History of the 1961-1969 Ginetta G4
Ginetta began in Suffolk, England in the 1950s as young Ivor Walklett joined his three older brothers to work at the family’s agricultural and structural engineering business. His enthusiasm for cars led him to make a special based on a prewar Wolseley Hornet. The Walklett’s car-making business became known as Ginetta, and the first special became known as the G1. Ginetta really hit their stride with the G4, which became available as a kit at the beginning of the 1960s. Intended to be both a bare bones road-going sports car and competitive racer, the G4 featured a tube frame chassis with double wishbones, coil springs and dampers up front along with a live axle with upper trailing arms, coil springs and dampers at the rear. The original engine was a Ford 105E from the Anglia and there were drum brakes front and rear, but the Ginetta G4’s small size and fiberglass body meant that the G4 was very light and handled remarkably. The one-piece nose of the car flipped forward for easy access to the engine.
In late 1962 came the Series 2 version of the G4, which also began to use the larger and more powerful 1.5-liter four from the Ford Cortina GT as well as an Austin rear axle that was eventually modified for independent rear suspension. In 1966 came the Series 3 that had rather awkward pop-up headlights. The model was dropped the next year. Ginetta resurrected the G4 name in the 1980s and in the 1990s Ginetta made several additional examples to 1960s specs using the original tooling.
While technically designed as a road car, the Ginetta G4 was really at home on the race track, especially in its home country. It embodied that British formula of small car, small engine, big performance, and it often beat much more expensive and more powerful car on both the club and national level. Various Ford engines were used throughout the production run, but the G4s powered by the Lotus Twin Cam are immensely quick. Ginettas of any type are rare in the United States, and most G4s on this side of the pond are race cars. Anyone over average height should try one on before buying. The G4 is tiny. Ginetta went on to build larger competition cars in addition to other street cars. It is one of the few classic small British sports car companies that is still with us today. The G4, though, is the model that made the company’s reputation.