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British Industrial History

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Gordon-Keeble

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Gordon-Keeble was a British car marque, made first in Slough, then Eastleigh, and finally in Southampton between 1963 and 1967. The marque's badge was unusual in featuring a tortoise.

1959 The Gordon-Keeble came about when John Gordon, formerly of the struggling Peerless company, and James (Jim) Keeble got together in 1959 to make the Gordon GT car by fitting a Buick 3.5 litre (213 c.i.) V8 engine into a chassis by Peerless.

The car, still at the development stage, was then tried with a 4.6 litre Chevrolet (283 c.i.) V8 fitted into a square-tube steel spaceframe chassis, with independent front suspension and all round disc brakes.

The complete chassis was then taken to Turin, Italy, where a body made of aluminium panels designed by Giugiaro was built by Bertone. The car's four five-inch headlights were in the rare, slightly angled "Chinese eye" arrangement, also used by a few other marques, notably Rolls-Royce and Triumph.

1960 The car appeared on the Bertone stand at the 1960 Geneva Motor Show. After extensive road testing it was shipped to Detroit and shown to Chevrolet management, who agreed to supply Corvette engines and gearboxes for a production run of the car.

The car was readied for production with some alterations, the main ones being a larger 5.4 litre (327 c.i.) engine and a change from aluminium body to glass fibre. Problems with suppliers occurred and before many cars were made the money ran out and the company went into liquidation. About 90 cars had been sold at what turned out to be an unrealistic price of £2798.

1965 the company was bought by Harold Smith and Geoffrey West and was re-registered as Keeble Cars Ltd Production resumed, but only for a short time.

1966 The last car of the main manufacturing run was made in 1966. A final one was actually produced in 1967 from spares, bringing the total made to exactly 100. The Gordon-Keeble Owners' Club claim that over 90 still exist.

1968 An attempt was made to restart production in 1968 when the rights to the car were bought by an American, John de Bruyne son of Dr N. A. de Bruyne, but came to nothing in spite of showing two cars badged as De Bruynes at that year's New York Motor Show along with a new mid-engined coupé.


  • Gk1/1T 1964-66

See Also

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Sources of Information

  • [1] Wikipedia
  • The Times, Jan 10, 1968