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Monday, April 3, 2023

This unique British sports car has a lot of loyal fans

Unique ONES Usually an automotive work will give a deep impression to its fans, when (in our opinion) it succeeds in realizing a unique design that is in accordance with the trend of the times, could meet the expectations of fans and of course affordable by the average financial ability of the enthusiasts.
Production of Piper sports cars began in the south of England back in 1960s, and they’ve now become bonafide cult classics. (Picture from: HotCars)
And the following automotive work although came from one of the British' brands was born as a small industry, however was considered successful to present a wide range of unique sports car products just enough to tempt and snare a certain group of people. No wonder then it has many loyal fans equal to world's big brands, like the Chevy Corvette, Porsche 911, Volkswagen Beetle, or Lamborghini Countach.
The Piper Sports Racer was a beautiful roofless sports prototype with a GRP body built on a space-frame chassis. (Picture from: AdrianFlux)
Maybe many of you don't know the brand in question above. Well, it's the Piper Cars owned brand whose story begins in Campbell's Garage in Hayes, Kent, England in the mid-1960s, where a talented team led by former racing driver George Henrotte created the Piper Sports Racer, a beautiful roofless sports prototype with a GRP body built on a space-frame chassis, which offered with a choice of drivetrains. Reportedly, the first examples left the Hayes premises in 1966.
The first example of the Piper Sports Racer was left the Hayes premises in 1966. (Picture from: RareComponentCars)
After that the team turned to building a fixed-roof car that could be used on a race track or highway. As the result, the Piper GT, a fixed-roof sports car appears with a futuristic style, which flows with the avant-garde lines designed (similar to the Sports Racer) by Tony Hilder. This sports car was first launched at the 1967 Racing Car Show.
Tony Hilder, known as designer of Piper Sports Racer, GT, and GTR posed along with an early Piper GT model. (Picture from: RareComponentCars)
At that time the company was selling a road going version of the Piper GT in a kit form, consisting of the body and chassis. Its production was running for while, then delayed due to quality issues (numerous design flaws identified by customers who bought the few already sold). It should be underlined, the Piper GT' kit car consists of a front-engine rear-drive tubular steel chassis using Triumph Herald front suspension and Ford rear axle components, in which the chassis could take a variety of engines.
An orange-colored Piper GT posed along with the Piper GTR Group 6 racer. (Picture from: RareComponentCars)
However, some parties think that the Piper GT still had potential, and one of those whose thought of the same thing was Brian Sherwood, a racer who bought one of the early Piper Sports Racers. Furthermore, under Sherwood' influence, GT later evolved into the Piper GTT. This model appears to be more of a road-going vehicle powered by Ford running gear and is available in both fully-finished and component versions.
An example of the Piper GTT as the first built road going cars with shorter wheelbase and bulge in the hood. (Picture from: RareComponentCars)
When orders started to come for new cars had emerged a problem, due to the limited space, in which at Hayes premises also accommodated the increasingly successful tuning business. The solution is to split the company; Henrotte and engine wizard Bob Gayler would continue to run the engine tuning business (which would evolve into Piper Cams) from the Hayes premises, while the manufacturing section would taken over by Sherwood, and moved its production premises to a larger area in Wokingham.
The Piper GTT appears to be more of a road-going vehicle powered by Ford running gear and is available in both fully-finished and component versions. (Picture from: RareComponentCars)
While production of the Piper GTT was running at the time, Sherwood was eyeing the possibility of entering his production car to the 24-Hours Le Mans racing event. Therefore then he began work in designing and building a new Piper race car with the aim of getting it ready to compete in the 24-Hours of Le Mans 1969. As the result, the Piper GTR, a closed-cockpit sports prototype standing a mere 30 inches high, initially powered by a 2 liter BMW engine, and known as another striking design works of Tony Hilder.
This Piper Sports Racers Coupe was modified result of the Hayes workshop for Brian Sherwood back in the 1967. (Picture from: RareComponentCars)
Only one example ever built, powered by a Ford 1,300 cc twin-cam, was ready in time for Le Mans, however, it got engine troubles resulted in its entry being withdrawn by the race organisers. Sadly, Sherwood would never get another chance to see one of his cars run at the Sarthe, for he died in a road accident in December, 1969.
The first prototype Piper GTR of Brian Sherwood is powered by an 2,000 cc BMW drivetrain. (Picture from: RareComponentCars)
Shortly after Sherwood's death, Piper Cars' two employees, Bill Atkinson and Tony Waller took over as the helm of the company and promptly shelved the racing project to focus on the road models. It's clearly now, the death of its owner was not the only reason for the Piper GTR project termination, but the company' new skippers didn't care as much, and wasn't interested in continuing it.
The Piper GTR race cars was a closed-cockpit sports prototype designed by Tony Hilder, powered by a Ford' 1,300 cc twin-cam, and ready to compete in the 24-Hours of Le Mans 1969. (Picture from: RareComponentCars)
And in 1971, Piper Cars (now renamed Emmbrook Engineering) released the Piper P2 (Phase 2). As you can see it was a thoroughly revised of Piper GTT ranging from the chassis, body and interior. The revision results made the P2 has a roomier interior and improved gearing, although what Atkinson really wanted was to launch a much bigger all-new model better suited for daily driving on regular roads.
Several Piper P2 sports cars sat on display including later models with pop-up headlights. (Picture from: RareComponentCars)
Like to its predecessor GTT, the Piper P2 is also available in both fully-finished and component versions, and it sold way into the mid-1970s. It is not known exactly how many cars have been produced by this British company. As quoted from HotCars, the company, from inception, produced around one hundred examples of the Piper sports cars. They were all basically the same car offered in incremental upgrade stages and got slightly varying names.
An early Piper P2 featured with a custom air dam, Perspex covered headlights coupled with interesting paintwork. (Picture from: RareComponentCars)
It seems that this British company has reached the end of its life in middle of 1970s, when it didn't have enough money to finance the kind of car Atkinson really wanted to build, so its vision should be stucked in the sketch stage, and everyone involved was forced to look for another paying jobs. 
At the end, the fate of Piper sports cars largely contributes to its cult status, a late-sixties dream car that never got to sit at the same table with the Lotus or even TVR, despite coming close to doing just that, before left and leaving many loyal fans until today. We don't get it, how about that. Please kindly enlighten us if you know about it. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | ADRIANFLUX | HOTCARS | SOUTH-WILLINGHAM | ROADANDTRACK | RARECOMPONENTCARS | EN.WIKIPEDIA | DE.WIKIPEDIA ]
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