Bored of Caterham? Ginetta's bare-knuckle roadster is an even more unorthodox way to see the countryside
Ginetta celebrates its 60th anniversary next year, and in that time has shown remarkable bravery when it come to the perilously expensive business of designing, engineering and building new cars. Not for it the conservatism that has kept Caterham mostly circling the same concept; its original founders - the Walklett brothers - moved with the times and while the firm's reputation was built on motorsport and the curvaceous G4, by the late 60s it had gained type approval on the Coventry Climax-powered G15 in hopes of accessing a wider audience. Others followed, most typically in kit-built G27 format, but also in the more ambitious shape of mid-engined prospects like the G32.
There's rare and then there's rare!
The endless desire to reinvent itself did not depart when the Walketts retired, and under new management Ginetta started building the G20 - which featured a derivative of the G27's all-round wishbone chassis underneath and more than a hint of fibreglass G4 shapeliness on top. The car was kept elementally simple: the two-piece body was intended to be easy to fix (i.e. replaced) and wasn't needlessly cluttered with a roof or proper windscreen. Or even doors, for that matter. No, Ginetta wanted you to bound in like a Spitfire pilot (or certainly with the equivalent amount of luggage, at any rate) and fire off to the horizon.
The firing part was handled by a 1.8-litre Ford Zetec engine (although the subject of today's Spotted apparently runs a 2.0-litre lump) mated to a very manual five-speed gearbox. In stock format the four-pot only developed around 125hp, but the G20 around it weighed just 660kg or so; making it spirited enough to easily outperform the contemporary Mazda MX-5 - or even an entry-level Porsche Boxster.
There's bare and then there's bare!
Of course you probably wouldn't be quite as comfortable: Ginetta having pulled no punches with the G20's spartan brief (much like today, the model's pedigree as a track car being considered of much greater importance than its appeal as a road car). Inside there are bucket seats, a handbrake, a smattering of dials located well away from your eyeline and only the most essential (i.e. required by law) switchgear. There's no ABS or power-assisted steering either, needless to say - or much of anything else to get between you and a very tactile sensation of driving.
15 years ago a turnkey G20 would've cost you around £13K, making the £16K asking price for this 2004 model mildly speculative. That said, there's no questioning its rarity - especially in factory-built roadgoing condition. The car in question has reportedly only covered 5,000 miles with three owners, and started life as a brand demonstrator. One for the 'minimalist enthusiast' says its advertiser (which is undeniably true) and also, as the modern iteration of Ginetta sprints characteristically for the future, an easy-on-the-eye example of what the previous 60 years have produced.
SPECIFICATION - GINETTA G20
Engine: 1,796cc 4-cyl Transmission: 5-speed manual, rear-wheel drive Power (hp): 142@N/A rpm Torque (lb ft): 119@N/A rpm MPG: N/A CO2: N/A First registered: 2004 Recorded mileage: 5,850 miles Price new: £13,999 Yours for: £15,995