Posts Tagged ‘Gilbern Invader’

Letter from Wales: the 2013 Motor Sports Association Euroclassic rally

06/09/2013, 12:45:18 PM

by Julian Ruck

And what has all this to do with Labour grassroots I hear all you readers say?

Well the editors have asked me to write a piece about the above, so don’t blame me!

Something to do with the ‘hinterlands’ of columnist personality, they tell me. I hope you can make some sense out of this because I sure as hell can’t?

Anyway, a change from political smarty- pants observation certainly isn’t going to do any harm, so do please indulge me.

My pal, a Pontypryddian socialist GP no less (he is known to swig at the odd bottle of Moet but let’s not hold that against him) and my good self, are off on a classic car rally today. The car?  A Welsh Gilbern Invader MK 3 two door coupe – and yes I know, even the Welsh firm who built ‘em eventually went bust but don’t worry I’m not going to start on non-private sector Wales here.

The rally is intended to take us from Dover to Luxembourg – actually, we’ll be damned lucky to get two miles outside Llanelli before a convoy of obliging  RAC vans and a few tow-trucks are called out, that’s classic cars for you and  believe me I know, the good doctor has been torturing me with ‘em for more than 13 years now, and me with a heart condition, so much for care in the community eh?!

Dr Anthony is the driver and I’m the navigator, that’s a good one, the only thing I can navigate my way around is the The Good Pub Guide!

On a more serious note, production of the Gilbern was started in Llantwit Fadre  Pontypridd, Dr Anthony’s home town, way back in 1959. A Welsh butcher GILes Smith and a German engineer BERNard Friese (thus the name Gilbern) got together to build the first truly Welsh sports car.

Only 212 Gilbern Invader MK 3’ were ever made, and Dr Anthony’s Gilbern still displays the distinctive four Welsh Red Dragon motifs on its bodywork.

It was advertised at the time as ‘Gilbern, the rare breed’ and ‘Drive out the Invader’; well the Welsh doctor and Welsh author will be invading Europe alright, so eat your heart out Owen Glyndwr!

For all you classic car enthusiasts , we’ll be taking part in the 2013 Motor Sports Association Euroclassic Rally from Dover Castle to Luxembourg via France , Belgium and Germany form Fri Sat 6th Sept to Fri 13th Sept. calling in at  various castles (to keep me happy, I’m a history buff, Dr Anthony is a petrol-head), car museums ( Porsche and Mercedes Benz) and some European Motor Racing circuits.

So, here’s to happy motoring – fingers and legs crossed! Before I go, I did draw the line when Dr Anthony tried to name his Gilbern ‘Genevieve’, look what happened there!

Julian Ruck is an author, columnist and Freedom of Information campaigner. He also makes contributions to both Welsh and national broadcasting and media

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