Rare Welsh Wagon: Gilbern Invader Estate

Gilbern Invader Estate

I love to learn about new cars I’ve never seen before! Today I learned about a very special wagon that I had never heard or seen of. If you haven’t ever heard of Gilbern Sports Cars, it’s alright because there were only about 1k of these Welsh built cars ever produced. If you happen to know about Gilbern or have seen one in person, you know they are quite beautiful machines. You might also know that the Gilbern Invader Estate you see above is extremely rare. This example has been off the road since the late ’80s and is a real basket case, but given how rare it is, I think it deserves to be saved. Have a look at this two-door wagon here on eBay in Blackburn, Lancashire, England. Thanks goes to RickyM for the tip!

Gilbern Invader Grill

Of the 600 Invaders built, only 100 left the factory as estate wagons. Restoring such a limited production car can be an absolute nightmare, but restoring this Invader shouldn’t be too difficult as long as all the parts are still here. Being such a small company, Gilbern had to use parts from other cars and crafted the bodies from fiberglass. As long as the chassis is intact and the interior is complete enough to restore, parts shouldn’t be much of an issue. My only area of concern in terms of parts supply is sourcing replacement glass, which could be difficult if it wasn’t taken from a different car.

Gilbern Estate Interior

I’ve looked at a lot of wagons and this has to be one of my all-time favorites. The lines just go together and give the car a very sporting look. I would go as far as to say I prefer the looks of this Estate over the Invader coupe. On first glance I thought it was the result of the cross breeding of an Aston Martin and a Volvo wagon! That may not sound like a good pairing, but something about the looks of this car just work. Given the fiberglass construction, I would want to inspect the body for any cracking or damage. I would also be concerned about rust underneath, as it has been sitting for 25 years in a barn. Given that the mechanicals are Ford, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get the Essex V6 running again.

Gilbern Estate

Getting this car over to the States might be a costly challenge, but with a BIN of £999.00 (or $1,238) it isn’t an unrealistic buy. Of course I’m sure we have a few readers in the UK whowould love to have it! If I knew more about importing a car, I would have already bought it. I can only imagine the attention this wagon would get on the street and at the local show and shines. It could be a versatile and capable daily driver, but it is going to need a lot of work to get to that point. So, who here would like to put this Estate in their barn?

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Comments

  1. Paul

    i like the look! Kind of a Ferrari egg crate grill like the Pinin show car or the 50s Ferraris.

    Wiring looks scary.

  2. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    I LOVE Gilberns…especially the estates. Someday….

  3. rapple

    One of my British Fantasy Fiberglass, er… glassfibre collection. It would look good restored and parked in the garage next to this: http://www.carandclassic.co.uk/car/C567767

  4. Brian

    This car really lacks a refined style; at first I thought it was a homemade creation built in someones barn! It seems like the designer just couldn’t make up his mind: sleek Volvo P1800ES knockoff or early Jeep Wagoneer “bare bones” utility?

    This car reminds me of the inexpensive toy cars that were made when I was a kid. The toymakers either didn’t want to pay the car companies for the design right to make toys of their cars or they just couldn’t afford to do so. The toy cars would be styled simular to a given make, but they would be just different enought to keep the copyright attorneys at bay.

  5. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Brian — the Gilbern is similar to the Reliant Scimitar, a “shooting brake” design (not sure of the origin of the name) that the UK seems to embrace. Basically, think two-door sporting station wagon. There have been Aston Martin and Jaguar conversions, particularly the Lynx conversions on an XJS, that execute the theme well. If you consider the fact that it was a small company working with the design constraint of their existing coupe, I think they did a pretty good job. Of course, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder…

  6. cory

    I would love to have it, but I can just about guarantee it has a rotten chassis. sad, but hopefully it will find a home

  7. James M

    A minor correction £999 = $1558 The $1238 number – obviously a little euro rate mix up.

    My preference is for one of the early ’rounded corner’ Genie coupes however, according to the French publication Auto Reverse there were only 9 estate or shooting brake Gilbern Invaders manufactured. Production of the 9 began in 1971 and it’s the one the Auto Reverse writer chose as their favorite. Ignore Google Translate’s use of the English word tourer below:

    https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=fr&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.auto-reverse.com%2Fblases-par-la-scimitar%2F&edit-text=&act=url

    The chassis is of multi square tube configuration with the fibreglass body moulded in piece and therefore unstressed according to one source. I’ve seen high pressure compressed gas cylinders eaten by the voracious British tin worm so what’s underneath and out of sight cannot be out of mind. That said someone needs to step forward and restore it.

  8. RickyM

    They have a strange beauty about them. A lot of parts were taken from late 60’s / early 70’s British cars (headlights look to be from an Austin 1100 for example) but as you say the unique things like glass will be the problem here. It could look this good :
    http://hooniverse.com/2010/04/22/obscure-poorly-built-and-slow-the-gilbern-invader-still-best-welsh-car-ever/
    I will keep my eyes open for more UK barn finds for you.

  9. Murray

    Importing can be quite straight forward. If the car is a driver there are RoRo services to many US ports. When I had to check out these it would have cost around £1200 (~$2000 give or take) BTW your conversion seems a little optimistic. Another option if you have a few cars to transport is to rent your own container. These are available up to 45ft long. Get together with some friends and the container option could work out cheaper especially if the cars are not drivable.

  10. James M

    Oops. Dropped a word on the garage floor. The word is ‘one’. …”body moulded in ONE piece and therefore unstressed”… Makes sense now.

  11. Cain

    Kind of funny, the rims look a lot like 2 Invader rims placed on top of each other! These rims were very popular in the 60’s and 70’s for choppers and other custom motorcycles and are now beginning to make a resurgence.

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