. Liz Morgan and Doug Frechett rounded out the weekend on Sunday. Ken McGuire came in Monday, and George Albaugh was my last guess on Wednesday! Darn, this is getting popular just when I am running out of cars.
Here is how the car progressed. The alloy prototype, dubbed the Warwick, was designed by Bernie Rodger for company founders John Gordon and James Byrnes. By production start the aluminum became fiberglass over spaceframe car named the Peerless. By all accounts it was a superb car with its TR3 motor. Its big problems were production costs and supplier confidence, which caused it to go out of business. Peerless Cars Ltd. built 325 cars from 1957 to 1960.
Bernie Rodger still had faith in the car. He, with the help of Peerless founders created Bernard Rodgers Developments Ltd. With a stiffer space frame and some minor body changes, the Warwick GT was born.
So, how do you tell a Warwick from a Peerless? Peerless GTs had a "Big P" on the grille or a badge on the front. The Peerless had an opening bonnet for engine access; the Warwick has a flip front for ease of motor access. Inside the instrument cluster was centralized making LHD cars easier to produce. On the outside you may not notice but the Warwick has a flatter roofline.
Peerless GT grill and bonnet badges
There were about 40 Warwick GTs built from 1960 to 1962. Of these three, maybe five, were fitted with the Buick/Rover 3.5l V8, making the Warwick GT 350.
The last months of Bernard Rodgers Developments Ltd. were fraught with board and financial meltdown. Bernie Rodgers left, followed by more board members. Eventually leaving one person, Andy Clyde, in charge. Production continued at a reduced rate until the final financial end came. The company was wrapped up and closed in early 1962.
Andy still believed in the car, setting up Peerless Dublin Ltd. with the aim of making cars for the American market. A demonstrator car was built for GM evaluation. GM was not impressed eventually killing the car.
But wait! This is not the end of the concept created by Bernie Rodgers. Jim Keeble, who built custom race cars, wanted a Peerless frame so he could install a Chevrolet Corvette V8. John Gordon managed to get the car developed at Peerless with money from Keeble. Shortly after Peerless Cars Ltd. melted down and dissolved. Jim Keeble and John Gordon partnered, creating the Gordon-Keeble. About 100 were built between 1964 and 1967.
Lets see what you can do with this, here is this week's Mystery Car!
Our Mystery Car
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