Lot 192 - 1968 Trident Clipper GT

Lot 192 - 1968 Trident Clipper GT

Lot 192 - 1968 Trident Clipper GT

Lot Number 192
Registration NOP 44F
Chassis Number 43/271/671/GT
Engine Number 29E/U/H4216
Odometer reading 56,872 miles
Estimate £10,000 - £14,000
Result Sold - £9,056
  • Unique ‘V6-powered’ Clipper
  • One of 30 ‘Clipper’ models built by Trident
  • Possible pre-production model
  • Flip-Front Clamshell bonnet, one of first four cars built
  • Thought to be shown at Olympia/New York Racing/Auto shows 1967

The TVR Trident story is probably the most intriguing and dramatic chapter in TVR’s early history. By 1963, TVR management had aspirations to challenge the best of British Sports cars; Aston Martin, Jensen, Jaguar and Gordon Keeble. Trevor Fiore, working at Carrozzeria Fissore, Turin penned a sophisticated ‘Trident’ Sports GT for TVR and Fissore and built two prototypes, subsequently displayed at the 1965 Geneva Salon. According to The Daily Mail, the Trident was ‘simply the most beautiful car in the world’ and orders rolled in. However, by August 1965, TVR was bankrupt for the second time. When business was re-engaged (under the new stewardship of TVR distributor Martin Lilly) the rights for the ‘Trident’ design project had been acquired by another TVR distributor, W.J. Last, who launched ‘The Trident Car Co’ using an Austin Healey 3000 chassis instead of the TVR Grantura III platform, onto which the Fissore glass-fibre body design was constructed. Trident’s new ‘Clipper’ was propelled by Ford’s 4.7 litre, V8, with a claimed top speed of 150mph and 0-60 in five seconds.

The first Trident Clipper Convertible prototype was displayed at the Racing Car Show at Olympia in London in January 1966, but little more was heard until the first Clipper Coupé was shown, again at the Olympia Racing Car Show, in January 1967 and later at the International Auto show in New York. The most reliable records found suggest that a total of 30 Clippers were manufactured between 1967 and 1969. In 1969 Trident offered a revised model called ‘Ventura’ which used the very capable Ford Essex 3.0, V6 engine.

Documents in the history file for this example shows first registration in June 1968 to a Mr William Edward Trimble, with registered colour on the original buff logbook as ‘Black Cherry’ (changed by DVLA to ‘purple’). He owned the car for ten years recording a colour change, in 1978, to ‘red’ as the car is today. Close inspection reveals it was originally white when first built. Notes in the history file point towards this car being suggested as likely to have been the ‘pre-production’ vehicle on display at the Olympia Racing Car Show and the New York International Auto Shows both in 1967, after which time the factory transplanted the engine with an experimental Ford V6 Essex unit (The 3.0 V6 appears to have been recorded to the car from first registration, rather than a later change). This would logically be the only Trident Clipper fitted with a V6 engine by the factory. Equally interesting to note is the flip-front, clamshell-style front end thought to be only one of four cars built by Trident to use this design. After some research by the vendor on the January 1967 Racing Car Show at Olympia, it was found that an archive record of the Trident Clipper to be in attendance at the show, painted white, adding additional weight to the idea that this car offered for sale could indeed be the pre-production show car of 1967.

For nearly six years, this car has been in esteemed company, dry stored as part of a large private collection of Italian-designed exotic motor cars in Germany. In December 2019, the car was recommissioned for road use and passed its first UK MoT test since 2013. The file comes with V5 documentation and checks with DVLA indicate that the vehicle is still recorded and known on the existing registration and can be taxed (Historic status). A very attractive British Sports GT with Italian design flair. This very rare vehicle should be an exciting proposition to any collector of rare 1960’s Gran Turismo’s

Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Accordingly, buyers are on notice that each vehicle is offered ‘as is/as seen’ subject to the Terms and Conditions for the auction. Buyers are advised to inspect the vehicle in person or use a professional to carry out this service. Historics will not entertain disputes over descriptions.

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