Ernie Unger founder of the Unipower GT and Patron of the Owners Club & Register
It must be very nearly 60 years since I first had the germ of an idea for a mid-engine sports / GT car. The inconvenience of having to earn a living together with being heavily involved – quite successfully – in other people's racing programmes meant the concept was taking rather a long time to germinate. Some 4 or 5 years on, having learned much and that even I only had 7 days per week, with others on board things began to happen. All that ultimately culminated in the Unipower GT in production, very well received, and being shipped to countries around the world.
From being a very early employee at Lotus my career took me via Rootes, as a development engineer, to doing all sorts of things at Ford Motor Co., some very interesting and some not so, but never very far away was my prime motivation of motor racing machinery. The early 60's. was the time my ideas were germinating into the Unipower GT. Yet it never occurred to me that more than 50 years later some cars would still not only be running, but also still attracting so much interest and even acclaim from both enthusiasts and the press.
We were very lucky to have so many professional contacts able to guide us who we naturally used whenever necessary, as indeed we found amongst our customers. One in particular has not only flown the flag from day one, but waved it vigorously. He is of course Gerry Hulford. He bought his first Unipower GT in 1972, and by 1978 had owned four significant examples of the breed. Shortly after the first he started the Unipower GT Owners Club, which met monthly at a Surrey pub, regularly meeting six or so owners from the south. This quickly grew to taking a stand at the inaugural Classic Car Show at Alexandra Palace which continued for many years and other high-profile events helping to further the Marque.
Following the closure of the plant Gerry was able to acquire all the original Unipower car documentation and the original body moulds from Specialised Mouldings. With all this detail to hand Gerry has rightly become the Number One contact around the world for anyone running, restoring or even just interested in all things Unipower GT.
In the 1980's many UK owners sold their cars overseas. Consequently, the Owners Club was greatly reduced in numbers, but not in enthusiasm. So, Gerry downgraded the Owners Club to The Unipower GT Register, which organised a very enjoyable 50th. Anniversary bash at Beaulieu Motor Museum in 2016. Both Val Dare-Bryan and I greatly enjoyed the occasion. The following year Club Lotus kindly provided a similar event at Castle Combe.
Gerry Hulford has played a huge role in ensuring the continuation of the Unipower GT marque's status, and I am delighted that he's to launch this website. For many years I have been impressed by the depth and breadth of his knowledge and how he has made himself available on the subject. As I said right at the start of this, we, and you, are all lucky to have him !.
It is a great honour for me to gladly accept his kind offer to be Patron of the Club, and I look forward to supporting as many future Club/Register events as I am able.