The Peerless and Warwick Cars
Bernie Rodger - racing car designer - and John Gordon teamed up in 1957 to design and manufacture a new sports saloon car to fill a market gap that they perceived, cheaper than the Aston Martin but comparable in performance. Based on current racing car design but using readily available components, they reasoned that a 4 seater GT specification could be marketed at little more cost than the current range of 2 seater sports cars. The chassis was assembled from 1 inch sq. tubular steel. The engine and gearbox with optional overdrive was standard TR3 giving 100bhp at 5000rpm. The front suspension was also standard TR3 but the rear suspension was a De Dion tube located on standard TR rear springs and telescopic drive shafts from the Salisbury differential unit. The petrol tanks (6 gals. each) were mounted beneath the doors giving wide sills. The body shell was of glass-reinforced plastic, 2-door and built locally in Slough. Performance was good by current standards and the car was capable of 120mph on the new UK motorway system (before the Castle era) There were about 250 Phase 1 cars built between 1958-9 and a further 46 Phase 2 (minor bodywork changes) cars were built before financial difficulties, a boardroom crisis and sluggish sales closed the business. John Gordon left to join Jim Keeble at this stage whereas Bernie Rodger restarted the company under the name of Warwick. More significant bodywork changes were introduced - namely a front hinged body opening (like the E-type Jaguar) , altered roof guttering and rear end styling but retaining the TR engine & gearbox. Alas, only a further 40 cars were produced before production finally ceased. The original Peerless with Triumph-prepared mechanics ran at Le Mans in 1958. Only one car started and it finished 16th overall.
Of the 350 or so Peerless/Warwicks built, some 70 were exported to the USA where some are being restored and others raced at historic meetings.
If you wish to find out more about these interesting, trend-setting cars, you can use this link direct to the Peerless and Warwick website www.peerless-gt.co.uk , a subsection of the TR Register.
The Gordon Keeble Owners Club Official Website