Peerless Warwick/or visa versa,not one with Buick V8 power though

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GBt
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GBt
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I saw this above Peerless Warwick,then Gordon Keeble, a few years back at the Colchester Insitute show-

before they sold off the playing fields, to make room for a clothes and shoe shops.and of course we do need to sponsor some of our yoofs

arttidesco
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It's a long shot, I only found out about Peeless and Warwick cars at race retro earlier this year but go a couple of posts down on this Pistonheads thread and you might be looking at the same car, Peerless GT reg TDP995.

arttidesco
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http://s3.postimage.org/t0vvgu5bj/Last_Scan_3_2s.jpg

Just photochopped your original to try and get a better look at the number plate, looks like it could be TDP 995, though it seems to have a slightly different bonnet scoop and the white walls have finally washed off the tyres.

GBt
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arttidesco, I do not think it is the same car/ but I could well be wrong-in my pic I posted,cannot see the number on either, it was taken maybe a decade or more ago. The colour was like a VW or even Ford light Green and you are correct about the air box too. There cannot be too many about, so maybe it is the same one.

arttidesco
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Here is the close up of the number plate you took on posted on another site the TD and 9 are easily distinguishable

<a target='_blank' href='http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/835/lastscan32s.jpg/'><img src='http://img835.imageshack.us/img835/145/lastscan32s.th.jpg' border='0'/></a> Uploaded with <a target='_blank' href='http://imageshack.us'>ImageShack.us</a>http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/835/lastscan32s.jpg/

 

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/835/lastscan32s.jpg/

 

Chris Martin
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The Warwick/Peerless/Gordon Keeble story is a bit complicated due to the many comings and goings of various personnel involved, but I'll try to keep it simple. The original Warwick was a sports coupe built for hotelier Jim Byrnes by Bernie Rodger and John Gordon. Byrnes had connections at Standard-Triumph, hence the TR3 running gear. Gordon then wanted to go into production but with a lightly larger GT that then became the Peerless and was built in Slough. Apart from an all-new De Dion rear axle it retained much of the TR's oily bits and although the prototype first shown at the Paris Motor Salon in '57, the production cars had a glassfibre body made locally. Around 250 cars were made in the first two years, but soon after John Gordon resigned the company was in trouble financially. In 1960 a new company was formed as Bernard Rodgers Developments Ltd and production restarted, but now renamed as Warwick again. Rodger then resigned in '61 and the business folded soon after.

Meanwhile, in '59 an American student at Cambridge had bought a Peerless. Here is where the story gets confusing. It is claimed he fitted the new 3.5 alloy-block Buick V8, which we know better as the ubiquitous Rover lump, and Rodger saw the possibilities and built one and called it the Warwick 350GT but as the Buick engine was officially unveiled in 1960 for production in the 1961 model year cars it is hard to see how this was done at the time. Further research is needed to clarify this part of the story. It appears that an attempt at restarting production in Ireland in '62 stalled again, but it seems a single Warwick 350GT was built there for evaluation by General Motors which came to nothing. Possibly this was the first and only car using the 3.5 motor and the earlier attempt at a V8 had used a different donor? Possibly a Chev?

Then there is the Gordon Keeble. Another mixed up plot to follow! John Gordon had been asked in 1959 by the American distributor if a Chevrolet V8 engined Peerless could be built, and Jim Keeble, a special builder who knew Gordon, was involved at the start, but after Gordon resigned from Peerless, Keeble saw the project through. Maybe this is the car that inspired the Warwick 350GT?

James Elliott of this parish wrote about the GK story in C&SC of October '98 and claims there was a US airman named Rick Nielsen (didn't he play silly guitars for Cheap Trick?) who had ordered the first Peerless V8. Could this have been the 'American student' referred to in Warwick/Peerless history? Anyway the GK came about after John Gordon and Jim Keeble collaborated on a much improved GT styled by a young Giugiaro at Bertone. Keeble's chassis design and engineering input was superior to the Peerless and the resulting car deserved to succeed where others had failed, but again lack of cash hampered production and development. One was sent to Rivolta in Italy to evaluate a possible partnership, but instead ISO cribbed the design and did a better job or making and selling cars so that now the ISO Rivolta is much better known around the world. The GK story stumbled on through the sixties like contemporary rivals Jensen, but that is another story again. For real obscurity value try finding out about the De Bruyne!

So to answer GBts original question, there may have been one, or possibly even two Peerless or Warwick cars with the Buick V8, depending on which source one believes.

For the Peerless story see C&SC June 1995, for the GK history; C&SC October 1998 and for an interview with Jim Keeble dig out Supercar Classics of April 1990.

Georgano lists the Peerless as in production from 1957 to 1960, and the Warwick as a similar but improved version from '60 to '62 with one Buick V8 car made, with the GK being made by various named companies until '68.

C.M.

 

Chris Martin
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Wikipedia, which is by no means my favourite source for reliable info, states that two Buick powered Warwick 305GTs were made, note 305, not 350, but maybe just a typo? Their sources are listed with links, and could be followed up, but whether one or two, there probably was one independent of the first Chevy powered Gordon GT which led to the GK.

I'll keep digging.

C.M.

 

 

Chris Martin
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Sorry to send you up a wrong turn there, but I believe the 305 in the Wiki story to be a typo, and the car was called a 350 GT, where the 350 is some sort of shorthand for 3.5 litres, similar to Mercedes later model numbering where the 350 was a 3.5, the 450 a four and a half litre. etc. The quick conversion for cubic inch to metric cc is multiply by 16.4, not quite but near enough for our purposes, so a 302 is a five litre and so on. This is why the Buick small V8 was known as the 215, and as far as I know they gave up on it within a few years as they did not have the technology to cast alloy blocks and had a few problems which Rover later cured. So it was Rover who took the motor out to ever larger capacities, first for the Range Rover and then of course TVR, Morgan etc. For what it's worth I heard there was another independent company somewhere in the south-west still making these as supplier for existing cars, after BMW bought and scrapped Rover.

The larger Pontiac V8 you refer to is probably the 389, which later grew to 400 and 455, and had nothing to do with the small Buick, but yes the alloy 215 V8 was also used in Pontiac and Oldsmobile models for a couple of years.

C.M.