1966 Ginetta G4 Sport
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1966 Square tube Ginetta G4 race car was raced in Europe by Tony Ingram and was the subject of a Classic & Sportscar track test by Willie Green.
Ginetta G4 won the Post Historic Road Sports Championship in the U.K. in the early 80's with 13 wins in 15 races. Won the U.K. Kit Car Challenge class championship two years running and has raced at Sebring, Lime Rock, Watkins Glen, Mid Ohio, Mosport, Road Atlanta, Road America and other classic North American road racing venues..
In about 1957, Ivor Walklett decided to build a sports car and he recruited his brother Trevers to help. Their original one-off special was built largely from Wolseley Hornet components. Shortly after completion, it was destroyed in an accident in the family driveway. Undiscouraged, the two brothers decided to build a replacement. Their second design featured a tubular chassis and a Ford "8" engine. In response to requests from friends, the two brothers decided to duplicate the car and sell it in kit form. Once sales of G2 kits started, brothers Bob and Douglas joined Ivor and Trevers. Together, the four brothers founded Ginetta Cars Limited in 1958. Approximately thirty Ginetta G2 kits were sold. Another model, was introduced in 1959. The G3 featured a fully-fendered fiberglass body. Approximately sixty G3 bodyshells were sold.
The Ginetta G4 model was unveiled at The British Racing and Sports Car Club's "Racing Car Show" at Earl's Court in London, in January 1961. Although the G4 was initially planned to utilize a proposed but never commercially available Coventry Climax 750cc engine, Ginetta was quick to recognize the qualities of the newest Ford engines: large bore, short stroke, lightweight crankshaft, and an overhead valve cylinder head with eight individual ports. The Ginetta G4 was no larger or heavier than it needed to be to fit the Ford ("105e" 997cc) engine. In the market and at the racetrack, the Ginetta would be competing with Elva and Turner models which were somewhat larger and heavier, and with the Lotus Seven which had a more old-fashioned appearance. Trevers has been quoted as saying that the Lotus Eleven racecar inspired the design of the G4. Indeed, as originally introduced the G4 body had rounded tailfins which bear some resemblence to the Eleven's. However, the G4 was marketed as a dual purpose "road and track" car.
The Ginetta G4 featured a spaceframe constructed of 1" x 18-gauge round steel tubing, and an all fiberglass body. The center section of the fiberglass body was bonded onto the frame for added stiffness. Fitting of doors, front clip, and rear clip were left to the customer. The whole front of the car hinged forward much in keeping with the style set by the Lotus Eleven or Lola Mark One. The rear clip didn't hinge, but it was designed for quick detachment. It had a boot lid too for even easier access to cargo space, although Ginetta didn't provide a floor to the boot area. The customer could fabricate their own, or could leave it open for lightness and for suspension and fuel tank serviceability.
The Ginetta G4 design changed substantially over time. As mentioned above, the early Series One bodies had small tailfins; but these were eliminated when the Series Two model was introduced in 1963. The Series Two rear bodywork was instead stretched out approximately eight inches to provide more cargo area. The Series 2 version also had re-located front spring mounting points and a BMC rear axle in lieu of the original Ford Anglia axle. The BMC axle was preferred because a better variety of gear ratios were available for it, because it weighed forty pounds less, and because it was two inches wider. The axle was located by trailing arms above and an A-bracket below. Independent rear suspension and four wheel disc brakes would soon be available in the G4R ("R" for racing) model variant that Ginetta introduced in 1964. In 1964 Ginetta also introduced a coupe version.
The G4 Series Three of 1966 marked a real departure in design. The original round-tube frame was replaced with a new "square-tube" design, and the front suspension was redesigned to utilize Triumph Herald wishbones. From the outside, the Series Three could be differentiated easily because it sported pop-up headlights and a front bumper.
How was the G4 rated by the press? When introduced at the 1961 Racing Car Show, it was voted the most beautiful car at the show. That seems to have set the tone for press coverage. After commenting on its beauty, press reports generally noted the car was only suited for true enthusiasts, but they praised its performance. For example, for their July 1964 edition "Practical Motorist" magazine commissioned 1963 Grand Prix champion Graham Hill to review the new Ginetta G4 GT. He wrote: "From the appearance point of view, the Ginetta is one of the prettiest small cars I've seen. Normally it is difficult to make a small car with the right proportions, but this one looks good... Summing up, I would say that this is an enthusiast's car, and at £650 in kit form good value for the money - I can't think of a cheaper G.T. car. It has a lively engine, above average road holding, good brakes and steering, and should give a keen driver a lot of enjoyment."
The magazine's editors continued: "On the road, the car's small frontal area and smooth shape allow this relatively mildly tuned engine to push it convincingly faster than 100 m.p.h. while the car's all up weight of less than 10 cwt. gives a 0-60 m.p.h. time of 10.7 seconds and 90 m.p.h. from a standing start of 27.5 sec. For an engine capacity of 1,198 c.c. this is a pretty respectable road performance."
Motor Sport magazine reviewed the Ginetta G4 in September 1962 and again in April 1964. Their first G4 had a Ford Anglia 105e (997cc) engine, whereas the second had a Ford Cortina GT 1.5L engine. Noting that the larger engines seemed a much better value, they paused to explain why many people would buy the smaller engines instead: to fit into their chosen racing class! Specifically, due to homologation rules only the 997cc version was certified for national or international competition as of 1964. To meet these rules, a car manufacturer had to build 100 identical and complete cars. Ginetta chose to meet this challenge for the 1-litre class only.