Wednesday 21 December 2022

Lynton Racing's Unipower GT demonstrator

When I bought some brochures and other old paperwork recently, I was surprised to find it included a brochure from a company named Lynton Racing. That seemed a familiar name, but from what again..? 

I learned that Lynton Racing was set up by Colin Lyster and Paul Brothers in 1967. The company focussed on motorbikes in the first place and even developed a 500cc two-cylinder bike engine with double overhead cams for grand prix racing, of which the block originated from... a Hillman Imp! Lyster and Brothers knew their Imps, or so it seems, as they also tuned a number of cars using engines with sixteen-valve heads. Conversions of the Imp engine in several stages of tuning were marketed in the late 1960s. 

But - here it comes - they were a Unipower GT agent also. I found a 1968 ad, which mentions: "Appointed North London Agent! For this most desirable car. Demonstration car available." The folder I purchased contains a version of the Unipower GT brochure I'd never seen before, but also a letter dated July 1969 to an insurance company which apparently had no clue and asked them for more information about the Mini based sports car. Lynton Racing wrote to them: "As regards repairs, etc., the cost of these is not expensive as the construction is fibre-glass, which is cheaper to repair than metal" Ha! The letter also tells us the car concerned was the 998cc Cooper powered variant, but it remained a mystery to me which car exactly it was about.

And so I asked Gerry Hulford, who runs the Unipower GT Owner's Club & Register. He wrote: "Lynton Racing were not very successful in selling any cars, in fact they only sold their own demonstrator. So just one sale I’m afraid. The registration number was YLN 4G." That seems to make sense as that car was registered in July 1969, the same date as on the letter. Gerry owned the car himself at one point but it had a 1275 engine, which makes him wonder if it is the same after all: "They did not specify any particular car and indeed based on the quote being for a 998cc Cooper engine car, would not have been for their demonstrator, which was 1275cc Cooper 'S' powered. So to make such a link would be unsubstantiated. This is how misunderstandings are created. The current owner wishes, as another couple of owners also have, to remain anonymous. They kindly trust me to respect that wish." 
Well, that's it for now then.

A nice little brochure from Lynton Racing of Fortis Green, London, dated July 1969
Picture Jeroen Booij

It contains correspondence to an insurance company regarding their Unipower GT
Picture Jeroen Booij

Lynton Racing were Unipower's north London agent but they didn't sell many cars
Picture Jeroen Booij

Lynton Racing concentrated mostly on motorbikes, developing this 'half-Imp' engine with DOHC head
 Picture Cycle World magazine

They also offered tuned Imp engines, just like Roger Nathan did, who's workshop was 'rear of Lynton Garage' as mentioned on the Costin-Nathan's brochure

'YLN 4G' was Lynton Racing's Unipower demonstrator. But also the only GT they sold?
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Here it is from a magazine clipping. Unfortunately I have no further info about this picture
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

In the early 1990s it was seen in public several times, here at Prescott Hill I think
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

And at Syon Park in 1991 where it joined three other Unipower GTs for a meeting
Picture Tim Carpenter

The car survives but hasn't been seen in public for a long time. It was last taxed in 1990
Picture Tim Carpenter

It's a lovely car and good to hear it's still around, although the owner wishes to remain anonymous
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

1 comment:

  1. YLN 4G is chassis UWF 1011, built July 1969 1275cc. Peter Beale finished the restoration in 1984, colour Amber. Original colour as sold by Lyntn was Ford Yellow. Hope this helps. Pete