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Lot 225: 1959 Britannia GT Prototype

Spirit of Motoring, Coys (29 September 2005)

Created by Acland Geddes as a rival to Aston Martin's DB series, the Brittania GT was an ambitious project. It claimed to be "An entirely new conception in sports motoring; a combination of characteristics never before available in one car at any price: Limousine luxury, brilliant acceleration, superlative comfort, magnificent braking, impeccable handling and exceptional luggage space."Geddes approached John Tojeiro to design the car, and requested that it be based on a reworked chassis from a recently built Tojeiro AC Ace Le Mans race car. Tojeiro also brought artist Cavendish Morton into the fold, completing an impressive personnel structure. The first prototype was completed in spring 1958, with unequal length wishbones and coils up front and trailing arms at the rear and hydraulic dampers all round. Large servo-assisted disc brakes were mounted all round; inboard at the rear, steering was by rack and pinion. Power came from a 2553cc Ford Zephyr straight six with a light-alloy Raymond Mays 12-port head and triple SU's, giving 160bhp at 5000rpm. It drove the rear wheels via a Moss close-ratio four-speed gearbox with overdrive. It was given an aluminium coupe body, which was planned to provide the mould for glass fibre production bodies. This created a car that weighed under a ton and therefore had impressive performance figures: 0-60 in 9 seconds and a top speed of 125mph put it on a par with its contemporary competition. A production facility was set up in 1959 but due to financial difficulties and problems with the glass fibre bodies, the company soon folded. This car is the very prototype, having featured in numerous articles including one in the October 2003 issue of Classic & Sportscar magazine as well as in a chapter in Richard Heseltine's book on British sports cars and has benefited from a chassis up rebuild, which is documented by a number of photographs. This unique motor car is complete with V5, a current MoT and road tax, as well as original articles and copies of the sales brochure. Cars don't come much rarer than prototypes and this must be a very collectible example from this great period of British sports car production. Where else would you find another one?

Lot Details
Auction Spirit of Motoring
Coys, Westminster, London SW1
TypeCar
Lot Number225
Estimate£8000-£10000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)£7500
Year1959
Condition rating0
Registration number158 HYY
Mileage-
Chassis numberINS 167753E
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors