The Gordon Prototype
John Gordon and Bernie Rodgers purchased the defunct Peerless Motors Ltd and built there, the fibreglass bodied, TR3 engined 4-seater Peerless GT in 1958. One car finished 16th at Le Mans that year but the overall sales were not as expected and John Gordon left the company in 1959, later that year meeting up with Jim Keeble - engineer and racing driver - and, encouraged by USAF pilot Rick Neilson - whose Chevrolet Corvette Jim Keeble serviced - transplanted a Chevrolet Corvette V8 into a Peerless Chassis. Hence was born the idea of a bigger, better luxurious 4-seater with ample V8 power aimed at the luxury market and incorporating all the latest developments of 1960s competition engineering. The chassis, similar to the Peerless, was to have a 1 inch square tube space-frame, a De Dion rear axle with positive location and all round disc brakes to cope with the 290 bhp(gross) at 6250rpm provided by the 4.6 litre Chevrolet V8 engine. The body shell was designed by Giugiaro and built by Bertone with steel panels. Design was started by Jim Keeble in November 1959. The chassis was built at Slough and finished by January 1960 and transported to Turin, Italy for the bodywork to be attached. The car was duly finished in March 1960 and featured as a star exhibit on the Bertone stand at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1960 as a fully finished car registered 472 LKX and named as the Gordon GT. Taking 4 months from start to finish, this was an amazing achievement.
At the Geneva Motor Show, the car was well received and created a great deal of interest internationally. The car was road tested as a prototype (unusually) by Autocar on 29th April 1960 and again in October 1960 by which time it had covered 14,000 miles in 6 months. The report was full of superlatives and describes the car as "the most electrifying vehicle that it has ever tested."
Later that year, John Gordon took the prototype to Detroit for a test-drive by Chevrolet President, Ed Cole and Zora Duntov.
They were sufficiently impressed that they agreed to supply 1000, 327cu.in. Corvette engine/gearbox units annually as well as full access
to the Chevrolet distribution network in the USA
the Press release prior to the 1960 Geneva Motor Show
The Prototype Car a it is today having been rebuilt after a period of neglect in a field
The Gordon Keeble Owners Club Website