|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)|
|Length||164 inches (4166 mm)|
|Width||57 inches (1448 mm)|
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).
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.
Two Mk1 race cars were also shipped to the U.S, the first for Paul Richards to race in Gp6 events. Pete Harrison and Bob Barell also raced a Unipower GT at the Watkins Glen 6 Hours in 1969 amongst other events whilst Roger Enever and Piers Weld Forrester were to take 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.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Unipower vehicles.|