Model history: Introduced in 1961, the Ginetta G4 proved both a big hit on the showroom floor and a formidable weapon on the track, harrying around much bigger engined machines across the British Isles. The four Walklett brothers, who had founded Ginetta, next set their sight on the lucrative American market. They understood that for this purpose the diminutive four cylinder engine would not suffice, so they launched the V8-powered G10 at the 1965 Racing Car Show.
The G10 was based on the proven design of the existing Ginetta models and was built around a steel tubular spaceframe chassis. Additional rigidity was provided by the glass reinforced plastic (GRP) body, which was bonded onto the chassis. Independent suspension was fitted on all four corners as were Girling disc brakes. To cut production costs, the Walklett brothers fitted the G10 with MGB doors and windshield. As a result the new Ginetta did bear more than a passing resemblance to the popular MG model.
To power the new Ginetta, the obvious choice was the Ford small-block V8, which was also used by the G10's intended rival; the Shelby Cobra. The prototype shown at the Racing Car Show featured a Shelby Mustang specification engine, good for around 290 bhp. In preparation for its competition debut it was subsequently uprated with four Weber carburettors and a hotter camshaft, raising the power to over 350 bhp. Tipping the scales at just 900 kg, the new Ginetta G10 boasted a very competitive power to weight ratio.
Following the motor show debut, the prototype was quickly converted to make its first competition appearance in the Redex Trophy for GT Cars at Brands Hatch late in 1965. In addition to the more powerful engine, the competition car was also fitted with a hard-top and received wider wheels, shod with Formula 1 specification tyres. Works driver Chris Meek, placed the car on pole and went on to win the event outright after a race-long battle with a Low Drag, Lightweight Jaguar E-Type driven with great verve by Robbie Gordon.
Amazingly this would be the car's only works outing, as for a variety of reasons, Ginetta returned to running the G4 and also switched their attention to the all-new mid-engined G12. Plans to run the G10 in the United States were thwarted by the governing bodies' refusal to homologate the Ginetta as a GT. That forced the car to run in the prototype class, where it faced the latest Lolas, McLarens and also the new G12. As a result, the considerable interest shown in the G10 did not result in any orders and only two or three were built.
Developing the G10 had come at a considerable expense, and to get a little return on that investment, the car evolved into the G11. Similarly shaped, this version was powered by an MGB sourced four cylinder engine and also featured MGB rear suspension. Part deliveries from the British Motor Corporation were, perhaps not surprisingly, slow as the G11 was a direct competitor to the MGB. This disrupted the Ginetta production to the extent that only a handful of G11s rolled off the line.
Although the star Ginetta G10 and G11 shined only very briefly, they did proof that the Walklett brothers could build proper Grand Tourers, and not just fibreglass kit cars as some critics at the time claimed. Today, these fabulous machines are a very rare sight indeed, and it is believed only one G10, the Brands Hatch winner, has survived as a complete car. Some G11s were later rebuilt with V8 engines, effectively turning them into G10s.
This is the original prototype Ginetta G10 that was first shown at the 1965 Racing Car Show and subsequently raced by Chris Meek at Brands Hatch. Although he was a works driver, Meek had not seen the new G10 in person until the first practice session. Having extensively raced the G4, he was more used to small displacement cars but quickly adapted to the hairy machine. This resulted in a pole position for the GT race, followed by a hard-fought victory against the mighty E-Type.
Not raced again, the G10 was later sold to the United States. In recent years, it has been brought back to Great Britain and completely restored by Gelscoe Motorsport. They tweaked the engine to produce a massive 450 bhp. At one of its first post-restoration outings, Gelscoe's Andy Newall raced the G10 in the Fordwater Trophy during the 2012 Goodwood Revival. Leading a flock of very well driven Lotus Elan 26Rs, he looked certain of victory until a wheel-bearing failed, which in the final lap resulted in the left rear wheel coming off. The rare Ginetta was nevertheless one of the stars of the weekend.