1989 GINETTA G32View vehicle description
Today, the name Ginetta no doubt conjures up thoughts of circuit racers driven by the touring car stars of tomorrow, but the British brand has had a strong association with motorsport going right back to its founding in the late-1950s. Started by the four Walklett brothers (Douglas, Trevers, Bob and Ivor) in Woodbridge, Suffolk in 1958, Ginetta began much like another better known lightweight sportscar maker, Lotus. Right from the off Ginetta’s featherweight kit cars were compared to the famous Norfolk firm’s products. Just like Lotus, Ginettas were predominantly destined for racetracks.
The company name gives the game away somewhat, it’s a North African word for a type of light cavalry, though it’s also an Italian word for a position in the Karma Sutra! We think the former is perhaps more fitting. After all, Ginetta models have always traded on their lightweight construction, to get the most from their often-modest engines.
Fairly late to the road car game, Ginetta produced its first ‘road’ car in 1967. Just 800 G15s from were made up until 1974, yet all of these were type approved. The majority of these Hillman-Imp based machines still plied their trade on racetracks though. It wasn’t until 1989 that Ginetta – then under new ownership – re-joined the road-car business with the fully-assembled G32. It’s best to think of the G32 as a British Toyota MR2, as its mid-mounted four-cylinder 1.6- or 1.9-litre engine and fully-independent MacPherson strut suspended chassis provide very similar thrills. It even has pop-up lights, just like that Toyota. Unlike the Toyota however, the G32’s glass fibre bodywork was placed on a galvanised steel chassis, so rust wasn’t really an issue until much later.
One of just 97 coupes made, this launch year G32 is a very early production model (thought to be the second made) and, according to the vendor, was used as a press demonstrator. He also states that the car’s history includes various images of it from period magazine tests; as well as the front cover of the G32 brochure. It also still carries ‘Ginetta Cars’ licence plates, giving greater credence to the above claim.
Heavily reliant on Ford Fiesta and Escort components, this G32 appears to be a mid-engined XR3i, which can hardly be a bad thing… Everywhere you look there are Ford components and part stamps, which does at least make sourcing spares that bit easier. The best news is that it’s lighter than both of its donor Fords (just 807kg) which allows for greater performance. The G32 can get to 60mph in 8.2 seconds and tops out at 120mph.
On the Outside
The exterior of this rare mid-engine sportscar appears to still be in very good order. The paint finish is surprisingly accomplished for what was back then, essentially a kit-car manufacturer. There’s plenty of highly-reflective shine left in that dark grey finish. It’s a great colour too that really accentuates the angles of those spoilers, splitters and swage lines. The pop-up lights still err, pop up too. The original alloy wheels are of 14-inch BBS-type design and look to be in largely very good condition. There are a few light marks from moisture and brake dust but nothing serious. They’re also fitted with some excellent Michelin Energy tyres. That’s the good news, now the not so good…
The paint on the nose cone isn’t a great match when compared to the finish on the lights/bonnet, suggesting it’s had a blow over at some point in the past. The paint on the roof around the sunroof is also noticeably poorer than elsewhere. There’s also a crack to the driver’s side of the front licence plate. The windscreen rubber has cracked on the passenger side lower corner and there’s a scratch to the paint on its top corner (same side). Paint has rubbed off the driver’s side pop-up headlight on the driver’s side top corner (from body contact) and there’s a similar touched-up area to the passenger light. As pointed out already, both operate as they should, so this is likely old wear and tear.
On the Inside
That Fiesta dashboard will be familiar to all old-Ford fans. It’s in good condition as are all its dials and switches. The steering wheel is sporting a large Ginetta badge but that’s not fooling anyone; it’s clearly another Ford item. As is the gear knob sticking out of the slightly crude centre console. Fit and finish throughout isn’t up to a mass market maker’s standard, of course, and gives away this Ginetta’s kit-car origin (the G32 wasn’t originally planned as a complete, turn-key car).
Look past the odd iffy seam or ill-fitting fabric and you’ll find that almost everything’s still here and in really rather good shape. For example, the seat fabric doesn’t exhibit the usual tears or damage associated with old Fords that are similarly equipped. The carpets are looking a little stained here and there but aren’t worn. The Sony cassette deck is still present and correct and feeds some nice ‘Audiodesign’ speakers in the back. There’s even a fire-extinguisher attached to the driver’s B-post – handy for assuaging any E10-fuel worries. We said it’s almost all here as there’s a missing handle from the passenger side window winder.
The dash lights up as it should, and the head lamps pop up and work nicely plus everything electrically seems okay. The rev counter needle doesn’t move though. Some of the dashboard fittings/covers are a bit ‘wobbly’ too.
That steel chassis might have been galvanised 30 years ago but the coating has clearly worn off by now. There’s some visible rust on several components but it looks light and surface deep. The weather protection has been bolstered at some point with plenty of underseal that’s still holding on strong. The vitally important front-to-rear coolant pipes have also received a dose of the same and look sound. A stainless-steel exhaust system has been added plus there’s a coolant pipe made from the same material, just visible inboard of the rear wheels. Basically, other than a few surface tarnishes, the underside of this Ginetta appears to be straight and solid.
Other than our usual HPI check, indicating that the car has had seven keepers and was first registered on the 27th of November 1989, we weren’t given a look at any of the car’s history. At the time of compiling this listing at least.
What We Think
The vendor sums this rare sportscar up really when he says ‘find another one’. They’re such a rare slice of British motoring history that you’re highly unlikely to come across another any time soon. Especially one that can claim to be the firm’s press car. Though rarity is appealing it’s the driving experience that really sets this Ginetta apart from its contemporaries. The mid-engine layout, punchy little engine and tiny kerb weight, plus Ginetta’s extensive racing know-how, all combine to make the G32 one of the most rewarding steers of its period. That’s why we’re confident that this Ginetta will reach its £6,000 - £10,000 estimate.
Viewing is always encouraged. This particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; we are open weekdays between 9am-5pm, to arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.
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BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at those vehicles which are delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.
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