1 of 80 Made: 1973 Piper P2

The world of kit car building is as deep and as varied as the solar system, it seems, with untold brands and one-offs that populate the oddball archives. Many of them were, not surprisingly, forgotten due to poor quality construction or lackluster driving dynamics, so to make a kit car that enthusiasts actually want to own is a major accomplishment. This is an exceedingly rare 1973 Piper P2, believed to be just one of 80 ever built. It’s listed here on the Garage 11 website in Hamburg, Germany with an asking price of just over $41,000. Thanks go to Kyle K for sending in the tip!

The P2 was the second iteration of the Piper GT, the brainchild of a Formula 3 racing team that desired to make a prototype all of its own. Like any kit car and its country of origin, the mechanical bits were plucked off any nearby shelf, with the original concept featuring front suspension from a Triumph and rear end from a Ford. The first version wasn’t exactly a success despite its slot-car size and incredibly low drag coefficient. The company faced numerous challenges, from failed bids at the 24 Hours of LeMans and the company founder being killed in a car accident.

This is a later P2, and the description claims it’s one of just two to be fitted with the more powerful engine option, a 130 b.h.p. 2.0L Ford four-cylinder. That has to be a hoot in a car this small and light, but surprisingly, you won’t be left with a milk crate and steering wheel for all that performance. The cabin is surprisingly well finished, with a layout that looks to have actually given some thought to driver comfort, unlike many other kit cars that require the owner to be a bit of a contortionist to operate. The wood dash, three-spoke steering wheel, and full center console give production-ready TVRs a run for their money.

That engine bay doesn’t strike me as a kit car – it looks way, way too refined and well-packaged. Now, obviously, someone has loved on this car in only the way a true Piper enthusiast could. And you notice small details – like the Piper-branded valve cover – that indicate someone had a dream at one point to make this company far bigger than it ever became. With so few remaining examples, you’ll likely have a hard time finding obscure switchgear, so choose your drives carefully. Would you choose this Piper or take home another equally obscure kit car representing one man’s dream?

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Comments

  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    Another one I’ve never heard of.This is a really interesting car,
    & looks like it’d be a blast to drive.
    Plus,if you took it to a British car show,you’d have the only red one.

    Like 10
  2. Rex Kahrs Member

    That license plate plastered on the nose of the car seems a bit of an afterthought.

    Like 5
    • boxdin

      Its been that way in the UK forever. Nothing looks worse than a Jag XK w a plate plastered across the hood.

      Like 2
  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    The Brits and Germans require license tags up front as well as a lot of other European countries. The specialty and kit cars usually didn’t think about providing a space for front plates, thus what you see here. When we took our ’65 Porsche coupe to Norway in the ’70s I had to build a bracket for the front plate. Never got one with the car.

    Like 6
  4. DayDreamBeliever Member

    A very unique style, unlike anything I have seen in many ways. If somehow that rear glass was to be broken, GOOD LUCK finding another one?

    • SubGothius

      That has to be Plexiglas, probably the side windows as well. Good news is, it won’t break easily; bad news is, you’d have to be diligent about cleaning and polishing it to keep it usefully transparent.

  5. Tony Primo

    Looks like something that Kyle K. would submit to BaT.

    Like 5
    • Jesse Mortensen Staff

      Kyle actually did send it in and we forgot to give him credit so thanks for the reminder!

      Like 1
  6. JoeNYWF64

    Would be home in movie THX-1138 or old British tv show UFO.

    Like 3
  7. Milt

    If the folks at Piper Aircraft knew about this they would have been sending their “Trade-Name Violator” attorneys pronto.

  8. Robert

    Well to me it looks to be similar to the FFR(Ford Factory Racing) car that many people don’t know what they are either , They also ran in the Lemans but its power plant was the Ford 289 cin . And that was one fun car id have to say since i had the chance to drive and fine tune one for the race .

  9. Joey2

    Go,Speedracer! GO !!!!

    Like 1
  10. Gerard Frederick

    What a beauty! Too bad there is a dearth of informtion regarding it.

  11. PatrickM

    Well, I certainly am not interested in this one, at all. Not that it isn’t good looking and probably a blast to drive. But, I live in the Maryland suburb of Washington, D. C. Driving that around here would be like taking your life in your hands. I-270 runs from I-495 (DC Beltway) up to I-70 at Frederick. It isa affectionately know as the I-270, NHRA drag strip. I-495 is known as the local NASCAR raceway. Need I say more?

    Like 2
    • JoeNYWF64

      Sounds like the police are really up to the task on that hiway.
      Do you see some low to the ground old imports with LOUD fart can “exhaust systems” on 270? Most are not very fast at all – just a lot of noise for that “race car excitement”, but beat by grandmas in their quiet v6 camrys.
      You should be ok on I-270 in the slow lane – just watch out for the out of control Ninja motorcycles. At the very worst, just drive with the hazard lites blinking. lol
      Or stick with 50 mph highways – maybe with some traffic lights.

      It must not get very hot in Germany, nor do they have toll booths? Because the side windows on this car are too big & don’t open – maybe they pop out?

  12. Martin Horrocks

    If you have heard of Piper Cams, this is started with the same people in the mid 60s, although the car project was soon sold on.Originally designed around Spridget bits, it became Ford powered. Don´t recall any Pinto-engined cars, like this.

    Piper doesn´t look like a kit car because it wasn´t. These are component cars, as Lotus, Marcos, Gilbern, Ginetta, TVR etc supplied full-trimmed, painted and wired cars with all new mechanical components to dodge purchase tax. Tax changes ended the party in 1972.

    You could assemble the car yourself or have it 3rd party built, and on completion the car would get factory warranty if successfully inspected by a qualifying dealer. Not like the kit car movements of the 50s and 80s onwards.

    Like 4
  13. toly arutunoff

    I owned both piper Le Mans cars in the early ’70s–about 36″ high, mid-engine, ‘twin-boom’ front ends, one with a wing between the booms and one without…the latter had had a rover v8 replacing the ford twincam. sold it to my niece’s husband who cut the roof off and put in a bmw 6 and can’t remember where it went! the cars never made it to Le Mans as a company exec was killed in a highway accident in an ‘ordinary’ car

    Like 2
    • Bill McCoskey

      Toly!

      Good to hear you’re still up & running! Did you ever get your Bentley “Incontinental” finished? What about your ’54 Packard?

      Bill McCoskey in Maryland

      • toly arutunoff

        it’s complete and I’m not impressed…my fault! it’s for sale for a reasonable offer!

  14. dogwater

    Peter piper picked ………….ok sorry

    Like 1
  15. Donek

    Useful: influx.co.uk/cars/piper/

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