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Specials 'n' Low volume production shite.


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This one may drop right off of page one, dunno.

Anyway, I have a very soft spot for "specials" , the kind of stuff that was destined for and created in sheds the length and breadth of the country to sell to enthusiasts to rebody old Austin Sevens and Ford Populars etc, like the following:



Most of this stuff was born in the 50s when there was a lot of cheap seperate chassis chod to choose from and i love the notion that some of these cars wernt rebodied to the highest of standards and that some were held tpogether with string and sellotape, basically, nobody gave a shit.

Some were beautifully done like this:


These are all pictures that I found, the second one is a 1954 Stilletto and I cant be arsed to look too deeply into what and how etc at the mo, however, there are some clever people here who will know chapter and verse on them all, Im sure.

I also love the kind of stuff that was low volume like Ginetta, Davrian, Gilbern, Rochdale and Reliant, christ, ive had three Scimitars so I must love Fibreglass..... :wink:

I did find a website that celebrated Specials created and built in the USA ( I had no idea they were into that stuff) and some of the designs were stonkingly good. If i can find the site again, i will post some stuff up.

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The red car looks like a Tornado , cant remember what they were based on but they look the part .

One of The designers still lives local to me and drives one to local shows .

The other designer passed away but i used to deliver to his wife Jill as she ran a small printer making cards and stuff at her house , Cant remember Jills husbands name but their surname was Bullen .

Jill used to have a part built one in her garage the same as the one in the picture , ive no idea what happened to it though.

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I really like the Tornado Talisman (red one) and had the pleasure of meeting the chap who used to build them a few years back. He's still actively involved with the owner's club, which is nice.


They built 186 of them but they had a custom-built steel chassis to which Ford running gear was fitted. They were far better than earlier Tornados, which looked like right lash ups by comparison, but probably come closer to the OP's desires.



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Ultimate 50s special was the Buckler; space-frame chassis, choice of engine including Coventry-Climax, and some very nice bodywork including this rather nice Guilietta copy :




There is still a Buckler Register which has a website which shows some stunning men-in-a-shed sports-racers 8)



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A few years ago, when I was rich, I bought a 1958 Peerless GT which was awesome. One of the few British low-volume production cars that looked pretty, it used mostly Triumph TR3 mechanicals and instruments but had a De Dion rear axle for better traction. The fuel tanks were in the very wide sills so boot space was pretty good and I loved it dearly. Sadly job uncertainties meant I had to sell it. To get my fibreglass thrills a bit cheaper I then had a 1980s Ginetta G26.


Here's some Peerless stuff


























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Looking at the price of that Peerless and the date of the test ( 1959) in todays money that car cost the equivillent of £27,500 :shock:

Mind you, If I had been around then and had the money I would still have had one,infact, Id sell my right bollock to have one now, actually.

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The second pic up there is a Microplas Stiletto, forerunner to the Microplas Mistral which is perhaps the most important special body of the era, clothing hundreds of incredibly successful sports-racers and forming the basis for the first 'factory' TVR bodies and the first KMs over in Australia, among others.


The red Buckler is wearing an AKS Mk1 shell and iirc was built around MGA twin-cam running gear. It's still knocking about somewhere, painted blue. The AKS moulds, suitably stretched and uglified, formed the basis of the Moss Mamba kit in the early 80s. If you were really good at GRP work you could probably make one of those look half decent, and they seem to be £peanuts the odd time they come up for sale. That's the sort of silly project I can see myself taking on in a few years when I've learned a few more skills and my current Silly Plastic Car is all done.


One day I will actually make a start researching my book on these horrors, hopefully before all the people involved DIE :roll: In the meantime if anybody has one of these lurking in their shed gimme a shout please


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Does a (modified) Berkeley SE328 count?




Been in the barn several years- but here it is in all its glory. Honda N600 engine/box (the 2 cyl air cooled one) mated to Fiesta running gear. Drove it all over France- but I'm a bit portly for it these days. Suspect the next time out -it'll be for sale, sadly.

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Suspect the next time out -it'll be for sale, sadly.


Don't tell Barrett, He'll be out selling his body on some Brighton street corner just so he can get his hands on it.


Dibs! :mrgreen: I'll start saving and convincing the missus I need a Berk tomorrow... the latter might take a while.

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A couple from yesterday's outing that fit this theme:


1960 Turner Sports Mark I by quicksilver coaches, on Flickr



1960 Fairthorpe Electron Minor by quicksilver coaches, on Flickr


And this one is a real mystery - anyone ever heard of a Bailey?


1953 Bailey Special by quicksilver coaches, on Flickr

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  • 10 years later...
On 12/23/2012 at 11:08 PM, Manbearpig said:

As in "proper" 50s specials; haven't seen one of these for sale before, ever. A Speedex, created by Jem Marsh before he set up Marcos






Nice alloys for the era.

I didn’t know that Speedex was created by Jen Marsh.  Speedex is about the coolest name for a car company though.

A few pictures that popped up on my Facebook today.



“For everyday use”😳




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