Of all the glorious machines sitting pretty on the Cartier Style et Luxe concours lawn at FoS, one group of six cars stands out. The cars are not the oldest, fastest, most successful or even necessarily the best, but all are great British sporting hopefuls with one thing in common: a great big American V8 stuffed under their bonnets. English Grace, Amercan Pace? Bring it on….
JUL 05th 2016
6 Glorious British V8s You May Have Missed at FOS!
1965 Gordon Keeble GK1
Italian design (by Giugiaro no less) and American grunt came together in one of Britain’s more unlikely cars, the Gordon Keeble. The striking car, made on the south coast, was first shown in 1960 but ceased production in 1967 after the money ran out. One hundred were made: all amply powered by the 300bhp 5.4-litre V8 from the Chevy Corvette. It’s thought that 90 GK1s are still on the roads.
1968 Bristol 410
Elsewhere at FoS a brand new Bristol is on the prowl again, but to many the iconic, and just a little eccentric, British marque is characterised by this car, the 410. It was 1961 when Bristol cut its BMW engine roots and looked across the pond for V8 power. That was provided by Chrysler of Canada, and the 5.2-litre made the curvy and aerodynamic 410 the class of the luxury fast tourer class.
1965 Jensen Interceptor P66 prototype
Is the Interceptor the most famous American-engined British musclecar of them all? Could be. It certainly ticks the Yankee bent-eight box with a 6276cc Chrysler V8 under the bonnet. And if you are thinking the “Interceptor” on show on the Cartier lawn is nothing at all like the Interceptor we know and love, you’d be right. The convertible prototype was rejected in favour of the Touring of Italy designed coupe with its trademark wraparound glass rear. Only one thing stayed the same: the American V8!
1966 Jensen Interceptor Vignale
After Jensen rethought the design of its new Interceptor for 1966, Carrozzeria Touring came up with the an entirely new and modern design for a high performance grand tourer. Great design, lavish spec – including the world’s first “theatre-dimming” interior light! – and impressive ride and handling were all perfect partners for Chrysler’s 6.2-litre V8. The earliest bodies – and the car on show is the earliest of all, being the first production example – were built by Vignale in Italy before coming back to West Bromwich.
1971 AC 428 Frua
The 428 in the racy AC’s name could mean only one thing: 428 cubic inches, or 7.0-litres. The big-block Ford V8, sat inside a lengthened AC Cobra chassis, delivered enough horsepower to take the AC to 140mph. But the Italian designed coupe was held back by its high cost – almost twice as much as an E-type at the time. Just 81 AC 428s were built, 49 coupes and 29 convertibles.
1965 TVR Trident Fissore
V8s and TVRs go together like fish and chips but most associate the sports cars from Blackpool with the Rover lump. V8 grunt in a TVR actually predates that, at least in the US, thanks to the 4.7-litre Ford Windsor bent-eight from the States. It first went into the TVR 200 Griffith and then, in 1965, under the bonnet of a bold attempt to take the brand upmarket with the Fissore-designed Trident. Only four were made before (you guessed…) money troubles hit.
Photography by Pete Summers and Dominic James