Classic Cars Phuket

Restoration of the Gilbern T11 Prototype

February 2013


Events and News

Gilbern T11 Prototype

1970 Gilbern T11 Prototype

Gilbern was a small UK car manufacturer that started in 1959. Short before the closure of the company in 1973 Gilbern developed the T11 which never made it into production. Just one prototype was (half) finished which has recently been restored by a British enthusiast who sent us the following article about his car:

Originally designed in late 1969 the T11 was intended to appear at the Geneva Motor show in 1971. Rumours were heard in the club in early 1970 and development work started that year. Trevor Fiore was called in to design the body and a 1/5 clay model was made by Trevor and his team which was then sent to a company called Specialised Mouldings to make a mould from which the body shell could be produced. Gilbern got a drivable chassis before the project was cancelled and it is said that £ 50,000 had been spent on the project.

Before the T11 was completely finished Gilbern stopped the project and the prototype was passed on to the owners club where some work was carried out during the following 2 years before it was again passed on to a private person who left it lying around for the next 30 years before I acquired it. Over the next 9 years I had to build a car from the ground up, the chassis had to be striped and re-painted. The steering and suspension had to be re-built, brakes had to be fitted as there where none on it, a new body shell had to be made and fitted to the chassis. All internal panelling had to be made, also a dashboard, seats, doors, a wiring loom, instruments and seat belts fitted… the list goes on.

There was an Austin Maxi engine/gearbox fitted just behind the driver. With a tuned 1500cc engine performance was very good and after a bit of testing it was ready for the road. I had done about 700 miles in the T11 during the next year until one day while out for a run it was hit by a large lorry which did a lot of damage to the rear, also to the engine unit. As there was too much damage to the engine it had to be replaced. I went for the Toyota 3sge engine from the MR2. This has made a lot of difference to the performance.

It has now been just 3 months back on the road after the re-build and I am looking forward to taking it to a few shows this year.

Gordon Johnston


Gilbern T11 Prototype

Engine of Gilbern T11 Prototype