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Gilbern Genie

Gilbern Genie

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Gilbern GenieGilbern GenieGilbern GenieGilbern GenieGilbern Genie
Gilbern GenieGilbern GenieGilbern GenieGilbern GenieGilbern Genie
Gilbern GenieGilbern GenieGilbern GenieGilbern Genie
Lot number 172
Hammer value £4,700
Description Gilbern Genie
Registration ABW 56G
Year 1969
Colour Silver
Engine size 2,994 cc
Chassis No. G1120
Engine No. 8K1

Probably most famous for being the only car made in Wales, the Gilbern has gone on to build a loyal fan base all around the world.

Founded in the Rhondda Valley by Giles Smith and Bernard Friese, the company started by building a one-off for Smith’s personal use. When completed, it was clearly far too good to stop at just the one. To avoid purchase tax, it was sold in kit form only and customers could then fit an engine of their own choice.

However, following a very favourable road test in the May 1960 edition of Autosport, they made the sensible decision to only supply the kit complete with engine and transmission. Early cars were based mainly on Austin mechanicals and used the 948cc A-Series Sprite engine, with 1.6-litre and 1.8-litre MG power soon to follow in the GT model which ran until 1967. Produced at the rate of one car per week, some 280 GTs were produced.

1966 saw the unveiling of the 2+2 GT Genie, powered by the Ford V6 Essex engine. Offering far more performance and sophistication than before, the Genie had a glassfibre body bonded and riveted to a semi-spaceframe square tube, steel chassis. The suspension was a combination of Gilbern and MG parts, using coil springs up front and a live rear axle. The Genie could be had with overdrive, electric windows and a fabric sunroof. 197 examples were built, including an estate version and two convertibles, before it was replaced by the updated Invader in 1969.

First registered in January 1969, this well presented Genie has clearly been much-loved over recent years. Initially carrying the registration number 3306 PU, the car acquired its current number ABW 56G in 1987.

The vendor informs us that the underside is in good order, the chassis having been painted in recent times. The brake pipes are copper and the flexible hoses in braided stainless steel. The conventional rear suspension has been updated with a coil-over set-up which no doubt improves the handling of this rare machine. The twin exhausts enter a single silencer box which is made of stainless steel and we are advised that it's lusty V6 engine makes a lovely deep resonant sound. The twin fuel tanks have at some time been replaced with new stainless steel items.

The rest of the drivetrain is also reported to be in good condition, the MGC rear axle remaining nice and quiet and the Zodiac gearbox being a delight to use, in typical Ford fashion of the period. The overdrive is fully functional making this attractive coupe an effective long-distance cruiser.

Sitting on an original set of 15” alloy wheels which have recently been fitted with new tyres, it certainly looks the part, having been resprayed in what is believed to be its original colour, the car presenting very well. It shows an indicated 92,000 miles on the clock which the vendor believes to be correct, although there is insufficient documentary evidence to warrant this in the large history file that accompanies the car. Lots of service and parts invoices are included plus 16 old MOTs, its current ticket expiring in June 2016.

With so few having left the factory in period, this rare Welsh-built sports coupe looks particularly tempting, especially given its overall condition, performance and practicality.

AMENDMENT: Having inspected the vehicle, we would like to advise potential bidders that the car has received a rather poor quality respray at some time in the past.

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