Hand Built Fun: 1964 Gilbern GT

64 Gilbern gt 2

We love unusual low production vehicles and that is exactly what this is. This Gilbern GT is based off of BMC running gear and sports a fiberglass body. According to the Gilbern Owners Club it would appear that only 202 of these GT’s were built. This small, interestingly styled, little British car doesn’t look to bad off, but appears to be in the middle of a restoration. Pricing on this British GT isn’t clear, but the seller states “worth more than a best offer under fifteen thousand dollars.” Find it here on craigslist out of Annandale, Virginia.

64 Gilbern gt 1

The styling on the Gilbern brings to mind a few different cars. The nose hints just a bit at a Cisitalia 202, and the hatchback shape with the small fins bring to mind an MG Midget with an Ashley GT fastback conversion, or a Sebring Sprite. The condition doesn’t really look bad. The body and fiberglass look clean and crack free, although the paint does look a little dry. The passenger rear taillight is faded and likely a difficult part to procure. This was the “best” Gilbern GT you could have purchased. It is an 1800 model, with wire wheels and MGB components. These cars were originally designed to use Austin A35 parts and a BMC A series engine.  So this is definitely desirable being a later model GT and left hand drive. The 1800 engine and transmission included with the car appear in like new condition, so we are curious as to why they are out of the car.

64 Gilbern gt 3

It is unclear how complete this Gilbern is, but its looks like a nice enough car that we are chomping at the bit to buy it. All of the mechanical components are easily available, and the body overall appears complete and in decent condition. We would love to see the interior and have some further information as to the completeness and condition of this Gilbern. This is a rare opportunity that likely will not last too long. The Gilbern Owners Club can give you more details and history about this interesting car, as well as the rest of the cars they produced. Would you take on this interesting British GT? What would you do with this Gilbern?

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Comments

  1. Alan (Michigan)

    The shape is kind of “Aston-Martinish”, I think.

    If someone wants to upgrade the performance, there are quite a few drivetrains which might be a good fit.

    Power it, drive it. That is what cars were made for.

    • Don

      may be time for that eye checkup Alan

      • Alan (Michigan)

        Heh. :-D

        Not as well proportioned perhaps, but I think that the fastback roofline is what triggers the thought. I might change my mind if I saw it in person….

    • Brian Staff

      It’s a little short and fat compared to the Aston, but I can see it.

      • Jeff

        Hi Brian, The Gilbern G/T is my car and thanks for the attention and comments. I’ll add interior and other pics. My shop rebuilt the engine and OD gearbox and kept them inside the shop with the car. Then 2008 came along and things got a bit tougher. I mostly drove B G/T’s in my 39 years of working on only British cars and it sure seems like BMC visited Wales and realized they needed their own wonderful hatchback which came out in 1965. Years after the beautiful Gilbern G/T. thx. Jeff

  2. Ken Nelson

    If he wants $15 K +, he should’ve included a whole lot of better photos – I just don’t understand why people don’t use their flash & compose their pics better – no shots of the interior or dash, or am I missing something???

    Like 1
    • Brian Staff

      Most people can operate a camera, but some just cannot take a good picture if their life depended on it. Better pictures of this car may give it a more appealing look that would be more worthy of the 15k price tag.

  3. Bob Hess

    Tail lights look like early Midget/MGB with different lower lenses. Good $3K project.

    Like 1
    • Brian Staff

      Good eye Bob, I agree, I do think they are mk2 Sprite/midget tail lights. I also agree with your price estimate. I think 3k looks fair, but it is exclusive and rare, so someone out there may be interested enough to match the 15k price.

  4. OhU8one2

    Would it be possible to squeeze a Rover V8 in the engine bay? Like MG did with the B GT. Cool car though,can’t believe l have never seen one before.

  5. bcavileer

    Tail lights, tag lights and other bits are std fair, look around it is not rare. The plastic fantastics never turned me on. Kinda looks like too many others.

  6. Saabist

    This picture bought back some memories , a guy in the village where I’m from in the MIdlands ( UK) had one in the 60’s , metallic blue ,wire wheels, MGB Engine, he traded it for a Studebaker Avanti ! An even rarer sight in rural Staffordshire

  7. ClassicCarFan

    I’m sure you’re right, all the individual components would have been sourced off other cars. This was the only car built in Wales (as the CL listing says ) and it was a very small operation so they would have not manufactured many of their own parts. The drive-trains for Gilberns were typically MG powered I think and later Ford V-6. The Gilbern Invader with the V-6 was quite a good sporting GT in it’s day.

    It would make an interesting and different little GT project I reckon. My parent are Welsh so maybe I should take this one on out of patriotic “heritage” duty but I can’t really see it being $15 grand’s worth, especially with it being a virtually unknown brand over here? (outside of specialist sites like this anyway)

    Like 1
  8. Bruce Joslen

    I think it looks a bit Aston-ish too. The tail lights look to be Austin a40 Farina.

  9. Jesper

    Isnt there something with the rear window?
    Or is it the rubberlist?

  10. Dutch 1960

    A stubby, small Bristol 405, actually.

    As a fan of ’60s British oddities, I seriously considered buying this one some days ago, when it was first posted. These are, no doubt, nice cars to drive in that communicative, leisurely British way, given that the driveline and suspension are parts-bin sourced.

    But the weakness on these is rusting out of the frame, as it is one of those, like early TVRs, that have a fiberglass body bonded to a metal frame. The photos suggest a project that went awry after the mechanical bits were repaired and restored. The grubbiness and sense of abandonment in the photos makes me think the owner finally realized that only a total teardown and rebuild of the frame and bodywork will get this car where it needs to be.

    At half the price, it might be a worthy gamble. But the likely dollar investment and time commitment to get it done means that, at $15k, it is way overpriced, and the job requires a person totally committed to getting this particular car back on the road. Too much time and too much money for me. The same amount or less will get you a scruffy TVR, and various MGs and Triumphs with a similar performance profile are cheap, cheap, cheap.

    I do hope the car gets restored, it deserves it. And the seller certainly didn’t dress up the car in order to sell it. There is a brutal honesty to those photos.

    Like 1
  11. Forzenbird

    Sometimes on these ‘project’ cars the photographer is much much better then we give them credit for. What appears to be poorly taken photos from bad angles and lack of detail will sometimes turn out to be the absolute best photos anyone could have ever taken of the car.

    Like 1
  12. Ken Nelson

    Yes, but how difficult is it to set up a small light on the ground to light up the fact that it looks like the front suspension is down to the knuckles, but can’t really see a thing there? Then put same lamp inside the engine compartment & interior – for what he’s asking, it’s obvious very little effort was put into the photography. I like the car, but the photography raises nothing but questions for me. Makes me wonder who did the rebuilding of the engine, etc. Same sort of care put into them?

    Like 1
  13. Jeff

    Hi, Thanks for the fair comments. This is my car and my shop rebuilt the engine and gearbox and kept them inside our shop with the car. I’ll put up interior pictures. Thanks, Jeff

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