Gilbern Sports Cars

May 4, 2015 By Mike Lee
Last updated on May 4, 2015

Gilbern LogoBrief History About Gilbern

Gilbern Sports Cars was founded in 1959 in Wales by Giles Smith and Bernard Friese. Name comes from (GILes BERNard).

Giles (a butcher by trade) was looking for a fibre glass car to be built for himself with the help of Bernard Friese (engineer). When the car was nearly completed they had it inspected by Peter Cottrell (an amateur racing driver), who thought it was quite good, and so it was suggested that the car be produced for sale and not be just a one-off build.

The car was called the Gilbern GT and originally sold as a near complete car, where mostly just the running gear would then need to be bought and fitted by the owner. It was later decided that it would be better to build complete cars, as it was difficult for new owners to get the engines etc at reasonable over the counter prices.

The car sold well and was even accepted by The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders and had a stand at the British International Motor Show at Earls Court.

Another car called the Genie was created in 1966 and wanting to expand a little, more cash was needed, so in 1968 the company was bought by Ace Capital Holdings Ltd run by the Collings family. Giles stayed on for another year and Bernard for another 2 years before leaving. Another car was created called the Invader in 1969, but with soaring prices and slow sales, the company was then sold to Mecca Ltd in 1970, who then sold the company to Maurice Collins in 1972, who also then sold it to Mike Leather (both were managing directors of Gilbern). The end for Gilbern finally came in 1973, when VAT was introduced.

Gilbern GT
GT 1959-1967