Gordon-Keeble GK1 (1964 – 1966) Review

Gordon-Keeble GK1 (1964 – 1966) At A Glance


+Gorgeous styling, fast and powerful, a proper Anglo-Italian GT car

-Try finding one...

A short-lived but well-respected classic that combined the best of Britain, Italy and the USA is an apt description of the Gordon-Keeble GK1. Nicknamed 'The Growler', it was the brainchild of John Gordon and Jim Keeble, and first appeared as a steel-bodied prototype at the 1960 London Motor Show. However, it wasn't until 1964 that the car went into production, renamed GK1 but also known as the ‘International Tourer’. The car utilized inexpensive American V8 power and had blistering performance. Handling was very good, too, thanks to De Dion rear suspension and a complex square section space-frame chassis.

The styling was the work of 21-year-old Giorgetto Giugiaro, then chief stylist at Bertone, who later moved to Ghia before setting up his own studio. 'The car that was built to aircraft standards' was how the company from Eastleigh, England marketed its glass fibre-bodied, four-seater coupé. After a year, the company had produced just 80 cars and component supply problems and under-investment meant that Gordon-Keeble never realised its true potential. An additional 19 cars were built in 1966 under new management, but the company ceased trading later that year. Being made from glass fibre and therefore rust proof, the Gordon-Keeble GK1 has a very high survival rate. 80 of the original 99 are still on the road today, with a few more are awaiting restoration. At the 2014 Owners Club event, 49 owners showed up (and several of the original factory workers). 

Ask Honest John

Does the Gordon Keeble beat the Lotus Elan for the most classic cars still registered?

"Chris Knapman's article about older cars facing extinction was most interesting. He quotes your website as stating that the Lotus Elan has top spot for survival with 38 per cent still registered. I'm sure there must be some that can beat that. There is the Gordon Keeble, circa 1963/64, of which 99 cars were built. At its 40th anniversary rally in 1964 there were 75 cars still registered, and most of them were at the event. I'm sure that most, if not all, are still on the road. At that time, with a survival rate of 75 per cent, it must surely still be very near the top of the list. "
This is really one for Keith Adams who was responsible for compiling the data for our Classic Car section, so I have forwarded it to him. The Giugiaro designed Gordon Keeble is briefly featured in this entry: http://classics.honestjohn.co.uk/search?q=Gordon%20Keeble&type=classicModel. Maybe it did not feature because the original production was so small.
Answered by Honest John
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