Thursday 24th January 2019,
Inopian

Peerless GT 1957 – 1960

Racing car designer Bernie Rodger joined John Gordon and James Byrnes in forming the Peerless company in 1957. They set up home in a factory in Slough, Berkshire. Rodger had a design for a two-door, four seat saloon car with coupe lines. It was a very handsome car and used cutting-edge technology.

With hindsight it was probably unwise to take on marques like Bristol and AC in competition for sales. These marques had a firm and loyal customer-base.

The prototype was known as the Peerless Warwick but went into production as the Peerless GT. The design was very modern in concept, using current racing technology and would have made inroads into Bristol`s market were it not for poor finishing that would not have attracted Bristol`s clientele.

The Peerless GT was very expensive in spite of it`s lack of luxury, which tended to steer prospective purchasers towards the AC alternative. Production went into a second phase with practical rather than cosmetic improvements. A `works` Phase II Peerless GT was entered in the Le Mans 24 hour race in 1958 and finished the race in a creditable 16th place.

The company got into difficulties and closed in 1960. The Peerless factory produced 250 Phase 1 and 46 Phase II models only. Bernie Rodger set up Warwick Cars soon after. This would be a renaissance for the Peerless GT. John Gordon went into partnership with Jim Keeble to form Gordon-Keeble Cars.

The Chassis;

For a British road-car, the Peerless GT was a brave and revolutionary design with strength and weigh-saving as it`s core principles. A complicated space-frame, made from 1 inch box-section steel gave the car rigidity and lightness. No separate chassis frame was necessary.

The running-gear was mostly ex Triumph TR3. Coil and wishbone front suspension with disc brakes came straight from the TR3. Rear suspension of the Peerless GT was, however, not Triumph based. A de Dion system was employed using Salisbury telescopic drive-shafts. Borrani wire-wheels were an optional extra, 52 chromed spokes on polished alloy rims with three-eared knock-on caps.

The Body;

The Peerless GT was clad in glass-fibre panels, fixed to the space-frame. The Phase II body was moulded in one piece although the shape remained the same. Twin 6 gallon (Imp) tanks were mounted inside the sills, below the doors.

Power-train;

The indestructible Triumph TR3 engine and gear-box were the heart of the Peerless GT. The 2 litre overhead valve, four cylinder engine was quite old by this time but was reliable and responsive. It had a 5-bearing crankshaft and a compression ratio of 8.5 to 1. Twin SU carburettors were fitted.

The 4-speed Triumph gear-box was a joy to use, especially if the overdrive option had been specified. The Laycock de Normanville unit offered the driver an overdrive ratio on the top three gears, giving a total of seven forward ratios. It was operated electrically from a dash-panel switch.

The motor produced 100 bhp in standard trim but Triumph tuners were known to have exceeded 120 bhp. With such a low kerb-weight of 953 kg the fuel-consumption was very good, around 32 mpg (Imp). The Peerless GT had a top-speed of 120 mph and a 0-60 time of 10 seconds.

Overall, it was a very good looking classic British sports car. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough time for the development and so now the Peerless GT is quite a rare car. However, they are not very expensive for classic car money. So if you find one for the right money, don’t hesitate to buy it because one day they will be worth a lot of money just because of it’s obscurity.

Peerless GT 1957-1960
 
 
Body Type2+2 Fixhead Coupe
Engine PlacementFront
Drive TypeRear wheel drive
Brakes
FrontDiscs
RearDrums
Dimensionsmminches
Length4115162
Width160063
Height127050
Wheelbase240094.5
Cargo VolumeUsefull
Engine2.0 Liter Triumph OHV 8V
Cylindersstraight 4
Displacement1991 cc121.5 cui
Power75 Kw100 bhp5000 RPM
Torque160 Nm118 ft. lb3000 RPM
Power/weight105 bhp/t
FuelPetrol
Top Speed193 km/h120 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph10 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Urban12.323
Extra-urban6.642.8
Combined8.135
Gearbox4 speed manual + overdrive (optional)
Weight953 kg2101 lb
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Peerless GT 1957 - 1960, 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
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About Bev Roberts

Speed, the smell of hot oil, the roar of a straight-through exhaust and the scream of an engine at max revolutions. They have all been a large part of my life for almost 50 years. It is time to share my experiences with you, dear reader. Do you want to know more? Read on through my `Full Bio` and many articles.

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I was born in Hereford UK in 1948 and brought up in Gloucester UK. I played Rugby football internationally as a schoolboy. At the age of 17, a new and wet driving license in my paw, I entered motor racing. I was supported and financed by my parents and so my journey began.

In 1965 I bought a 1293cc Mini-Cooper `S` and campaigned it for a season. Having quickly made some good friends in the racing fraternity, several interesting opportunities came my way. I joined a sports-car team and raced in the Le Mans 24 hours in 1968 and 1969 in a Lola T70. Mechanical failure defeated both efforts. During that period I owned and raced a `D type` Jaguar and an AC Cobra. In those days cars like that were available and not too expensive, now they reside in museums and private collections. I had a chain of interesting cars through my youth including Jaguars, Minis, Mustangs and Lotus-Cortinas.

As a young driver I had my share of accidents too. Often the car would only be worth scrap-metal value by the time I got it home! I worked for an Aston-Martin/Jaguar dealership for a while, which enhanced my experience and gave me the opportunity to sample some very exotic machines, Ferrari, Facel-Vega, Iso and Maserati to recall a few of them.

At the end of 1969 I moved to South Africa to work on my uncle`s farm but the S.A. government had other ideas and drafted me into the army. After five years had passed I was thanked and released from the service. While I was there I bought a beige Cadillac Eldorado, previously the property of Marilyn Monroe. While I was away on a patrol my girlfriend had it re-sprayed pink! I was unimpressed by both the joke and the bill for the work!

When I returned to UK in 1974 I left it behind. On my return I found that the once-mighty British motor industry was in decline and was headed for oblivion. Motor racing was now very expensive so I turned to commercial transport. Driving large trucks gave me freedom and a chance to see some of the world. I don`t remember ever making a career choice but for the next thirty years a truck was my home. For about ten years in that period I owned two trucks of my own.

I also owned a famous MGB-GT, known as `Lucky`. If you`d like to read `The Story of Lucky` there is an article in Inopian`s archive. I finally retired, due to ill-health, in 2008. Since I had varied knowledge and many experiences on our subject I decided to share the stories of the cars I enjoyed (and hated) with the new generation.

Enjoy Inopian… it is constructed and written for you.

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