One-Off 1968 SWM Gordini Race Car

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Form follows function when you’re building a racing car. This 1968 SWM in Tampa, Florida, may not have the lines of a contemporary Ferrari, but who needs Italian design and engineering when you can have SWM’s German design and French horsepower? Plus, if exclusivity is your thing, it’s hard to beat “1 of 1.” We all know what it’s like to pull into the country club and (once again) park our Ferrari next to another one. Those days are over as soon as you click Buy It Now and land this rare sports / racing car for $26,750 here on eBay.

I keep holding my hand over the rear of this car to imagine what went wrong with the design. Perhaps it’s super-aerodynamic, because that would excuse the posterior styling. However, compared to all the functional racing cars I’ve designed, this one actually exists, so who am I to judge? Joking aside the car’s back-story has it owned and stored by a member of the US military for 50-some years before its second life. It’s recently been reunited with the correct-style engine and five-speed gearbox.

Behold the SWM’s correct 1300 Gordini engine of Renault racing fame. The Gordini squeezes as much as 95 HP from the little four-cylinder without the use of turbo or supercharging.

The water-cooled Gordini engine appears to have used a front-mounted radiator. Currently sporting zip-ties as rear cover latches, the SWM rear suggests a design inspired by the original Star Trek shuttlecraft. Some hardware-store screen exhausts heat from the engine bay. Enthusiasts know that engine parts sticking up through the bodywork automatically makes a car faster. Sure; your Camry might have 301 HP, but does the engine stick out of the hood? Despite lacking a windscreen, the SWM’s “USA” sticker suggests the car is ready for a triumphant return to the roadways of its European youth. What is this “1 of 1” worth to you?

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  1. JohnD

    I complain when I find the writing bad, so I should give a pat on the back here . . . Love the shuttlecraft mention. Right on the money! And catching an innovative use of zip-ties is always worth a mention. Good job! (on the writing, not the car . .. ).

    Like 9
  2. Robert Thomas

    Reminds me somewhat of the Ferrari 250 Breadvan

    Like 5
    • scottymac

      Or the original Lola GT or Ford J car – until you get to the back half. Then? Compromise for engine cooling? Wheels are four lug, not three, like most Renaults. So maybe BMW suspension? Wonder where the original windscreen was sourced?

      Like 0
  3. Gsuffa GsuffaMember

    What is it like to have a race car with blind spots?

    Like 0
    • Bobinott

      Blind spots on a race car are not a big deal. To quote Raul Julia “What is behind me is not important”.

      Like 0
  4. Paul

    One word comes to mind “Fugly”.

    Like 3
  5. bobk

    OK, so I’m looking at the front (first picture) and thinking, not half bad. Then I got to the 2nd picture and move to “huh??”. And then I got to the 4th picture and “OMG”.

    Like 4
  6. Skorzeny

    Todd, they are cable ties, not zip ties. They tie cables and such together, but they don’t tie zips…

    Like 1
    • JohnD

      Good point, but when you tighten them up, the sound they make isn’t “cable.” They actually remind me of a souvenir from Rock City, with a small cardboard barn as an amplifier, and a plastic strip with serrations on it . .. so when you ran a fingernail over it, it said “see rock city.”

      Like 5
  7. Will Fox

    That has to be THE most hideous waste of fiberglass I’ve ever laid eyes on. Looks like a parade car in the Ukraine. On a REALLY tight budget…..yikes.

    Like 1
  8. Coventrycat

    Looks like the designer let his 10 year old finish it up while he slept in.

    Like 4
  9. Blyndgesser

    So this is what a Lotus Europa would have looked like if Colin Chapman had eaten the brown acid at Woodstock…

    Like 6
  10. exartist

    “German design and French horsepower”

    Add British electronics and Italian Metallurgy and you’d really have something!

    Like 4
    • Ike Onick

      The only thing missing would is some Soviet-era quality control.

      Like 2
  11. Ike Onick

    There is a race series for bricks?

    Like 1
  12. Ralph

    Looks like it would run real horror show like……it should impress me Droogs out for a night of the old Ultra Violence…….

    Like 0
    • Ike Onick

      With a little Ludwig Van on the eight-track

      Like 0
  13. Martin

    This was made back when they were still figuring out aerodynamics. It is an attempt at a kamm back, and if you look closely you will see shades of the Prius back end, so they had the right idea. It was meant to go fast with very little engine, not look good.

    Like 1
  14. philthyphil

    I had an SWM trials motorcycle in 1980…..wonder any connection

    Like 1
  15. KevinLee

    Love the interior spare tire/ wheel mount. No doubt keeps the outside aerodynamic.

    Like 0
  16. Wayne

    Ferrari nose, Bradly GT center, 1950s futuristic stero cabinet rear.
    Those really look like speaker grilles. I hope it was fast, because it would not win a beauty contest!
    The rear kind of looks like the Lotus Europa mold blew out under extreme pressure.
    If really a race car, why bother with the side rear glass? ( extra weight on the race track)

    Like 1
  17. Steve

    Where and when was it raced?

    Like 0
  18. Jim ZMember

    Windshield looks ultra clean….no wait…it’s missing!

    Like 0

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