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Saturday, March 25, 2023

Remembering a short lived British' brand of Tornado Cars

Rare ONES As previously discussed by many world automotive enthusiasts, that in the late 1950s and early 1960s, there're  many sportscar of plastic-bodied relatively affordable GTs entered the UK's market with brands such as Elva, Lotus, Marcos, Peerless, Reliant, Rochdale, Turner, and TVR in which all vying to be the master of the automarket in such class.
1958 Tornado Typhoon Roadster is supported by Ford powertrain and was marketed with affordable prices at launched. (Picture from: Market-Bonham)
And one of them that is not so well known is Tornado, which entered the fray in 1957. And the man behind it was Bill Woodhouse, who is narrated to set up the company after found the car kit he bought was so badly built, he struggled so desperately to finish it.
1958 Tornado Typhoon Sportsbrake featured with a fiberglass station wagon superstructure replacing coupe's detachable hardtop. (Picture from: Story-Cars)
Since then he resolved to produce something under his own autobrand that would be made to a much higher standard, for the reason then he partnered with his colleague Tony Bullen to estabilish an automaker company called Tornado Cars Ltd back in 1957, based in Mill End, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, England.
1961 Tornado Tempest (435 WNO) 1000cc sat on display at the Sywell Classic 2018. (Picture from: Flickr)
In short, the company's first production was launched in the 1958 called the Tornado Typhoon is supported by Ford powertrain and was marketed for less than £250 in roadster and shooting-brake styles. It is believed that between 300 to 400 of the Typhoon car, both complete and kit form, were produced and sold to the public.
1960 Tornado Competition Tempest 2 seater powered by an 997cc S4 OHV engine. (Picture from: Flickr)
The company's second model called the Tornado Tempest which replaced the Typhoon was launched in 1960. In appearance it was not actually a new design, only the Typhoon was updated to use the Ford Anglia 105E engine and Triumph Herald running gear. Even though all of these cars were produced with high quality standards and sold at affordable prices, they still could not change public opinion which looked at the Typhoon and its successor Tempest have an awkward appearance. During its production periods as much as 15 units for all Tempest bodies including 2 seater, 2 seater coupe, 4 seater, 4 seater coupe and shooting-brake.
1961 Tornado Talisman Coupe (owned by Bill Woodhouse) is a modern and attractive looking four-seater coupé. (Picture from: BelowTheRadar)
All of the above seemed to have started to change when the company launched the Tornado Talisman in late 1961 as the third model. So this can also be said to mark the company's new era beginning. In appearance, the Talisman is a modern and attractive looking four-seater coupé that is manufactured to high standards, is still relatively affordable prices. In standard form, Tornado Talisman' power came from a Ford Classic 1,340 cc engine with a pair of twin-choke Weber carburettors, also had the option with the powerplant built by Cosworth.
In standard form, the Tornado Talisman' power came from a Ford Classic 1,340 cc engine with a pair of twin-choke Weber carburettors, also had the option with the powerplant built by Cosworth. (Picture from: BelowTheRadar)
The company also provided two options to the prospective buyer, in which they could choose a kit priced at £875 (to avoid paying purchase tax), or a ready-made car priced at £1,259 while at that time the Lotus Elite has priced of £1,949, the Jaguar XK150 was £1,665, and the Triumph TR3 is only £991. Throughout 1962 the company enjoyed the sweet success of Talisman's high sales figures, and said 186 Talismans had been made, thus financing the racing passion of Bullen and Woodhouse, both of whom were keen amateur racers. 

However, it seems that the winds of change began to blow at the end of 1962, when Tornado Cars began experiencing financial difficulties and forced the couple to look for investors. At one point Colin Chapman was reportedly interested in acquiring the company, but he didn't because he hit financial problems of his own at the time. Due to the lack of investors, Tornado Cars underwent voluntary liquidation in 1963.
The company was later purchased by amateur racer John Baekart who opted for a strategy of cutting production and expanding the tuning side of the business. However, it seems that Baekart's efforts were also fruitless until he finally gave up in 1964, since then Tornado Cars really went out of business and dissapeared from the automotive market for good. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | BELOWTHERADAR | AUTOCAR | MARKET-BONHAM | STORY-CARS | LANEMOTORMUSEUM ]
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