South-African Beauty! 1964 GSM Flamingo

And now, for something completely different, a lovely yellow 1964 GSM Flamingo! This elegant lightweight mini-GT car began life in South Africa where GSM (Glass Sport Motors) built two models, the Dart then the Flamingo, from 1958 until 1964. Inspired by the then-new technology of fiberglass bodies, GSM powered their ‘glass-bodied two-seaters with Ford Cortina inline four-cylinder engines. This one received a complete restoration in 1998, gaining a 1600 cc Escort Sport engine with Stage 2 camshaft for more fun. Sometime thereafter it was purchased by legendary South African Formula 1 race car designer Gordon Murray, and it now finds itself for sale in England at LegendsAutomotive. The asking price of £25,000 (about $33,000 USD) buys a snappy and ultra-rare sport coupe. According to Driving, only 128 Flamingos were ever built, and how many do you think are in this condition? That makes this Flamingo one rare bird. Thanks to reader Kyle Knorr for spotting this attractive GT.

The oversized drivetrain tunnel likely contributes structure to the spritely body. It’s all business inside, with a meaty steering wheel to grip if you explore this yellow bird’s 120+ MPH top speed. Fit and finish look great for a limited-production vehicle, and you might expect many kinks to have been sorted by this final year of production. While the ideal buyer might be a well-heeled South-African living in the British Isles, it wouldn’t surprise me if someone who’s never heard of GSM pulls the trigger through pure impulse.

The Escort 1.7L (105 cid) four with Stage 2 goodies should make about 115 HP. At 1600 lb, according to automobile-catalog, each of the Flamingo’s horsepower is saddled with a mere 14 pounds, a power-to-weight ratio good enough to make autoblog’s list of powerful modern cars.

Of course light weight makes a car easier to stop and coax around corners too, and while it may not be in the cards to see this ultra-rare Flamingo careering around corners at 10/10ths, let’s hope it gets some exercise once in a while. This interesting scalloped rear certainly calls attention to the use of fiberglass, and why not? The screaming yellow paint seems perfect for this spritely GT, and may even raise your safety quotient in traffic. Have you ever heard of a GSM Flamingo?

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Comments

  1. sir_mike

    Beautiful…always wanted one of these or the Dart.There is or was a Dart vintage racing here.Saw it at the PVGP a few yrs.back.I collected literature on them also.Wish I could at least find a model of one.

    Like 3
  2. Mr.BZ

    Never heard of this car but the power-to-weight ratio alone has made me an instant fan! Reliable power, and as Todd says the fit and finish is much better than expected. I want to drive this car.

    Like 6
  3. Phlathead Phil

    Interesting car. Although in Cali, the import tax to bring it into the state would more than kill a cow.

    Smog Exempt !!!

    Like 3
    • ChingaTrailer

      It’s a 1964, California should be no problem. Import duty is only 2.5%.

      Like 2
  4. local_sheriff

    I have knowledge to many ‘unknown’ South American, South African and Aussie market vehicles however this one has completely passed under my radar. Anyone know whether those headlights are the same as Porsche units…?

    Like 2
    • Dickie F.

      I saw my first one while having a family beach day in Cape Town in 59, at 4 years old, I could not believe how good it looked!
      There is/was a local club for these formed soon after, so there are a few still around today.
      It may be Porsche lights, but I doubt it, Porsche were not officially sold in South Africa until the 90s , so the lights would have been very expensive to import?

      Like 1
    • Solosolo ken tilly UK Member

      Could they not be VW Beetle headlight rims?

      Like 1
  5. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Nice looking rig. Looks like a BMW Z8 from the front.

  6. Malcolm Boyes

    What a joy..looks like Porsche headlights and the profile has a definite touch of Opel GT IMHO..and that rear end..is just unique. How great to own this!

  7. Martin Horrocks

    If Gordon Murray´s name is in the logbook this is a bargain. The dealer is also a class act. I know the GSM Delta, but the Flamingo has passed me by and is the more interesting of the twoo models.

    GSMs handle and race well and such an unusual car would be attractive to someone who wants to get an entry into Goodwood Fordwater Trophy. Which is someone that can easily afford a specialist race rebuild

  8. Marko

    Anybody else see an influence of the Alfa Romeo Bat-5 or Bat-7 Series of Dream Car prototypes from the rear angle ?

    Cool car. Never heard of the GSM, but I am going to research it.

    Like 3
    • John

      Yep.

    • R.Scot

      A beautiful little car, and yes, the rear section appears to have some styling cues of the Alfa Romeo BAT concepts implicated. This is a first for me, especially from South Africa.

    • Bill McCoskey

      Marco,

      Yes, I also see the Bat styling clues, and the vestigial central fin looks like my Tatra T-603.

  9. 86_Vette_Convertible

    This is one I’ve never heard of before. To me the front end looks like it has a touch of an Alfa in styling, and maybe the rear is their rendition of a split window couple (;-). It would be interesting to take onto the track and see what it would do.
    Overall, I find it interesting and I like it with the possible exception of the rear end, which to me looks strange.

  10. Solosolo ken tilly UK Member

    Back in the Noughties I was a classic car dealer in South Africa and a fellow brought one of these in for me to sell on consignment. He asked me not to let anybody drive it unless he was present as it was too powerful/hairy for an amateur to test drive. I thought he was joking as it only had a Ford Cortina 1500cc engine until he took me on a test drive to show me how it performed! From that moment on nobody touched it until my friend, who knew the owner, bought it, however, while he was doing some touch up work on the car over Christmas he had a brain aneurism and sadly died and the car was trailered away and sold by the estate at auction. One helluva car. Another of my friends has a GSM Dart that he raced, and won his class several times, in the Kyalami 9 hour held outside Johannesburg where races were held from 1958 to 1960 at a circuit at the Grand Central Airport near Midrand, before moving to Kyalami Grand Prix circuit in 1961 until the late eighties.

    Like 3
  11. Gerard Frederick

    Another victim of the o so benign and beneficial new ¨governments¨ of South Africa, that once fabulous power house of a nation.

    Like 2
    • Flamingo64

      Not in the slightest. They stopped production in 1964.

      Like 1
  12. Wayne Meyer

    As Bad Chad says, this car is cooler than dangit!

    Like 1
  13. Euromoto Member

    Split window, like the Corvette the year before. Is it just me?

    • Dickie F.

      Actually, I believe these were sold since 1958, so the Corvette came 5 years after this design hit the market ?

      Like 4
  14. Dickie F.

    Actually, I believe these were sold since 1958, so the Corvette came 5 years after this design hit the market ?

    Like 1
    • Solosolo ken tilly UK Member

      Wrong way around Dickie. According to Wikipedia the first Corvette came out in 1953, 5 years EARLIER than the GSM Flamingo and Dart.

      • Dickie F.

        Sorry Ken. Comments is referring to who was “first” with the sporty version of the split rear window. The Vette or Dart.

        Like 1
  15. ChingaTrailer

    Split rear window is like my old 1957 Tatra 603 which long proceeded the Corvette.

    Like 2
    • Bill McCoskey

      ChingaTrailer,

      Your comment about the Tatra reminded me of a conversation I had with a well known Corvette collector in 1991. I told him I just bought a very nice, all original, split window with factory installed 4-wheel disc brakes.

      Well we went back & forth, he kept insisting NO split window cars came with factory 4-wheel disc brakes, and I assured him I had just such a car. Well he bet me dinner that my car could not have come from the factory with 4-wheel disc brakes.

      I took him up on the bet, and proceeded to pull out the photos of my 1962 Tatra T2-603, a car that had been updated by the Tatra factory in 1968, that included the installation of Tatra’s copy of the Dunlop 4-wheel disc brakes.

      He remarked that my car was not a ‘Vette, and I agreed, reminding him that I never said the car was a Corvette! He simply assumed if I bought a split window car, it must have been a Corvette!

      I had a great steak dinner that evening!

      Like 3
      • ChingaTrailer

        Likewise I told a friend that I had just acquired a V8 Hemi Muscle car, with a factory four speed, and it was also air cooled, rear engined and built by Communists! He thought I was nuts as he had never seen, nor knew anything about the Tatra 603!

      • Bill McCoskey

        ChingaTrailer,

        Is your Tatra the 1957 T-603 that came from Las Vegas? If so, that car has quite a history?

      • ChingaTrailer

        No. I bought my 1957 Tatra in Colorado from a Czech couple who brought it with them when they emigrated to USA.

        Ultimately Bonham’s sold it to someone in Russia!

  16. chrlsful

    great minds think alike.
    And
    this is a good one – nota lota crossflows

  17. Solosolo ken tilly UK Member

    I’m surprised that having been designed by three great South African enthusiasts, that they didn’t manufacture tuned length exhaust headers for that unbreakable, five main bearing, cross-flow engine. My Cortina had the 1200cc three main bearing engine and every time I hammered it the centre main would start to rumble due to the crankshaft whip. I went to the Ford agent and he said “They all do that, just drive it as it won’t get any worse” and he was absolutely true, I drove it for many thousands of miles after that and just got used to the rumble.

  18. Gerard Frederick

    I don´t want to rain on anyone´s parade, but the Tatra was designed by decidedly non-communist German by the name of Ledwinka, a buddy of Ferdinand Porsche´s from college days. It can be said without fear of informed contradiction, that the entire industrial plant in Bohemia-Moravia (the CORRECT name of the country) had been started by Austrian Germans during the Austro-Hungarian empire. During the 1930´s Tatra, Skoda, Jawa, Böhmerwald motorcycles etc. worked closely together Germany´s DKW; in fact the Jawa motorcycle was a DKW clone until their 4-stroke machines in the late 60´s. The Czechs also had a first rate designer who worked exclusively on designing stream-lined car bodies (Jary?), some of which bodied Czech sporting cars which used DKW front-wheel drive, 2-stroke twin cylinder mechanicals.

    • ChingaTrailer

      Ah, but weren’t both my 1957 and 1962 Tatra 603s produced by a Communist regime? Also remember that Tatra exists today building trucks and is perhaps the second or third oldest motor vehicle manufacturer.

    • Bill L McCoskey

      I’m pleasantly surprised to see just how many Tatra people are on Barn Finds!

      You are correct when you mention one of my heroes, Dr. Ing. Hans Ledwinka, a brilliant mechanical engineer who gets very little recognition for his contributions to the Automobile. He basically designed all Tatra vehicles until the introduction of the T-603 in 1956, because by then he had been jailed by the communist government for nazi collaboration. After that, all Tatra vehicles [cars & trucks] were designed by Dr. Ing. Julius Mackerle, another equally deserving automotive designer. His simplified 2.5L air-cooled hemi V8 was used not just in cars, but in light/medium trucks, stationary power plants, military equipment, and in V4 & V6 variants, powered many different racing vehicles all over Europe, with a great track record of wins.

      You are also correct when you mention Jaray. The Tatra company did purchase design rights to Paul Jaray’s groundbreaking streamlining concepts.

      Like 1
  19. Gerard Frederick

    So? The design, as well as the history is what I am talking about. Communist regimes logically took what they found and used it. They in fact built a first rate heavy industry in East Germany based on what had been there before. This even included an aircraft industry, based on Arado, which the Soviets unceremoniously dismantled and incorporated into the soviet aircraft industry way back in 1953. The MZ motorcycle proved all sceptics about the 2-stroke engine wrong etc., etc. The point is just because a communist built something doesn´t mean he originated the idea.

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