UNIPOWER GT

Competition Cars - Privateer Teams

These cars, built to a Competition specification, were supplied to customers whose intent was to go racing and whose specification benefited from the factory developments at the time. They competed in many countries across the World, both in hill-climbs and circuit racing at both National and International events, achieving some notable successes. The limited period in which the factory was active however, had an impact on these cars ongoing development, as often the early owners did not have the expertise to overcome some of the inherent characteristics, which required stringent adherence to setup, to mitigate or some interesting driving techniques to overcome !. As we will see, some owners made some changes from the factory spec, with questionable benefits.   

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Chassis 1266.9  -  Built December 1966 - January 1967           

Owner : Currently unknown (UK)

Presented at the 1967 Racing Car Show on the UPD Stand, this was the second Unipower Competition chassis to be built and benefited from the extensive development undergone on the first Competition chassis # 766.2 during 1966. Despite considerable interest, the chassis was not delivered to its first owner, Janspeed Engineering until the 8th June 1967. Supplied without wheels/engine/gearbox/exhaust-system/Inlet & carburettor/fuel pump, the car was therefore not race built by the factory and supplied more as a component car, as the intention was that Janspeed would build the car up and use it to gain publicity for its latest engine developments and products, predominately in the up to 1100cc class of motorsport, which was very popular at that time. 

​Janspeed then embarked on a race program, including its only International event in a non-championship sports car race at the GP of Madrid in July, held at the Circuit of Jarama in Spain. Painted plain White as supplied with standard bodywork, it finished a credible 6th in Class driven by Geoff Mabbs. Following this event the car was painted Red, the rear bodywork changed for the wider rear body, rear sill appendages and extended front wheel arches and Air-dam as had been developed by UPD in 1966. Janspeed then entered the car in a number of events at UK circuits, during the latter part of 1967. After around 7-races, the car was sold to Brian Harvey in March 1968, who with support from Car & Car Conversions magazine, competed in some Sprints and Hill-climbs before it being sold again though U.W.F. Automative Engineering to Graham Goodman in June 1968.

Goodman ran the car in the UK during the rest of '68 and early '69 driven by Gideon Lloyd, interestingly now fitted with much larger F2 Brabham rear wheels, which must have played havoc with the rear suspension geometry. Some time during 1969 the car was sold and passed through another 6-owners, including two car dealers, the well known racing car dealer in Sussex, Chris Alford being one, with little known history before being sold in 1992 to a Belgian, Roland Petit who competed in the car at the Belgian circuits of Spa and Zolder (History/results still to be researched/confirmed), but certainly competing in some historic 6hr races. In 2013 the car was then marketed through Paul Grant, an Auto dealer in Brussels and subsequently bought by an owner in the UK in January 2014, who aesthetically restored the car back to the livery at the time of Brian Harvey's ownership. Taking part in a few demonstration events and track days over the next 6-years, whilst being marketed again in around 2017 without success, it was finally sold in January 2020 to an undisclosed owner, thought to be in the UK. 

The event history of the car is as follows, with the full details of these events still to be confirmed.

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Chassis   -  Built July 1968                            

Owner : Kelly Whittenauer (USA)

Imported into the U.S.A. in July 1968 by the Importers, Gorden Lamont Investments, this full Competition spec car was fitted with a Janspeed 1148cc engine. The cars first owner sold the car on in 1972 to Claude Houde who owned and  raced the car in Canada for best part of 45-years before selling to another Canadian, Carl Lapointe in late 2016. The car then passed on to John Wittenauer in the U.S.A. in late 2018. The Wittenauers' have really joined the Unipower fold, having acquired two Unipower's recently with, John's wife Kelly having now taken 'ownership' of this car and is having a great time getting to grips with its unique handling characteristics, compared to her previous Mini racing experience. 

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Chassis :  -  Built July 1967                           

Owner : Dan Viola (USA)

Imported into the U.S.A. in July 1968 by Robin Seel, uniquely being flown over on Pan American Airlines by the American agents to display at the New York Motor Show before passing to its first owner Kris Harrison.  Paul Richards would race the car at the Lime Rock circuit in a Group 6 race in October and later the car would be raced by its owner and Bob Barrell at Watkins Glen in 1969. The car was then sold to help finance the emerging racing careers of two to be famous drivers, Giles Villeneuve and Keke Rosberg, whom Kris was sponsoring through his business at the time. The subsequent owner went on to race the car, before four owners later and having been raced in SCCA events, it now resides in New York State. 

    

© 2019  Unipower GT Owners Club & Register  Gerry Hulford   

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