Wednesday 28 May 2014

The Unipowers that didn't make it to Blyton Park (2)

When you consider the Unipower we looked at last time (click here) was probably the last GT ever to leave UWF's (‘Unger Weld-Forrester’) factory premises, it's nice to see the very opposite now. Not just because of its condition but in the first place because this, boys and girls, actually is the very first production Unipower GT built. It wears chassis number 766-1, which is believed to stand for the number 1 car made in July 1966.

The car was bought in the late 1980s by Tim Carpenter as a bit of a basket case and he spent a few years on its full restoration. He wrote to me: "It’s been sitting in my mum’s garage for the last 20 years, fully restored by me and now I’m deciding what to do with it. I could make some minor mods to render it a practical drive, make major modifications to improve the performance all round as a road car." You'll understand I was rather curious to see the car and was not disappointed when I finally got to meet up with Tim and the earliest of Unipowers earlier this month.

Tim is quite a perfectionist and the standard of the car's restoration is very high with beautiful bodywork in its original colour. When Tim acquired it it had big wheels under 'mashed up' wheel arches which he had to restore and he also had to prefabricate the dashboard. Tim also fitted bigger rectangular rear lights from the Vauxhall Viva HA during restoration.

Believe it or not but Tim drove the car for just over 450 miles since restoring it. Something went wrong with the engine he rebuilt and he never came to put it right… Do we like it? I do!

This is the very first production Unipower built by Universal Power Drives in 1966
Picture Jeroen Booij / Maximum Mini

Rear lights are non-original items and come from a Vauxhall rather than Singer Gazelle
Picture Jeroen Booij / Maximum Mini

But the standard of the finish is actually very high and the car looks fantastic
Picture Jeroen Booij / Maximum Mini

Interior too, is good. Tim refabricated the dashboard and fitted stainless sill plates
Picture Jeroen Booij / Maximum Mini

Only trouble now is the rebuilt 1400 engine which doesn't run at the moment
Picture Jeroen Booij / Maximum Mini

That's Tim with his Unipower earlier this month. A cracking car indeed
Picture Jeroen Booij / Maximum Mini

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