Like the Warwick GT the origins of Gordon-Keeble lie in Peerless Cars Ltd. In 1959 co founder of Peerless John Gordon teamed up with engineer and racing driver Jim Keeble to build a GT car for USAF pilot Rick Neilson who suggested fitting a a 4.6 litre 283 cui Corvette V8 into a Peerless chassis.
The steel body for the Gordon GT was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro working for Bertone who crafted it. The Gordon GT was assembled from scratch over 3 months just in time to be exhibited on the Bertone stand at the 1960 Geneva Show, where they it was well received. Autocar would later test the Gordon GT and proclaim that it was “the most electrifying vehicle that it has ever tested.”
The Gordon GT was later taken to the USA where Chevrolet executives gave the green light for the supply of 5.4 litre / 327 cui to be fitted to a production version of the Gordon GT known as the Gordon-Keeble.
During an advertising shoot for Gordon-Keeble a tortoise wandered on to the set and it became immortalised in the Gordon-Keeble badge. The prototype achieved 70 mph in first gear and had a top speed of 140 mph.
Due to problems with the supply of some parts, in particular the Adwest steering boxes which were held up due to ‘industrial action’ by Adwest employees, the Gordon-Keeble did not go into production until 1964, by which time it was decided to use a fiber glass body similar to the Bertone original built by Williams and Pritchard.
Gordon-Keeble struggled financially until 1965 when it collapsed with 91 cars built. The company was almost immediately revived as Keeble Cars Ltd who built 8 more cars to the Gordon-Keeble specification before insolvency struck again. One further example was constructed from parts in 1971.
In 1968 John de Bruyne bought the rights to manufacture the Gordon-Keeble and he built a further two cars badged as De Bruynes that were shown at the ’68 New York Auto Show.
The two cars seen here’ at Haynes International Motor Museum and Goodwood Revival were both first registered in January 1965, the blue one on the 12th and the red on the 14th.
Thanks for joining me on this “140mph Tortoise” edition of “Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me for a look at an Indy Car tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !