At Rocket Badge, we love when our customers come to us with a super unique use for their badges – in this case, restoring a classic car. Recently, we partnered with Gordon Johnston to help him add the finishing touches to his passion project, the resurrection of the Gilbern T11. Designed by British designer Trevor Fiore, the T11 originally was built in 1970 by the now defunct Gilbern Sports Cars company. However, the company recalled the project, and the car never made it past it the prototype stage. Luckily, that prototype made it into the hands of Johnston, who spent nine years painstakingly restoring the car to get it back on the road.
Tell us a little about the Gilbern T11 and what makes it so unique…
So, here’s a part of its history: In 1969, Gilbern (Wales’ only car maker) engaged Trevor Fiore (best known for his design work with TVR) to design a 2-seat coupe. Work on the car started in early in 1970, with the plan to display the car at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show. But, by early 1971, Gilbern realised that the project was never going to get finished, and so they abandoned the project. So, what you see now is a resurrection of what Gilbern started 48 years ago.
How did find and acquire the original car?
I had just purchased a Gilbern Invader Mk2 from a gentleman in York, and he gave me a pile of old club magazines. While I was looking through them one day, I came across a black and white photo of this rather low sports car, so I made a few enquiries as to what it was and if it still existed. After a lot of hard work, I tracked it down to somewhere in Dorset and eventually made an offer and purchased it.
Tell us about restoring the car – how long did it take?
I started the restoration in 2000, and got it back on the road nine years later. When you see what I started with, you understand why it took nine years. Almost everything had to be handmade.
Was this the first care you built from scratch?
No. Many years ago, I built a 4-wheel drive turbo charged Skoda Estelle…that was a lot a fun.
How did Rocket Badge help as part of the restoration process?
Rocket Badge helped me create custom decals that I used on the wheel centre caps and the horn push on the steering wheel. I’d like thank Morgane for her help and her ability to grasp what I was looking to do! She was a great help and I would recommend Rocket Badge to anyone.
How did you come up with the design the decals?
The design is from the original drawing for the car from the Gilbern factory.
If people are interested in seeing the T11 in person – are there opportunities for them to do so?
Yes, I go to many classic car shows from April to October, mainly in the South East, but you can always email me at [email protected] and ask.