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Sunday, May 14, 2023

The only-one Gilbern T11 concept car of Wales

Forgotten ONES Still reviewing about unique sports cars from all over the world whose existence may have never been known before. Well, this time we stopped in Wales, which turned out to have had a car manufacturer in the past with several car models produced during the 1960s to 1970s. The Welsh company referred to above is Gilbern Sports Cars (Components) Ltd.
The only-one Gilbern T11 sports car prototype of Wales built by Gilbern Sports Cars (Components) Ltd. back in 1970. (Picture from: Historic Automotive Promotion)
As quoted from Wikipedia, the company is based in Llantwit Fardre, Pontypridd, Glamorgan, Wales was founded in the 1959 by Giles Smith (previously a butcher, who died in 2003) and Bernard Friese, a German engineer with experience in glass fibre mouldings. The name, Gilbern, was a combination of the first three letters of the name of founder Giles Smith and the first four letters of the name of his co-founder Bernard Friese.
The only-one Gilbern T11 sports car prototype of Wales appears in the typical wedge style, and sits very low and it’s thin wide windscreen enhances it’s wide profile. (Picture from: Historic Automotive Promotion)
The company started as a small workshop in Church Village, Pontypridd but when production started the business moved to a new location in the old Red Ash Colliery near Llantwit Fardre. The cars were initially only available as kits but later complete cars became available as well.
Actually the interior of the only-one Gilbern T11 sports car prototype of Wales was a blank canvas; then adjusted by Johnston used Smith dials to match the Genie/Invader during restoration. (Picture from: Historic Automotive Promotion)
During the production period from 1959 to 1973, this Welsh automotive company produced several car models, such as 280 units of Gilbern GT (1959-1967), 197 units of Gilbern Ginie (1966-1969), and finally 603 units of Gilbern Invader (1969-1973). And to promoting their products, Gilberns have often been entered in competition at the Wiscombe Park Hillclimb, first appearing there in 1962 in the hands of an Aston Martin Owners Club member.
The only-one Gilbern T11 sports car prototype of Wales initially powered by a lightly tuned 1.5-liter Austin Maxi drivetrain, then replaced by a Toyota MR2's 2.0 liter Mk 2 engine in 2011. (Picture from: Historic Automotive Promotion)
Towards the 1969, this company had experienced financial difficulties which led to a change of ownership from Giles Smith shifted to Ace Capital Holdings Ltd, whose main business was the manufacture of slot machines. While at the same time, in 1970 the Welsh autocompany had built a one-off concept car prototype called the Gilbern T11, is intended to be the company's new two-seater sports car with the aim to display it at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show (but it never happened) due to this project was ceased while the prototype was in a partially built condition.
The only-one Gilbern T11 sports car prototype of Wales has extremely curvy rear end softens the sharpness of the front end and gives the car a very wide stance. (Picture from: Historic Automotive Promotion)
This concept car was designed by Trevor Frost or Trevor Fiore, who was previously known through his works such as the TVR Trident, Alpine A310 and Monteverdi 450 Hai. This one-off sports car of Welsh appears in the typical wedge style of the 1970s, which at first glance resembles the shape of the Monteverdi 450 Hai (maybe because both were designed by the same person).
The only-one Gilbern T11 sports car prototype of Wales during restoration with Gordon Johnston at its side. (Picture from: Gilbern)
It was powered by a lightly tuned 1.5-liter Austin Maxi drivetrain turned by 180 degrees, and from three chassis were built but only one example was finished. Although this Gilbern T11 is very promising, the company recalled the project, then shortly thereafter it went bankrupt in 1973. It was later learned the car was under the ownership of Gordon Johnston who reportedly spent nearly 10 years restoring those forgotten Gilbern sports car prototype, and completed in 2009–2010.
Unfortunately, this prime condition did not last long, this car had an accident in 2011 which destroyed the driveshafts and differential gearbox, so the engine should be replaced with Toyota MR2's 2.0 liter Mk 2 engine capable of producing 200 bhp. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | GILBERN | FABWHEELDIGEST | HISTORIC AUTOMOTIVE PROMOTION | TAKETOTHEROAD | WIKIPEDIA | SIMONCARS ]
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