The Ginetta G40R is a street-legal sports car developed and built in England by Ginetta Cars, a longtime rival of Lotus and TVR who never gave up on the idea of creating lightning fast, analogue sports cars.

The G40R has been called one of the best kept secrets of the sports car world, they only rarely come up for sale secondhand as their owners tend to be very reticent to part with them, and they are available brand new in limited numbers from Ginetta.

Fast Facts – The Ginetta G40R

  • Ginetta Cars has a long history dating all the way back to 1958 when the company was founded by four brothers – Bob, Ivor, Trevers, and Douglas Walklett. In the decades since, Ginetta has grown to become one of the more respected of the low-volume British sports car manufacturers.
  • The Ginetta G40R was introduced in 2010 as the street-legal version of the Ginetta G40 race car. The G40 model family had been developed to replace the earlier Ginetta G50.
  • The G40 and G40R have a fully welded tubular steel chassis with an integral roll cage rated for motorsport use. Power was provided by a number of different four-cylinder engine options over the years depending on the specific variant, these included a 1.0 liter, 1.8 liter, and two different 2.0 liter engines.
  • The lightweight fiberglass body of the G40R has helped keep its curb weight down to just 795 kgs (1,753 lbs), this coupled with the vehicle’s famously sharp steering and handling has resulted in it being called one of the best kept secrets in the world of low-production sports cars.

Ginetta Cars – A History Speedrun

Ginetta was founded in 1958 by four brothers: Bob, Ivor, Trevers, and Douglas Walklett in Woodbridge, Suffolk. Their initial offering was the Fairlight, a lightweight fiberglass body shell priced at £49, designed to be fitted onto a Ford chassis with an 8 – 10 bhp engine. The first car they developed, known as the Ginetta G1, was not intended for mass production and was based on a pre-war Wolseley Hornet six.

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Image DescriptionThe styling of the Ginetta G40 references some of the company’s earlier designs while still looking to the future. It’s been called a modern classic and it’s a statement that’s hard to argue against.

Each of the Walklett brothers had a specific role within the company. Bob served as the managing director, Douglas was the mechanical engineer also responsible for the electrical systems, Ivor was the designer, and Trevers worked with Ivor as the stylist.

After initially operating in Woodbridge, Ginetta relocated to Witham, Essex in 1962. From 1972 to 1974, they occupied larger premises in Ballingdon Street near Sudbury, Suffolk, before returning to Witham. In 1988, due to the need for larger facilities, the Walklett brothers moved the company to Scunthorpe, allowing for expansion.

On November 7, 1989, Ginetta was sold to an international group of enthusiasts based in Sheffield, led by managing director Martin Phaff. The company was in a strong financial position at the time of the sale, and the Walklett brothers retired from the business.

Under Phaff’s leadership, Ginetta continued to produce cars, including models like the Ginetta G20 and the Ginetta G33. However, the company faced challenges during the 1990s, encountering financial difficulties due to a recession and other difficulties.

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Image DescriptionThe interior of the car is purposeful, it’s clear that this design started out as a race car that was then modified for the road and not the other way around.

In 2005 Ginetta was bought by Yorkshire-based LNT Group and ever since they’ve been on a pronounced upward trajectory. They’re now building over 100 – 150 cars per year and they focus on both street-legal sports cars and out-and-out racing cars, while Lotus and TVR have gone upmarket Ginetta has remained true to their founding-DNA.

The Ginetta G40R

The Ginetta G40 was introduced by the British sports and racing car company back in 2010 as a replacement for the outgoing G50 model.

The G40 has all the hallmarks of a great British sports car, with a lightweight chassis, independent front and rear suspension, sharp handling, great styling, an affordable MSRP, and an excellent power-to-weight ratio.

With all of this in mind it should be no surprise that the G40 has been one of Ginetta’s most enduring success stories – it’s been in production for 13 years and counting.

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Image DescriptionPower is provided by a naturally-aspirated 2.0 Ford Duratec inline-four making 200 bhp, and it’s mated a 5-speed manual transmission.

There are two main variants of the Ginetta G40 – the race-specification G40 and the road-legal G40R model (the “R” in this case stands for “Road”). Both are based on the same chassis with an integral roll cage, they share the same fiberglass body, fundamentally the same brakes and suspension, but the drivetrain is different and the interior of the G40R is a little more comfortable for regular street use.

The G40 was originally powered by the 1.8 liter Ford Zetec inline-four cylinder engine which produced 140 bhp and was mated to a 5-speed gearbox. The G40R was originally powered by a modified 2.0 liter Mazda MZR engine producing 175 bhp and sending power back to the rear wheel through a 6-speed manual transmission shared with the Mazda MX5.

Later versions of the G40 and G40R would get different engine and gearbox options, the car you see here for example is powered by a naturally-aspirated 2.0 Ford Duratec inline-four that makes 200 bhp, which is all sent back through a 5-speed manual box.

The car weighs in at just 795 kgs (or 1,753 lbs), a remarkably low figure considering the fact that it has to pass all of the same modern crash testing and safety certifications as everyone else.

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Image DescriptionThe entire front clamshell lifts open to allow full and unfettered access to the engine bay, as well as the front suspension and brakes.

Some reviews of the Ginetta G40R have missed the point of the car either partially or altogether. It has had marks taken away for not being comfortable enough, or having spacious cabin, some felt there weren’t enough amenities or luxuries.

Truth be told, the G40R was never meant to be a grand tourer, it’s a British sports car in every sense of the word and a worthy compatriot of its important early forebears like the Lotus Elan, Marcos Mantula, TVR Grantura, Triumph GT6, and countless others.

Ginetta have been building over a 100 cars a year for well over a decade now but in the grand scheme of things these numbers are still relatively low, and as a result we only rarely see them come up for sale.

The 2013 Ginetta G40R Shown Here

The car you see here is a 2013 Ginetta G40R, from just the third year of production. It’s finished in Pure Orange over a minimalist interior with two black leather bucket seats with orange piping, orange stitching, and Ginetta-branded harnesses.

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Image DescriptionThere’s not a lot in the way of luxuries, but this is designed to be a lightweight sports car for true enthusiasts – interestingly through it does come with air conditioning.

This G40R is powered by the naturally-aspirated 2.0 Ford Duratec inline-four which is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission and as you would expect it rides on independent front and rear suspension, with front and rear disc brakes.

Looking over the options list, this G40R is one of the best set up we’ve ever seen. It has carbon-fibre trim inlays, air conditioning (!!!), five-point racing harnesses, an on-board fire extinguisher, a removable steering wheel, and a trio of dashboard-mounted auxiliary gauges.

It’s now being offered for sale on Collecting Cars out of Surrey in the United Kingdom and you can visit the listing here if you’d like to read more about it or register to bid.

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Images courtesy of Collecting Cars

Published by Ben Branch -