The Imp Site

Ginetta G15

Poor man's Elan

The kind of car you enjoy to drive just for the sake of driving. It's fun and its ability to corner is fabulous ! It does have a large amount of luggage space - only it's behind the highbacked seats and not easy to get at, since they don't tip forward. Those seats are comfortable and hold you well (there's not much roll anyway; excellent roadholding) but they don't dampen any bumps.

The Ginetta was sold in 'finished' or 'component' form, using the Imp Sport engine for its power unit. Transmission and rear suspension are also from the Imp. 13" wheels were fitted rather than the standard 12" Imp variety. It has a monocoque glass-fibre bodywork bolted to a tubular steel (box-section) chassis.
The Ginetta became the best selling Imp based kit car ever. Due to development problems, it was not in full production until well into 1968. Until 1974 nearly 800 units being made.

from a very early advert:
  No enthousiast should miss the
Ginetta G.15 Coupé
on Stand No. 157
Developed from the succesful Ginetta
competition cars to provide:
  • Fantastic road holding
  • 100 m.p.h. with 40 m.p.g.
  • Powered by the powerful 875 c.c.
    Imp Sport engine
  • High performance/economy ration
  • Price: £849.0.0 in component form
Ginetta Cars ltd, West End Works, Witham, Essex

The first time Ginetta had a stand on a Motor Show (the 1967 Motor Show at Earls Court) they exhibited their completely new G15. Many were very interested ! But it was't available then yet, as problems with obtaining various bits and pieces held things up.
They built up a friendly relationship with Rootes for engines and stuff and then the car was put in full production.

In an interview with Octane (June 2013, p. 125), Ivor Walklett says:

While there had been previous attempts at road cars, the pretty G15 was the first to sell in volume. Launched at the 1967 Earls Court Motor Show, this Imp-engined sports car became an instant hit; hence the move to a new, larger factory in Sudbury.
"We couldn't make them fast enough," Walklett smiles.

Ginetta fully Type Approved it. But then along came the oil crisis, the imposition of VAT and the three-dayweek. It was an awful time, what with all the strikes and so on. At a time when British Leyland was being subsidised by the Government so we never stood a chance. Fortunately, we hadn't sold our old place in Witham so we moved back in.

"It wasn’t a great time for Ginetta. "To behonest, I don’t have particularly fond memories of that period. The G15 continued to sell for a while because the price was right and, while we hadn’t conceived it with racing in mind, Barry Wood was very successful in ModSports in our works car. The problem was, we started to lose orders for the G21 due to the economic climate. Then we received a letter from Chrysler saying that it was about to stop production of the Imp!

"They behaved honourably, and offered us an all-time requirement deal whereby they would build and store engines for us, but that meant we would have to make quite alarge investment. We also investigated putting a Skoda engine and 'box in the G15, but that didn't come to anything. We also did a small batch of VW-engined cars for our US importer Art Allen [Ivor looks aghast at the memory] but we were on ahiding to nothing there.
"Ginetta survived the '70s building the occasional car and selling spares.

The original design as shown at the 1967 London Motor show uses the 875 Imp Sport engine.
Output is 51bhp @ 6100 rpm;
52lb torque at 4,300 rpm.
Since it's very light (10½ - or 11 cwt. kerb weight), it will turn out a good 94 mph (151 km/u) maximum and 0-60mph in 12.9 sec.
When you're any good at traffic light starts, it will do the quarter mile in 18.8 sec (or a km. in 36.0 sec.).
An overall consumption of 37 mpg is not bad either (42 mpg when you're only touring at 70 mph).

The car is roughly 4' 9" wide and 12' long. The engine overhangs the back. But the car is 3ft. 8in. low and the tail is very light. Front suspension is adjusted to give negative camber. A very low rear roll centre reduces weight transfer. Next to no roll at all on cornering and neutral steering (a bit of final oversteer).

Steering and front suspension (needs greasing) are from a Triumph Spitfire. Substancial construction, although when you hit a pot-hole at a low speed, it sounds like a major disaster.
The braking uses Triumph discs (9 inch) up front and Imp drums and works well.

Very early Mk1 G15s retained the Imp rear radiator (and had cooling problems). About 15 Mk1s were made before the design was modified to include a front mounted cross flow radiator with an electric Wood Jeffries cooling fan. No further cooling problems were experienced. CCC of August 1968 says (before it was evben available) that it would have a front mounted rad that doesn't need a fan according to the makers.
Front compartment houses the fuel tank and the spare wheel, leaving no room for luggage.

Standard Imp transmission. Well chosen ratios. Gearing is slightly different from the Imp (better) as the G15 uese 13 inch wheels. Clutch is heavier than on an Imp. Not everyone likes the switchgear; it may take some getting used to. The pedal layout may cause problems for people with large feet, and it won't let you 'heel and toe'. The ride is rather hard or should I say 'firm'. At low speeds there is a lot of noise from the tyres, at high speeds the level of noise is reasonable.

The finish is neat and functional. Glass-fibre looks attractive, is easy to clean and it gives a reasonable crash protection.

jungle Ginetta, b&w photo    

In 1968 a kit costed £799. Built-up it costed £983. They planned to offer a 998cc Imp motor that developed 70 bhp as an extra at £1000 and alloy wheels to finish the job. A heater and seat belts were extras, too.
In 1970 a DIY costed £866 (MG Midget range); assembled with VAT 1130 (which wasn't competitive at that time). For a while G15s came off the production line in relatively large numbers. Then the oil crisis of 1974 happened. Afterwards Ginetta decided that they would never again try and make road cars in large numbers.
In 1980 it was available again at special order. But this time with the 998cc Imp power unit (and Imp gearbox, seats, wheels and tyres). Cost: £4350 plus VAT. The front air dam and other cosmetic accessories were optional.

Some 796 G15 were sold.

    (different scource)
Topspeed: 161 kmh
Power: 55 SAE hp @ 6100 tpm
Weight: 530 kg
Length: 367 cm
Width: 145 cm
Height: 113 cm
Wheel base: 208 cm
Trackwidth Front: 124,5 cm
Trackwidth Rear: 124 cm

A practical car, suitable for everyday use. A nice, pleasant vehicle with a good firm ride and excellent brakes. The out and out road-holding maybe not as high as a Clan or Davrian, but it had only standard 3½" rims with cross plies.
The handling may not be as sharp as the Clan or Davrian, but this could be because the metal chassis is inherently less rigid than the all glass fibre monocoques of its rivals. Paul Haussaur quoted a figure of 2000lbs foot per degree torsional rigidity for the Clan Chassis and a similar figure could be expected of the Davrian.
One advantage of the Ginetta's Triumph front suspension is of course the amazing turning circle. The advantage of front disc brakes on such a light car is debatable.The standard Imp drums are more than capable of stopping these 10½ cwt projectiles.

Ginetta G15, 525 KR
Ginetta G15, DCF 243L

Differences in doorhandles and locks (and door mal).

Series II: lay-out of the dash was revised
Series III (1970) has larger side quarter windows
Series IV have a 998 in stead of a 875cc Imp Sport engine.

Ginetta Cars

Ginetta Cars ltd., (Witham, Essex) was run by the four Walklett brothers: Bob (managing director), Douglas (general manager), Trevor (styling & moulding) and Ivor (chassis development).
The company was started in 1957 and has been building road and racing cars since 1962. It has survived all those years without much publicity: very little advertising, few roadtests, hardly any interviews. No dealer system, though there does exist a U.S. agent. The Ginetta factory will not conform to the market in general, but they're happy to adapt to their customers and are willing to discuss individual specifications. They are very flexible.
Their most reliable source of income has been restoration, repairs and servicing.
In the '60s the marque got its great reputation from competition successes. And race-breeding is an important part of the Ginetta image. Sales promotion is achieved by winning races, not by bought media attention. G15s were raced by Alison Davis and David Beams and they both won championships.

For the U.S. eight G15 Super S's were manufactured that had VW engines installed; showing the company's willingness to supply whatever the customer demands...

Ginetta was sold in 1989 after 31 years of continual Walklett ownership. Within less than 3 years the business failed under its new ownership. A consortium salvaged the remains of the business. It is now internationally owned: whilst remaining 51% British owned, shareholders are from Belgium, France, Japan and Sweden

Ginetta Cars Ltd
Hoyland Ind. Est.
Sheffield S3 8AB
Tel : +44 (0)1142 61 00 99
Fax +44 (0)1142 61 00 77
Contacts for Ginetta :
Benelux & France : Benny Smets
All other countries : Martin Phaff
Tel.: +32 (0)16   46 80 08
Tel.: +44 (0)1142   61 00 99

(Old address: Unit 12, Amos Road, Meadow Hall, Sheffield S9 1BX, United Kingdom.)
One of Ginetta's subcontractors is Gin 1 Cars in Sweden: S-79620 Älvdalen, Sweden. They are one of the production units, producing cars in a new factory, assembling one of the Ginetta models on behalf of Ginetta Cars Ltd. You can see some photos of it (with Volvo engine) on S. Nylén's site.


Driving a giant killing Ginetta / Clive Richardson; photos Norman Hodson. - Cars & Car Conversions 1972, May. - p.72-73,75
Driving a racing Ginetta G15, the works G15 of Barry Wood.

Ivor Walklett / Words: Richard Hesseltine; portraits: Lyndon McNeil. - Octane Magazine 2013, June. - p.122-126

MOTOR 1970 10/1
Midget v Spitfire v Honda SS800 v Ginetta G15 v Fiat 850

Hot Car 1970, May
Build Ginetta; 2 pages

Hot Car 1971, 12
Cover: Plastic made perfect - DIY rebuild
Ginetta G15S restoration (4 pages)

Custom Car 1972, 07

Motor 20/11/1976

Impetuosity! - Classic & Sportscar vol. 2, no. 12; 1984, March (3). - p.55-
Clan Crusader vs Ginetta G15; 3 page feature
Two specialist car makers settled on a rear mounted Hillman Imp engine for their small sports cars. Peter Nunn finds out whether the fact that the Clan Crusader appeared three years later than the Ginetta G15 makes it a better car.

Cars & Car Conversions 1985, 09

Practical Classics 1986, March (03)

Ginetta G15 restoration / words and pics by David Bowers. - Classics 2004, December. - p.62-63
Steve Tinwell has recued a Ginetta which had a tree growing through it

Ginetta G15 : The pocket rocket with humble Triumph and Hillman mechanicals. - Classics Monthly 2010, Feb. - p. 27. - [Fuel]
CM's opinion of the G15


   G15 Super profile by John Rose   31 years  Ginetta TSB

Ginetta G15 and G15 'S' User Guide Workshop Manual

Rose, J.
Ginetta G15 super profile / by John Rose. - Yeovil : Foulis, 1986. - (A Foulis motoring book; Super profile). - 210x280cm. : 58 p.
ISBN 0854294961
Ginetta G15 cars, to 1985

Walklett, B.
31 years of British specialist car manufacturer Ginetta: the inside story / Bob Walklett. - Minster Lovell : Bookmarque, 1994. - 160 p., [64] p. of plates : 50+ b/w ill., ports ; 24 cm.
ISBN 1870519329 (collector's ed. leather, £50)
ISBN 1870519280 (H/b £25)
This account studies 31 years of Ginetta designing, its wartime experience, racing fortunes and its golden years.
It tells of how the author masterminded much more than simple survival of the company - he guided it to the point where Ginetta was able to move to large new premises in Scunthorpe, was totally debt-free, had a full order book and plans for doubling the size of the company within two years - at a time when most of industry was in recession.
Bob Walklett was born in Wiltshire on the 4th August 1925, the third son of John Foster Walklett MC (a Regular Army Officer, businessman / farmer), and Eva Walklett.

Ginetta Cars / Alder. - £10
G4, History of Four Brothers. - £20

Ginetta Cars : portfolio de Transport Source Book. softcover 210x290. 81 p.

Ginetta Owners' Club
Roger Bryson, 1 Furze Avenue, St. Albans, Herts AL4 9NQ
Secretary: Steve Fidler, tel. 0181 - 715-4646

Prices (in Dutch Guilders)

A - 3.000
B - 8.000
C - 14.000

The Imp Site
   Imp Specials
      Ginetta G15 (this file)
         Ginetta G15 leaflet
         G. Stanley's letter, with 3 photos
      Ginetta G17

External websites:

© Franka

Information on the Ginetta G15 by
(Quite a few photos)

Oakhill Classic Cars: sale and restoration of classic cars such as Ginetta,
plus manufacture and supply of many rare parts.