Friday, 3 February 2017

Unipower at the Northern Racing Car Show

By now, we know all about the London Racing Car Show and the many Mini based cars that could be seen in Olympia. Click here for a series of articles about the shows. But how about the first Northern Racing car Show, held in Manchester in 1969? Terry Smith, the Metron designer who recently bought both the Unipower body as the Unipower chassis seen here, knows more about it.

He wrote: "Hello Jeroen, I spoke at length with the first owner of GEM 911G and he mentioned that his car was displayed on the Unipower stand at the Northern Racing and Performance Car Show at Belle Vue, Manchester from Monday 21st to Friday 25th April 1969. I managed to source separately a catalogue from the show, and will send a copy of the cover and the Unipower section. 'GEM' was built with a 1275cc engine for the show, and later changed to a Cooper 998cc engine. It was finished in a dark Renault metallic blue. An interesting glimpse of the history of the marque. Kind regards, Terry."

I happened to speak to the same person, Stuart Blundell, a while ago and he told me: "It came from the Racing Car in Manchester, I bought it on the stand. It was registered GEM 911G in Bootle and had a 1275 engine in it. For the young person that I was, it was a little too powerful and so I put a 998 in it. I didn't nurse this car at all and used it every day. I went to London a couple of times and met up with Piers Forrester two or three times. He did meet me at the station in his Ford GT40. That was exiting - although we never got out of second gear! I built it in Liverpool and used it all over the country, also went skiing with it in Scotland. I sold the car three years after I bought it, when I went to Austria for work. When I came back to the UK in the early 1990s I learned that the car had ended up in Horsham. The then-owner said the chassis and the body were a mess." Well, by now we know the chassis was used to create a replica, seen here. Meanwhile, with the spare chassis he now bought, Terry is working to put the car back on the road again.

But for something else, I wonder if any photographs of the car at the show survive? I have some of the Coldwell GT at the same venue, but there should be more. Davrian, Biota and Midland Garage with their GTM were also displaying their cars in Belle Vue...

"When the motoring press are saying things like this about the Unipower GT, why make changes for chafes sake?" 'GEM 911 G' was the car shown at the Unipower cars stand in Manchester
Picture courtesy Terry Smith

Here, the car is seen at the factory in Perivale in 1969 when owned by Stuart Blundell, who'd bought it at the Manchester show that same year
Picture courtesy Stuart Blundell

And pose again, please. Stuart changed the engine to a 998 and kept it for 3 years
Picture courtesy Stuart Blundell

3 comments:

  1. The full set of pictures of the original GEM 911G are on the Unipower GT Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/unipowergt/. When you say 'put the car back on the road' which car do you mean GEM 911G or chassis 30?

    Pete

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  2. Hello Pete,
    It would be wonderful to find out more about the history of Chassis 30. Does anyone out there in the Unipower community know what the registration number would have been ? Terry.

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  3. Hi Terry. Only Gerry Hulford may know that. I'll email you to discuss what's best but safe to say the chassis numbers for 30 and GEM 911G are quite far apart. Regards. Pete

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