Ronart’s Lightning V8 GT And Gordon Murray-Designed Rocket Bring Back The Sixties At The Hurlingham Club


May 28, 2014 By Mike Lee
Last updated on August 6, 2015
  • GT models and GP racers from the Sixties’ motoring era inspire style and design of rare models at the Capital’s summer party 

An interpretation of classic lines and evocative times in British design and engineering: the Lightning V8 GT and Gordon Murray’s ‘cult’ model Rocket are among the rare and unusual privately-owned motoring objets d’art displayed at the newest luxury event in London, Salute to Style at The Hurlingham Club.

An entirely British project started in the late Nineties, the Lightning V8 GT is the brainchild of Arthur Wolstenholme who founded the Ronart Company in 1984, inspired by the design, engineering and driver’s feel afforded by the racing machines of the 1950s as well as the sporty performance of the following decade’s GTs.

Engineer and designer Wolstenholme created the Lightning V8 GT, which was launched at the 1999 London International Motor Show, Earl’s Court, to woo GT and road-going sportscar collectors of Jensen Interceptors and Aston Martin DBSs.

Whilst the hand-built four-cam V8 engine was borrowed from the iconic Shelby Mustang, everything else in the Lightning V8 GT is bespoke, from the spaceframe structure to the carbon-fibre body. The six existing prototypes were built in Peterborough, and are all part of private collections.

The Rocket, by celebrated F1 and McLaren designer Gordon Murray, and built by ex-GP racing driver and The International Guild of Specialist Engineers Honorary Member Chris Craft, needs little introduction. A 1-litre motorcycle engine powers the ultra-light roadster sportscar; with looks reminiscent of a Grand Prix racer from the ‘60s, the Rocket sports a central seat which doubles, tandem-style, to accommodate a passenger.

“The Rocket is a statement of minimalistic performance and immortal style,” says Chris Craft. “If Salute to Style hails the best examples of classic lines in automotive design, it deserves a special place in the display.”

Salute to Style, a brand new three-day event which takes place on the magnificent grounds of The Hurlingham Club, is an elegant appointment for the finest and immortal classic designs in the automotive, art and luxury goods world.

“I am delighted to see the Lightning V8 GT displayed at Salute to Style,” says Arthur Wolstenholme. “The philosophy behind the model is perfectly encapsulated in the event: a celebration of design and engineering, form and function, history and contemporary technology.”

Heralded by a 1960s-themed Bastille Day Ball on Wednesday 16 July, and unfolding over three days, with a Ladies’ Day on Thursday, informal Concours d’Élégance on Friday and cricket on Saturday, Salute to Style is a gallery of fashionable pastimes and wondrous collections. www.hurlinghamclub.org.uk/salutetostyle