Never Finished: Lenham GT Project

lenham-gt

Spridget fans have likely heard of or even seen a Lenham GT, but for the rest of us, the Lenham brand is likely unknown. The company started out building performance upgrades for the Austin-Healey Sprite and eventually built their own coupe body for the Sprite and the Midget. Much like the Sebring Sprite these coupes were successful in racing, but sadly there weren’t many built. Reader Angelo R. purchased this Lenham GT from a friend, who purchased it from the factory when it closed. It is one of two cars that were never finished, but Angelo is planning on finishing it and getting it on the road.

lenham-gt-interior

Finishing this car should prove to be interesting. It looks to be in great shape, but is missing most of the components. Thankfully, it is a Sprite and parts are incredibly plentiful. Before Lenham began building this car, they stripped the original 1958 Bugeye Sprite chassis down and refurbished it. They then grafted their own custom front and rear clips onto the chassis. It seems that this was about as far as they got with Angelo’s car before the factory was closed.

lenham-gt-engine

The engine bay is very sanitary, but is missing most of its pieces. This one was originally intended to be used for racing, but could be built for nearly any purpose. It has been over 40 years since this car was worked on last, but since purchasing it a few years ago, Angelo has managed to do a few things to it. He has already installed a motor and is in the process putting the rest of it together. We are sure he can’t wait to get it back on the road, especially given that it will be the first time for this Lenham to ever see the road.

lenham-gt-side-view

We would love to have a Lenham GT like this one, but we aren’t likely to ever find one here in the States that we can afford, but we can always dream! We wish Angelo the best of luck and we hope he will keep us updated on his progress, maybe if we are ever in Holland he will take us out for a spin in it. Do you have a great barn find story? Send us an email about it; it might just get picked to be featured in Tom Cotter’s next In The Barn Book.

Like This? Get Our Daily Email

Comments

  1. Tom Cotter tomcotter Member

    Tom Cotter here. Drop me a line when you have a moment. Thanks!

  2. Graham Line

    Let’s see. 1275 block and head with a balanced crank, another row in the radiator, Hepolites, maybe sneak in a Datsun 5- speed. Would prefer SU carbs for anything but a 100% racer. Should be hardened half-axles available somewhere.

    • rusty

      Hee hee yep.but over here in Aussie its always been Celica 5 speed [toyota conversions popular]

      agree on SUs…why does everyone always love the complications of anything that isnt SU..one needle….no hassles…it looks like he has something off the TARDIS on there.

      Nice car…keep us informed Angelo of your progress

      • Angelo

        The car is complete now , just needs paint and finishing , i will send pictures soon

  3. Cat7

    The easiest “exotic” project ever! Should be able to buy every single piece he’s missing as new!
    I would have bought this in a heartbeat……

  4. rancho bella

    My take is the windshield should be curved and more rake. I like the lines of the car. Yes Angelo, keep us in the loop. Diggin’ the Cosmics……….

    • Dutch 1960

      Some of the early Lenham GTs had an “aerodynamic” windshield installed, as per the Sebring Sprite. Others, especially the later builds, usually used the stock Spridget windshield, as this one has.

  5. scot

    ~ i agree that it is a fairly uncomplicated build. great score, Angelo. this will really stand out among other British creations. i hope we will see the finished Lenham GT soon.

    • Angelo

      The car is complete now , just needs paint and finishing , i will send pictures soon, but first i need to finish a few cars more

  6. jim s

    looks like a second set of bodywork in the photos. also looks like it uses the stock side curtians so you could take them off to get some air flow. would have to work on getting a lot of air flow to cockpit or it is going to get real hot real fast. would love to see this when it is finished. i have been trying very had to get over my lust for the sprite/midget. then you post someting like this and the flood gates open again. thanks. great find

  7. Rick

    I too would like to see it progress. I’d love to see better photos of what’s there now actually. It really looks interesting. Can we assume the car is in the UK?

    • Angelo

      I will send more pictures soon , the car is in holland

    • Dutch 1960

      The car is in the Netherlands. For some reason, Spridget conversions of all sorts seem to be popular in the Netherlands and Belgium. Perhaps an affinity for British iron, as the home country auto industry is small to nonexistent in those countries.

      • angelo

        actualy the car is in holland since the early 70s

  8. Robert J

    I am such a sucker for modified Spridgets and this is one of the coolest out there without a doubt. If this came up for sale locally, I would hotfoot it over with a trailer faster than you could say “Lucas-Prince of Darkness”.

    • Angelo

      I think it will be for sale when ready, i like to restore cars , when they are ready i just dont use them , to many project…

  9. scottski

    No demolition, or restoration: just add parts.
    It’s like a kit-car time-capsule…
    …that looks very, very nice.
    Should drive and sound “nice”, too.

  10. Dolphin Dolphin Member

    Lenham made a lot of car related items using fibreglas. I have one of their vintage catalogs and from that it looks like their biggest sellers were hard tops for many of the British roadsters and convertibles. This Sprite coupe conversion is probably one of the most elaborate conversions of theirs, and looks to be more aerodynamic than even the early Sebring Sprites, which had more of a notchback design. By 1963 & 1964 the Sebring Sprites had a fastback design that looked very Italian, more like this Lenham car but with side glass to provide more visibility and daylight inside.

    Being one of the last Lenham factory cars definitely makes this one collectible and well worth restoring. I’m sure it will get a lot of attention at any British car show. Congrats to Angelo and best of luck on the project. I hope we get to see more photos of the car’s progress.

    • Dutch 1960

      The Lenham GT was designed for the early cars, the ones with no side roll up windows, through about 1963. The later version, the Le Mans, had the rear quarter windows, and was designed for the second generation cars, the ones with roll up side windows, from about 1964 or so. But each car was a little different, and a few of the GTs have had the door windows fitted.

      Car owners would take their own cars to the Lenham Garage for conversion. As a late car, this one would have undergone conversion years after the donor car was produced. Most likely is that the car owner contracted Lenham for the conversion, with the intention of completing the rest of the work himself, but never really got to it. I think this because the Lenham Garage did not really shut down at all, but moved from project to project, taking customer orders as they came in, and eventually moved addresses and changed the business name a few times over the years. Cars could be ordered completely done by Lenham, or only the actual body conversion (which involved cutting away most of the stock metal bodywork), or the conversion parts would be sold over the counter for customer installation. The Lenham Garage did not keep careful and complete records, and the car remained registered under the donor car VIN, so the Lenham Spridget Register is the most complete source, and most of the car histories are word of mouth from prior owners.

    • Dutch 1960

      Actually Angelo’s car may have been built to clear out bodywork inventory. The bodywork installation is daunting for a first timer, so perhaps the Lenham Motor Co (not Lenham Garage, my error) acquired two rolling chassis and did the bodywork installation themselves, and then sold off the otherwise uncompleted results. It would be great to know the approximate build date, as it bookends the Lenham Motor Company production, which started in 1962, and also to know where the second car ended up.

      I will forward this thread to John Shepherdson (registry keeper) and Dave Matthews. They are among the most knowledgeable people on Lenhams, and perhaps they can chime in.

      • angelo

        john is a great help with finding info about these cars , he even provided me with a few nice parts that were missing, great guy,

        the 2nd car was raced in the 70s and crashed / destroyed

  11. Steve

    That isn’t a “barn find” That looks like his living room!

    Must be a single chap.

    Good luck with the project.

  12. Jeffrey Hamilton

    @Dutch 1960 +1 for all the useful Lenham info. I first saw the Lenham body kits in the early 60’s in the ad’s of a Brit auto magazine and always thought it was a great design and idea. I would love to have one of these, I love GT’s and fastbacks, so this is right up my alley. I did not know there were two body configurations, I did wonder if the later door with windup windows could be used and now I know, thanks to you.

    I wish every success to Angelo and if he’s reading this please do keep us informed of your progress, I’d love to see how you make out on this journey.

    cheers….JeffH

    • Dutch 1960

      Jeff, the roll up window conversion on a GT has been done, but I am not sure it is a “drop in” arrangement. It might take a fair amount of work. Otherwise, a GT or Le Mans on an early or late donor car should not be much of an issue.

  13. angelo

    lol , actualy this is not the place were i found the car, if i would be single , the car would be done years ago lol

  14. julian

    It really needs a 1275cc plus engine which that presently installed is not.

    • Angelo

      When you want to use the car in fia classic car racing you can not use the 1275 engine because its not homologated , this car has a 1098

  15. Charles

    Cool looking little car.

  16. Peter S.

    Is Tom interested in the cobra at front of photo?

  17. paul

    What did they do with the bug eye hood?

    • Angelo

      Paul, the car came with the hood shown in the picture

      Are you looking for a bugeye hood?

  18. angelo

    the car is for sale

    please contact me at harleyferrari@hotmail.com

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks. Don't post your car for sale in the comments. Click here to get it featured on the homepage instead.

*

Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.