Road Cars on Track - The Privateers
These cars were built by the factory as road specification cars. They were bespoke to the customers requirements as per the 'options' list available at the time, which varied a little dependant on the year of manufacture and some were of course even fitted with sun-roofs. Their owners however decided to compete in their cars, often with their own modifications to the wheel arches and wheels as well as interior changes. Engines were obviously another component that was modified as well as exhaust systems to squeeze more power. Some cars had the more easily modified suspension mounts changed to rose-joints, but this should not be confused with thinking that these cars were Competition spec cars, whose complete suspension was rose-jointed, requiring a complete redesign of all the chassis mounting points.
The cars shown are in no particular order of build or success, but illustrates the desire of their owners to compete.
Chassis - Built April 1969 Owner: Mr. Maruyama (J) (unconfirmed)
Having had 4-previous owners this car was bought in 1987 as a road-car and campaigned in the UK during 1988 in the Historic Sports Car Championship (HSCC) by Tim Wright, the fifth owner of this road car spec Unipower GT. Tim was very successful with this car, despite some home-built revisions to the rear suspension, that often caused some very interesting angles on the track !. Possibly one of the only Unipower GT's raced with a fully functional sun-roof !.
During 1988 he contested 12 races (excluding some sprints at Goodwood), including a 4hr race at Silverstone and a 1hr Enduro race at Snetterton. In the 10-race HSCC Historic Road Sports Championship he scored 6-firsts, 3-seconds and 1-DNF, winning the Championship Title in so doing. The car is now in Japan.
© Tim Wright
© Tim Wright
© Tim Wright
© Tim Wright
© Tim Wright
© Tim Wright
As now in Japan
Chassis # 367.13 - Built February 1967 Owner: Duncan Charlton (USA)
Imported into Spain around March 1967 by the then importer Albion S.A. , the car was given the special designation Std 1275 (GT) as was the need to avoid punitive import duty in those days. A L.H.D car it was despite the 1275 designation, fitted with a 998cc Cooper engine and painted Red and displayed at the Barcelona Auto Show that year. After importation and sale the first owner hill-climbed the car, now with a 1275cc Cooper 'S' engine, at various events in Spain that year, before going on to compete in the Barcelona 6-hrs in 1968 on the Mountjuich circuit where it did not finish the race. Following numerous other hill-climb events, the car then passed through the ownership of two other Spaniards, the last being a Spanish MP in Madrid who again competed in the car in various hill-climbs, making various changes to the car including changing its colour to Green, before its being bought by its next owner, a Swede from Trelleborg, Sweden.
The car then continued its long distance travels, ending up in Texas USA with its current owner in 2016. Since being with Duncan, the car has been competing in various CAVR and SVAR races in the State of Texas. Duncan has been gradually making improvements to the car, especially with regards to handling, as the challenges of circuit racing rather than its previous hill-climb history, has required a different approach. The COVID-19 virus worldwide epidemic in 2020, will unfortunately limit the cars outings, but will be well prepared when racing resumes. On-board videos of this car can be found on the Unipower GT Videos page on this website here.
Chassis - Built January 1967 Owner: Anon (Luxembourg)
Built in January 1967 as a RHD road car with a 998cc engine, the car was first registered in the UK to enable it to be driven in March '67, to Tom Zettinger, its new owner in Luxembourg by the Unipower Founder, Ernie Unger, before its being re-registered again.
The car was supplied on Minilite wheels but these were changed for Wolfrace wheels to promote Tom's tuning business and the engine changed for a 1298cc Cooper 'S' unit. It was during Tom's ownership that the 'wide' rear body was fitted as was the case with a few other cars at the time and the car repainted White with a Blue stripe. Note here, that this replacement body was not a Unipower part, but was supplied from another company.
Little is known of the event details, but the car competed in numerous hill-climbs in Luxembourg as well as the Belgian Ardennes area but was also raced at Zolder in 1969 to a 2nd place in Class.
By early 1989 the car had deteriorated considerably and the car was sold to a new owner, again in Luxembourg, who removed the body and replaced the rusty chassis. The car is currently undergoing a total restoration in Switzerland.
Currently in restoration
Chassis # 368.37 - Built March 1968 Owner: Rui Sanhudo (Portugal)
Built in March 1968 as a LHD road car with a 1275cc Cooper 'S' engine, painted Regal Red. The car was the second car imported by the Portuguese importer 'Cafer' garage based in Porto, who registered it for the road with registration number RR-28-52 in the April, although it would spend most of its life competing in various events in Portugal.
It was believed to have been driven initially by Mane Nogueira Pinto before Adalberto Medeiros bought the car in July 1969 and competed in it until 1970 at such events at Vila do Conde, Monsanto and Granja do Marques.
In the early 70's the Unipower had become less competitive against the opposition and the car was forgotten about, until after three more owners, the car was purchased by its current owner in 2003. The car was much in need of a restoration by this time, but Rui took on the task, along with some automotive artisans, to return the car to its previous glory, with the aim of it once again being driven on the Vila do Conde road circuit near Porto. So after much work, chassis # 368.37, now painted Silver and bearing the race number 139, was raced at the famous Vila do Conde circuit by Rui Sanhudo, just as it had 34-years previously, driven by Adalberto Medeiros. Rui then went on to take a podium place in the Granja do Marques at the Vasco Sameiro Circuit in October 2004, just as Adalberto Medeiros had in the same car in 1969.
The car is now seen at various Historic events at the circuit of Estoril and a number of hill-climbs driven by Rui as well as the Braga Circuit where Rui took 1st Place in Class B1 of the 2004 National Classics events.
Chassis - Built April 1968 Owner: Anon - (Portugal)
Delivered to the Portuguese importer Cafer Garage in April 1968 and supplied as a LHD road car with a 998cc Cooper engine, painted Green metallic. The car was first competed in by the import owner Jose Carlos Sequeira Ferreira before the car was sold to Adalberto Summavielle Medeiros da Silva in mid-1969 and who also competed in the car, with some success. The car now belongs to a Classic Car collector in Northern Portugal and is undergoing restoration.
Chassis - Built March 1967 Owner: Anon
Delivered to the Spanish importer Albion S.A. and displayed at the Barcelona Auto Show, the car having been supplied in road car specification, with a 998cc Cooper engine and painted Yellow. The car was sold to the well known Spanish driver, Miguel Brunells i Vinyals, who entered various hillclimbs in 1967 with 'Tergal' sponsorship and interestingly sported a Renault 12 grill on the front. Miguel persevered with the handling of the car on the hills, but eventually gave up, preferring the handling of his well known Mini racer.