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Unipower GT
Unipower 1977 small.jpg
Manufacturer Universal Power Drives Ltd
Production 1966-1970 75 made
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupé
Engine 998 or 1275 cc Straight-4
Transmission 4 speed manual
Wheelbase 84 inches (2134 mm)[1]
Length 164 inches (4166 mm)[1]
Width 57 inches (1448 mm)[1]

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 75 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 spaceframe chassis (produced by Arch Motors) with integral roll-over protection was bonded to a fibreglass body (by Specialised Mouldings) to produce 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).

Several lightweight competition models were produced by the factory with disc brakes all round, the first one shown at the 1967 Racing Car Show with Stirling Moss featured a Downton tuned 1275cc Cooper S engine and knock on Minilite wheels. This car was purchased by Salisbury tuning firm Janspeed and raced internationally for them by BMC works driver Geoff Mabbs throughout 1967. Other race cars were campaigned by John E Miles (for Em Newman / Gordon Allen), UWF part owner Piers Weld Forrester (who took two cars to Le Mans in 1969 but failed to qualify), BMC works racing driver and Unipower head of sales Andrew Hedges ,John Blanckley, Stanley Robinson, Roger Hurst, Tom Zettinger and Alberto Ruiz-Thiery who all raced cars on the continent at such venues as Mugello, Nurburgring, Spa, Barcelona and Jarama.

Pete Harrison and Bob Barell also raced a Unipower GT at the Watkins Glen 6 Hours in 1969, Roger Enever and Piers Weld Forrester took a car to Sebring for the 12hr race in the same year but did not race.

A design was produced for a larger Unipower but this did not go into production with the original makers instead eventually evolving into the AC ME3000.

Unipower also made a limited number of the "glass box" Quasar-Unipower cars.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Culshaw; Horrobin (1974). Complete Catalogue of British Cars. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-16689-2.