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1950s/60s Mystery Car


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#1 DUFFY

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Posted 16 December 2015 - 05:55

This early 1960s photography has been doing the rounds of the “guess the car” forums in the last few weeks and has taken my attention.

Speaking to colleague’s with knowledge of 1950s specials and 1960s component cars no one has an answer. Lots of ideas of a maker from

other car design features in the car, but the main design feature in this car is the gullwing doors.

 

Knowing that a number of motor racing car designers and builders came up through the 1950s specials/1960s component car era I thought

I would place the photograph on here.

So please do any TNF,s know the manufacture, the designer and any history of this car?

 

Tony Stanton,

(Rochdale Olympic History Archive)

 

Unknown%20Car_zpsrbrxgvc2.jpg



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#2 Allan Lupton

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Posted 16 December 2015 - 08:45

Yes, Tony, several of us have come across this in several other places, where all sorts of expertise has been offered - e.g. the buses and I quote:

As for the date of the picture, I have been able to fine tune it to 1962 or early 1963 because of the route allocations of the two buses. It could be more precise if we knew it was not photographed on a Saturday because that would pin it down to 1962. From 1963 those routes used RM "Routemaster" buses during the week and the older RT at weekends



#3 Dave French

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Posted 16 December 2015 - 17:39

The car looks very Bond Equipe     ish.



#4 Mistron

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Posted 16 December 2015 - 18:16

The rear wing looks sunbeam alpine-ish, but nothing else does. My guess is some sort of Ford special, as the wheel trims don't look all that 'racy' to match the fastback style.

 

The rear sloping headlights remind me of something, but I can't think what...... However, the rear sloping screen pillars and the proximity of the door shut to the rear wheel arch do look similar (but quite difeferent!) to the car in this article: http://www.oldclassi.../spaceframe.htm

 

I've spoken with the owner Mathew, and I think we discussed it here on TNF before, and it seems likely the basis of HIS car's old body was a Speedex Sirocco, but perhaps it was modified (not very well) to look something like the mysterious blue car? maybe someone saw it at a show.

 

Surely someone will have featured the blue car in an article at the time, it looks a fairly well resolved project to be an amateur special. 

 

Al



#5 D-Type

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Posted 16 December 2015 - 18:30

Can anyone who has followed other discussions say what suggestions have been made and discounted - and why they have been dismissed.  This would help to zero in on the answer.


Edited by D-Type, 16 December 2015 - 18:31.


#6 David Beard

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Posted 16 December 2015 - 18:43

Looks a bit like a Saab Sonnet to me.



#7 Allan Lupton

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 00:04

Can anyone who has followed other discussions say what suggestions have been made and discounted - and why they have been dismissed.  This would help to zero in on the answer.

It's a bit hard to summarise Pistonheads' 228 posts and the VSCC's 88 - at least anyone can look at the former but the VSCC is members only.

http://www.pistonhea...her mystery car



#8 group7

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 00:05

Sabra, from Israel ? but in hindsight if it has gullwing doors, I don't think that is right.   :confused:

 

Mike (group7) in Canada

 

looking at Allan's link above, Sabra seems to be discounted ! 


Edited by group7, 17 December 2015 - 00:10.


#9 FrankCornell

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 00:20

The hubcaps look very similar to ones I had on a Berkeley. But this car is not a Berk. Will check my Ford Specials book.



#10 RShaw

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 04:49

I believe that style of wheel cover/hub cap is an Ace Mercury, optional on some MGAs and MG Midgets as I recall.  Not real common.

Ron Shaw



#11 dmj

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 09:43

Positive identification of the wheels might help. Came across this at several other places lately, too, and my initial guess was that it is Spridget based. If the wheels really are the mentioned ones it might support that.



#12 nicanary

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 09:45

It's a bit hard to summarise Pistonheads' 228 posts and the VSCC's 88 - at least anyone can look at the former but the VSCC is members only.

http://www.pistonhea...her mystery car

The latest posts on this site include a couple of photoshops which portray possible gullwing door arrangements, and give a good indication of what the car looked like. I've always considered it to be a very good GRP special, but it looks more and more like a quality piece of work. It seems so odd that there is no record of the car, or indeed any memory amongst all the older enthusiasts on the various sites where its image has been posted.



#13 Odseybod

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 09:53

Could be the GT version of the Dolphin, as described on http://www.fordspeci...uk/dolphin.html

 

The date would certainly seem about right for the bus routes menioned earlier (this site is a fascinating time-waster, by the way, if you haven't yet discovered it).



#14 DUFFY

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 18:22

Hi All,

 

The reason I placed the photograph on this site was because the contributors to this forum mainly consist of people with a vast amount of sensible and

accurate knowledge of the past.

I am in touch with people who are very knowledgeable with 1950s specials and 1960s component cars (including the man who first started and ran

the  http://www.fordspeci...uk/dolphin.html and none of them at the moment can name this mystery car.

We may never know the name, (which will be very frustrating) but if we do I think it will come from a 70+ year old Gentleman (I am 70 and the car is at least 50years old)

who knew the owner and his car or someone involved with the design and construction of the car in the late 50s, early 60s.

I think there is a Williams and Pritchard connection somewhere to this car or may be Specialised Mouldings or a similar company. If you know anyone who worked for

these companies please ask them as they may have the answer.

 

Tony Stanton,

(Rochdale Olympic History Archive)



#15 Rupertlt1

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 19:50

I am following this with great interest.

The wheels trims look compatible with Sunbeam Alpine?

The windscreen could be the rear window of a Sunbeam Alpine hardtop turned around?

See: https://revslib.stan...log/qx447zd0217

 

RGDS RLT 



#16 RStock

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Posted 19 December 2015 - 17:38

Looks a bit Intermeccanica-ish, to me.



#17 group7

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Posted 19 December 2015 - 22:45

GSM from South Africa ?  to my eye there is a bit of Pegaso in the front end.

 

 

Mike (group7)



#18 Sharman

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Posted 19 December 2015 - 22:49

But I never saw a fast back hard top, they were cut back a la 105 Anglia



#19 group7

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Posted 20 December 2015 - 02:38

 those rear quarters do look Alpine, but the door cut is not right.  many race and road cars were modified after crashes. I'm really reaching here, maybe the ex '61 Le Mans Procter/Harper Alpine Harrington roofed machine ?  Rootes did do a run (how many ?) of the Harrington model '62-'63. with a similar roof, but I understand deleted the fins ? perhaps I'm straying too far from the  original question.

 

group7



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#20 Sharman

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Posted 20 December 2015 - 08:43

I was actually referring to the GSM Delta  ;)



#21 Parkesi

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Posted 20 December 2015 - 11:28

It is definitely NOT the Lotus Elan Ian Walker Coupe (chassis number IWRGT2) which was delivered to Hermann Huber/CH in 1965.

See Ian Walker Racing / The Man and his Cars / Julian Balme / Coterie Press 2012.

BUT: colour, wheels, duct behind side window etc. are VERY similar. Gull wings, front lights are obvoiusly different.

Maybe is a small hint - maybe it isn`t... 



#22 pete53

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Posted 20 December 2015 - 12:28

Working on the basis that this is a modified version of a production model ( which of course may not be the case), I still think the main bodywork looks more like an Alpine than that of any of the other suggestions so far made. The lines of the body and wheel arches do look very similar to the profile of the Alpine. Of course the nose and hardtop are non-standard but there was, at the time, quite an industry for bits and pieces that you could buy to modify your car (although possibly not gullwing doors). The only issue is, as has already been mentioned by group7, is that the lines of the door are not those found on a standard Alpine.

 

Having said that, is it big enough to be an Alpine? The gentlemen in the photo walking behind it make it look fairly small - more Sprite/Midget size.



#23 RStock

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Posted 20 December 2015 - 18:32

Am I the only one who thinks this could be photoshopped? I can't help but notice the "white" area behind the rear wheel running along the bottom of the quarterpanel.



#24 kayemod

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Posted 20 December 2015 - 20:16

I think there is a Williams and Pritchard connection somewhere to this car or may be Specialised Mouldings or a similar company. If you know anyone who worked for

these companies please ask them as they may have the answer.

 

Tony Stanton,

(Rochdale Olympic History Archive)

 

Pretty sure we can discount any Specialised Mouldings connection, I'd remember it if it had been, and while it would have been possible, the shape and styling features would make it expensive and difficult to reproduce in fibreglass. Not saying it couldn't have been done, but very unlikely as a serious commercial proposition. It probably is/was fibreglass, but possibly a costly one-off.



#25 nicanary

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Posted 20 December 2015 - 21:31

Pretty sure we can discount any Specialised Mouldings connection, I'd remember it if it had been, and while it would have been possible, the shape and styling features would make it expensive and difficult to reproduce in fibreglass. Not saying it couldn't have been done, but very unlikely as a serious commercial proposition. It probably is/was fibreglass, but possibly a costly one-off.

Which is what makes it so intriguing - if somebody has gone to this bother and expense, and produced an undeniably attractive sports car, why is there no record or recollection of it?



#26 Roy C

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 07:16

Am I the only one who thinks this could be photoshopped? I can't help but notice the "white" area behind the rear wheel running along the bottom of the quarterpanel.

 

The image is from Buses, Trolleys and Trams by Chas S Dunbar, first published in 1967.

 

I think that line around the bottom of the panel is probably an external seam, lending credence to the suggestion that it's a metal body.



#27 Sharman

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 08:07

Just an idle thought, the basic shape is very TVR Tina........



#28 Dipster

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 08:12

I really have no idea what this car is but the general dimensions and layout are screaming Triumph Spitfire to me....... 



#29 Sharman

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 08:49

I really have no idea what this car is but the general dimensions and layout are screaming Triumph Spitfire to me....... 

You cannot be serious!



#30 Stephen W

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 09:10

It looks like a specialist body made by one of the many 'plastics' firms to fit onto a Frogeye Sprite.



#31 kayemod

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 09:23

This doesn't help much, but the windscreen says "Vauxhall Cresta" to me. It's an unusual styling feature, not something that could easily be grafted onto an existing body, which deals with the modified Spitfire etc suggestions. That and the fact that no-one here remembers it, suggests to me that the car is a one-off?



#32 maoricar

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 11:13

FWIW I think a closer look at a Harrington Series C Alpine, might be of interest, esp. the rear roofline with high mounted moulding ( vent?)

The rear wing line is about right and IF we assume mods were made to the windscreen and nose area...it MIGHT just work



#33 bill p

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 12:22

FWIW I think a closer look at a Harrington Series C Alpine, might be of interest, esp. the rear roofline with high mounted moulding ( vent?)
The rear wing line is about right and IF we assume mods were made to the windscreen and nose area...it MIGHT just work

Doors are wrong for a Sunbeam Alpine

The wheels look to be of a large diameter, I vote for a very well built 1172 or Consul engined Ford Special with a customised body based on a proprietary fibreglass kit

Bill P

Edited by bill p, 21 December 2015 - 15:02.


#34 Duc-Man

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 12:27

FWIW I think a closer look at a Harrington Series C Alpine, might be of interest, esp. the rear roofline with high mounted moulding ( vent?)

The rear wing line is about right and IF we assume mods were made to the windscreen and nose area...it MIGHT just work

The door is way off and the 'cabin' is to far back to be a Harrington Alpine.

15998696883_3cc2083eb3_o.jpg



#35 RogerFrench

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 18:18

I've seen this car on 3 sites, an dI have a niggle in the back of my mind that it's an early Japanese small-capacity car. Definitely not a Honda "S" of any capacity, nor a small Toyota, but one of them. I think.

Edited by RogerFrench, 21 December 2015 - 18:18.


#36 Charlieman

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 19:50

I've seen this car on 3 sites, an dI have a niggle in the back of my mind that it's an early Japanese small-capacity car. Definitely not a Honda "S" of any capacity, nor a small Toyota, but one of them. I think.

The wheels and tyres are too big for a small engined car. Tight design is necessary in that car so that the back tyres don't rub the backs of the driver and passenger.

 

"Dorothy", the lady in a light coat (time of year?) wearing specs, stands in front of prime viewing points. There's a long engine under that bonnet, or it is shoved a few inches backwards. I presume that the bonnet pivots at the front.

 

The front wheels have thrown some mud alongside the car. The back wheels coated the outside rear wing in mud. Proportions of the wheel arches? The driver and passenger door windows cannot move much up-and-down.

 

To me, it looks like an expensive special.



#37 Dipster

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 10:17

You cannot be serious!

I just looked again and, yes, I am!

 

Not the shape, of course, but I really can imagine a Triumph chassis under there somewhere. It just looks fibre glass and I really cannot see who would bother to modify what was quite a rare car, the Harrington Alpine, to this extent.

 

Perhaps I will get my eyes tested again.........   

 

Will we ever learn what it is?



#38 PZR

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 11:54

I've seen this car on 3 sites, an dI have a niggle in the back of my mind that it's an early Japanese small-capacity car. Definitely not a Honda "S" of any capacity, nor a small Toyota, but one of them. I think.

 

No. If it was a Japanese confection (and 'over here' in 1962) it would have been well known and much remarked on/noted in Japan as well as in the UK.

 

Japanese 'Etcetelinis' are a very interesting Galapagos-type world to investigate, but this car was not born there I'm 100% sure. 



#39 DUFFY

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 11:59

 

Not the shape, of course, but I really can imagine a Triumph chassis under there somewhere. It just looks fibre glass and I really cannot see who would bother to modify what was quite a rare car, the Harrington Alpine, to this extent.

 

Will we ever learn what it is?

They would bother if it were a Development/Prototype Harrington Alpine?

 

Tony Stanton,

(Rochdale Olympic History Archive)



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#40 Duc-Man

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 12:39

They would bother if it were a Development/Prototype Harrington Alpine?

 

Tony Stanton,

(Rochdale Olympic History Archive)

Even for a prototype, the proportions still don't fit for an Alpine. Think about the position of the seats/steering wheel compared to the wheels.

What if it was a Harrington prototype/development car but based on something other than an Alpine and never went into production?



#41 Ray Bell

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 12:55

There's not a great deal about the Harrington that's not pure Alpine in its lines...

I think that if it was based on anything specific it would be identifiable.

#42 AAGR

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 13:03

No self-respecting stylist at Harrington would ever have schemed up anything like this. As an 'Old Hand' in the motor industry, I reckon I can detect 'special' here - not something ever shaped within a sizeable factory .... and certainly not based on a Spitfire, a Midget, an Alpine, an MGB or a Lotus Elan.

 

  But no, I'll admit it, I can't identify it either.



#43 P.Dron

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 13:47

It is highly improbable that a prototype would be in central London. Various parts of it suggest inspiration from this and that but I agree with those who suggest that this is a one-off special, competently designed and built.



#44 2F-001

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 14:13

It's unusual for TNF to be stumped - which does lend credence to the thought that it's a special.

I can add nothing, except to say that the car is turning out of Vere Street to head East towards Oxford Circus. 



#45 plutoman

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 18:44

This is frustrating. I've seen a picture of this car fairly recently, but I can't remember where! - it was a front three-quarter view I think, but I'm almost certain its the same car.

 

Best guess is in an early 60s issue of 'Motor Racing' (the yellow-top BRDC magazine). I recently sold a large batch of these, and it may have been an advert that I saw when flicking through them to note down the contents. However, it could've been in Autosport, or Motor Sport, or ...



#46 Bumblyari

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 18:51

I'm beginning to think it might be easier to try and identify the woman in glasses and ask her if she noticed a badge on the back.

 

Or maybe the guy near the traffic light talking on his mobile. There can't have been many people doing that in 1961.



#47 kayemod

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 19:29

 

Or maybe the guy near the traffic light talking on his mobile. There can't have been many people doing that in 1961.

 

Please, "a carphone", that's what we called them in those days.



#48 Sharman

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 22:29

Please, "a carphone", that's what we called them in those days.

Nah! It would be a walkie-talkie in those days and a military, police or CD application with the whole thing on an over and out basis. A couple of years later and "Rubber Duck"  Citizens Band would have been in vogue but it still needed to be in car or from a fixed base. Car phones were 80s and 90s. I'll concede radio telephones in cars, few and far, between in the 60s


Edited by Sharman, 22 December 2015 - 22:32.


#49 kayemod

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 22:44

Nah! It would be a walkie-talkie in those days and a military, police or CD application with the whole thing on an over and out basis. A couple of years later and "Rubber Duck"  Citizens Band would have been in vogue but it still needed to be in car or from a fixed base. Car phones were 80s and 90s. I'll concede radio telephones in cars, few and far, between in the 60s

 

Roger and out.



#50 Sharman

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 22:53

Nine Nine How do you hear me?

 

 

Too Loud Too clear and too f#cking often (Where are you Eric :clap: )