VotW – Unipower GT

Our video this week is of a rarely heard of, and even less seen, Mini-based beast, the Unipower GT. Not a kit, but a true production sports car in the vein of TVR and Marcos.

To quote Wikipedia, because I honestly didn’t know much about the cars…

The Unipower GT was a British specialist sports car first shown at the January 1966 Racing Car Show, and produced by truck maker Universal Power Drives Ltd in Perivale, Middlesex and later by U.W.F. Automotive in London until production ceased in early 1970, by which time around 71 cars are believed to have been made, including about 15 built by U.W.F. Originally the brainchild of Ernie Unger and Attila sports racing car designer Val Dare Bryan in the early 1960s the design of Unipower GT was actually said to have been penned by a moonlighting member of the GT40 design team.

The car was based on BMC Mini mechanical components with the transverse engine and gearbox unit mounted in a mid-engine configuration. A strong square tubular spaceframe chassis with integral roll-over protection was produced by racing car specialist Arch Motors and was bonded to a fibreglass body made by Specialised Mouldings who supplied many of the top sports , racing and F1 constructors of the day. The end product was a light yet rigid structure, with all-round independent coil spring and wishbone suspension. Combining light weight, a low centre of gravity and low aerodynamic drag from a body that measured just 40.5 inches (1,029 mm) high, the Unipower GT offered very good performance and excellent road holding and handling characteristics. Available with the 998 cc Mini-Cooper or more potent 1275 cc Cooper “S” engine, this later version was reported to be capable of 0-60 mph in around 8 seconds and to have a maximum speed of almost 120 mph (193 km/h).

There was actually one recently listed on Bring-A-Trailer that pointed to a Kentucky Craigslist listing. This one was listed for $25,000 and in need of a total restoration. I would be surprised if the seller received the asking price, but odder things have happened.

Michael Carnell
Editor at Just British
Michael Carnell is the editor and founder of the Just British Online Motoring Magazine. As a lifelong British car fan, he has owned or driven British cars of all ages from Austins and MGs to Jaguars and Triumphs. He currently owns a 1966 Vanden Plas Princess 1100, a 1977 MGB, and a 2002 Land Rover Discovery.