I very recently received my copy of the Portuguese motoring publication Topos & Clássicos March edition. Thanks to a kind offer from its Director General, Miguel José Lopes, I received not only a copy of the magazine, but by exception, an electronic copy which enabled me to translate the article as whilst I have worked in Lisbon at times in my career, my Portuguese is pretty much non-existent !.
The article is written by José Mota Freitas and spans a full 8-pages of the magazine covering the history of the Unipower GT both from its early days until 1970. Being a Portuguese motoring magazine, the main emphasis of the article is of course on the three cars imported into Portugal in 1968 and the stories behind them. It is interesting to note here that two of these cars exist today in Portugal, the third having been raced and destroyed in a race in Angola, around 1969. There is also a ‘light touch’ given to some of the cars that were imported into Spain at that time and the drivers and events that they took part in during that period.
The article goes into quite some detail about the history of the Unipower GT from its conception in the UPD days through its second ownership with UWF, as well as the principal people behind the production of the cars. There is extensive detail as to the competition history of the Unipower GT from 1968 until 1970 both as a Works and Privateer entries in National and International events.
What will be of interest to many is that most of the cars that were sold in Portugal and Spain were competed in by their owners at some point or another. Given that all the cars imported were to road-car specification, this is quite unique and quite different from UK owners who used their cars more as just road going sports cars. Maybe because they were all road cars, the majority of competitive events were hill-climbs, both in Portugal and Spain, with some notable exceptions. Perhaps it was felt that a road car would be more competitive on a hill-climb than a race track.
José obviously had considerable input from some of the previous owners of the Portuguese cars, Francisco Sottomayor, Jorge Loures and Rui Sanhudo, as the level of competitive detail of these three cars is extensive along with many anecdotes as to their participation's, all with an obvious passion for their cars. Rui Sanhudo’s example that he bought in need of a restoration, is just such an example of someone who passionately wanted to recreate its heritage and compete once again, as it had done in the 1969 Granja do Marques at the street circuit of Vila do Conde in the Porto district. He achieved his ambition when in June 2003, his car ‘Returned’ to take part in the Centenary of the Vila do Conde circuit.
The article is very well written, however whilst the racing history is well documented, as is all too often the case with such articles, the Unipower story of its conception, development and production, and all the intricate stories behind this, has many detail inaccuracies in this respect. Given that successive articles are written by authors, based on information from previous articles and especially social media, it is not surprising that the accuracy of such articles is often lacking. This article is not without its fare share of such inaccuracies and the reason why this website was setup by the Club to create a platform to dispel the myths and articulate the history of the Unipower GT based on 48-years of research, supported by the memories and documentation from many of the surviving people who were there, making it happen at the time.
Having said this, José and his Director Hugo Reis should be highly commended for giving the Unipower GT such a prominent exposure in a national motoring magazine and for what is an otherwise very well intended and written article and giving the Unipower GT a greater awareness to all.
If you would like to order a copy of this magazine, you can contact Patricia Rosas on firstname.lastname@example.org and enquire about purchasing a copy to be posted. Please be aware that the current Coronavirus situation may well cause some delays in their ability to dispatch.