A week ago,I went down to Eastleigh’s central recreation ground to see a group of Gordon-Keeble cars parade at the end of a 100-mile rally, run by the Gordon-Keeble Owners’ Club.
The Gordon-Keeble, sometimes dubbed Britain’s only supercar, was made in a hangar at Eastleigh airport from late 1963 to 1965. Only 99 were factory-assembled. One more was put together from spares several years later.
The car was the creation of John Gordon and Jim Keeble. It used a formula that has been tried by various manufacturers. Put a big 5.4-litre V8 Chevvy engine into a British space-frame chassis, and clothe it in a beautiful Italian body, in this case fabricated in fibreglass. The result was stunning, and with a bit more luck it would have been a huge success and be better known today.
The body design was carried out by a young designer fresh from college, one Giorgetto Giugiaro. It was the 21-year-old’s second ever design assignment. It still looks wonderful fifty years later.
As well as looking great, the car’s performance was electrifying (0-60 in about 6 seconds – for a four-seater, in 1964), and it handled well. On top of all that it was initially launched at just £2,798, later increased to £3,626-11s-3d. The price was far too low, and the company was soon in trouble financially. Component supply problems followed and the company went into receivership in 1965.
Of the 100 cars assembled, about 90 still survive, around the globe, largely thanks to that rust-immune fibreglass body. More pictures here.