The Gordon Prototype

Gordon GT

While 1964 marked the commencement of production in Hampshire of the Gordon-Keeble, the story really started in 1959 when Rick Nielsen, an American Voodoo fighter pilot based at Bentwaters,  asked Ipswich auto engineer Jim Keeble to fit his 4.6 litre small-block Chevrolet V8 engine into a Peerless GT.  Jim agreed, but decided to do the work at the Peerless factory in Slough, where John Gordon, the company’s managing director, took an interest.

At that time, Peerless were struggling, and John Gordon was looking for a new project. So Jim was asked to design and build a more appropriate car to accommodate Nielsen’s engine. During the winter of 1959, Jim Keeble designed and fashioned the new tubular spaceframe chassis, incorporating a de Dion rear axle located by Watts linkage, while Gordon talked with Bertone at the Turin Show, and a deal was struck for the 21 year-old ‘new boy’ Giorgetto Giugiaro to style the coachwork.

In January 1960, the completed chassis was taken to Italy for the steel prototype body to be fitted just in time for the public unveiling of the Gordon G.T. at the Geneva Salon in March of that year. It was highly acclaimed by the world’s motoring press and so planning began for the car to be put into production. One of the priorities would be to secure a supply of engines. The prototype was duly shipped to the USA, where it was tested by Gordon’s old friend Zora Arkus Duntov in Detroit, who pronounced it quicker than his Chevrolet Corvette.

The car also impressed Ed Cole, the Executive Vice-President of General Motors, to the extent that he sanctioned the supply of the then brand new 327 cubic inch V8 small-block, destined for the Corvette Stingray, marking the first time a non-GM production car would utilise one of their engines!

The task of raising finance for the project was to prove long, difficult and mostly fruitless, until George Wansbrough, an ex-Jowett man and Mercantile Credit board member, joined the fledgling company and ultimately decided to use his own money.

Get In Touch

+44 (0)7973 685 453


United Kingdom


Need more information about the Gordon-Keeble Owners’ Club? Contact us anytime with your enquiries. We’d love to hear from you!

Send A Message