THE PIPER SPORTS & RACING CAR CLUB

THE PIPER SPORTS & RACING CAR CLUB

HISTORY

The Piper Club was first established in 1978 by Clive and Diane Davies to find out just how many Piper’s still existed from the approximately 80 road cars manufactured. Many cars were off the road because of front screen damage and screens were unavailable because the original jigs had been lost after production finished. A new jig was made for the front screen and the old moulds for the side and rear screens were found and purchased by the club and refurbished and this brought out a few more cars.  

Attending events and a few articles in the magazines soon put the clubs name around and even more cars came to the surface. Information has also been gained from past owners, racers,  designers and manufacturers.

After many years of loyal to service to Piper Cars and their owners, Clive and Diane ceased their involvment in the running of the Piper club.

The Piper club was re-vitalised in the year 2000, with the help and dedication of Piper owner Barry Miller - who continued his involvement until 2012.

This new look Piper Club was created in May 2012 by a group of owners and enthusiasts who came together to pick up and build on the previous hard work and keep the passion for these cars in the public domain.

With so few cars originally produced, Club membership will never be high but we all share the common interest that keeps this club and our cars alive and we are always pleased to have new members join our club

The preservation of PIPER cars is our main concern and the club can supply some of the unique parts used during production.

The majority of our 32 members are here in the UK but we do have members in Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA.

We still have a few missing PIPERS ON OUR records so if you can help us with any leads we will follow anything up!

The Piper Club - Information                                             

For the benefit of our members we offer:

  • Help with Piper problems
  • Technical Advice
  • Production of windscreens and acrylic windows!
  • Your cars history - as much as we know!
  • The opportunity for the public to see and enjoy our cars.
  • Attendance and reduced entry at selected meetings and classic shows.
  • A dedicated Web site
  • A Facebook group http://www.facebook.com/groups/204945172916875/

Ownership of a car is no longer a requirement for membership of our club. We offer Associate membership for those who have an interest or passion for these cars and wish to be involved.

If you are thinking about owning a Piper then we can help you to find one that may be for sale, although their rarity will make this a challenge!!!!

We currently offer the following membership options:

  • Full Membership for Piper Car Owners £30/year
  • Full Membership for overseas Piper Car Owners £30/year
  • Associate Membership UK and overseas £20/year

If full and/or associate members wish to have the club communicate by printed mailing using the postal service then there will be a £10 surcharge for UK or £15 for overseas.

Membership will run for 1 year.

For Further Information Please Contact The Club Secretary:

Andy Czakow, 27 Denbigh Drive, Shaw, Oldham, OL2 7EQ

Or Phone: 0161 298 4440, 07508 300590

Or e-mail: contact@thepiperclub.org.uk 

HISTORY OF THE COMPANY & CARS

Piper Cars & Piper Company History

The Piper company was formed in 1966 by George Henrotte who was the owner of Campbell`s Garage in Hayes, Kent and had been running the works Gemini F3 team.

Bob Gayler added his technical genius gained from working at Harry Weslake`s research establishment and then with Baldyne Engineering.

Ken Packham was a director of Metallic Components Engineering and he placed his machining facilities in Piper`s direction.

Tony Hilder was an artist and freelance designer and had been responsible for the body design of the McLaren M1A sports-racer. Tony had designed his own car but he had no facilities to build it and he joined the team as the body & chassis designer.    

The Piper logo came from the trade mark of Campbell`s Garage and it gave the new company it`s name. 

The first Piper was built in the year the company started, a rear engined open sports-racer powered by an Alfa Romeo twin-cam which had been ordered by Gerry Hall. This car featured unusual transparent sides.

                

The company was producing a range of tuning conversions and accessories and as the racing car was competitive the company received orders for more cars. An order came from Bobby Bell for a Lotus twin-cam engined Piper and one came from the states from Jerry Titus for a Buick V8 powered car.

A single seater F3 car was designed and built using a Mallite section (end-grain balsa core in light-alloy skins) to form the monocoque.

The company was bursting with original ideas and even at this early stage they were not afraid to undertake some big development projects.

A group of club racing drivers approached Piper Cars to design and build a Sports-GT body / chassis unit to take Austin Healy Sprite mechanicals and the project got underway and a model was shown at the 1966 Racing Car Show - unfortunately with a change to the rules the group later pulled out.

Piper`s had put so much into the project that a prototype was exhibited at the 1967 Racing Car Show and the response was encouraging and a limited number were produced.

       

Enter Brian Sherwood  a clubmans racer who had one of the Piper sports racing cars and he had taken it back to the factory to have it converted to the latest coupe spec. Brian was shown the new GT racer project which could be built to order and have the option of Sprite, Imp or Ford engines. Customers could then finish off the car themselves and go racing or even trim the car out for road use. Brian could see the potential of the new GT car but with Ford mechanical parts and be fully built up by the factory and sold as a road car. Brian began to get more involved with the new Piper GT sports car project and some time was spent sorting out the build problems with the car and then production continued.

The success of the tuning division and orders for the cars had led the company to outgrow their premises and it was decided to split the company into different operations and Brian took control of the car production and moved it into his factory in Wokingham, Berkshire. 

George carried on with the tuning business which later became Piper Cams and the road cars were fitted with Piper modified cylinder heads and camshafts to the Ford Cortina 1600 GT engine as standard or as an option any degree of tuning to the customers requirements.

Customers soon began to request the current Ford engine and running gear in preference to the Sprite/Midget running gear on offer. Gradually the cars settled down to the format of 1600 Crossflow with Piper head and cam. Triumph Spitfire steering and front suspension was used with Pipers own spring/damper configuration and piper designed rear suspension using the Ford English axle. The glass fibre body was mounted to a 1*1 and 2*1 backbone chassis.

 

 

 

 

It was Brian's ambition to field a team of two Pipers in the 1969 edition of the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans race. The earlier Piper GTS did not meet the Le Mans regulations so a brand new car had to be constructed. Tony Hilder was again chosen to design the Piper racing car that would be dubbed the GTR.

The GTR a Group 6 sports racer was introduced in 1968. This closed cockpit rear engined Piper also featured Mallite in the bulkheads and under tray of it`s chassis tub with multi-tubular sub frames extending to the front and rear. These could carry the twin-cam Ford engines or 2 ltr BMW, the Martin V8 and BRM engines were also an option.

The body profile was wind tunnel tested at Kingston Technical College and featured rear mounted water and oil radiators and an anti-vortex trim on the tail section so that the cooling air flow exiting under the car was not disturbed by the air also passing over it.

A 1300cc Ford twin-cam powered Piper GTR was entered into the 1969 Le Mans 24 hour race. The race engine had been held up at scrutineering because it had not been checked by the RAC for the engine capacity and the team had worked all night to get the car ready for the race only to be told that they had been withdrawn the day before because the organisers had not expected the small British team to be ready. BUT nobody had informed the Piper team about the decision ! We are told that the practice engine had suffered a miss-fire and slowly returning to the pits over the long lap lengths had caused over heating.

                                              

So production started again in a larger factory dedicated to building cars. Brian continued his racing and took control of production of the revised GTT. Cars continued to roll out of the factory and the future looked good for the small company but back in the sixties regular Ford strikes were causing problems with the supply of parts and this affected production and sales.

However one owner of a GTT took more than a passing interest in the manufacture of the cars. His name was Bill Atkinson and he became involved with the production becoming the works manager.

Piper' were not prepared to compromise and look elsewhere for their parts as other companies had. Cars were only made to order and were hand built to customers requirements and often cars were paid for gradually as the work progressed.

Then on the 18th December 1969 things took a turn for the worse with Brian Sherwoods tragic death whilst driving along the notorious three lane strach of the A20 near Brans Hatch.

Following Brian's death Bill took over partnership of Piper Cars Ltd with Tony Waller and ceased all racing activity.  They formed their own company as Emmbrook Engineering and after a time they restarted Piper production in the same factory.

Bill was never satisfied with the finish and fit of the GTT and his work improving moulds and jigs is evident in the late GTT cars. He initiated a new model to be known as the P2 (short for phase 2). Whilst retaining the original outline, the new model was extended by six inches in the scuttle. It became a more refined version of its no compromise predecessor which was more racing car. Twin headlamps, fuel gauges and better axle ratio’s brought it well and truly into the limelight as a serious road car.

Piper production was up and running again but so were the Ford ​strikes and the quiet times at Piper were spent on improvments to the cars but also a move was made to a new factory in Lincolnshire in 1973.

 

 

 

 

 

To comply with new regulations the head lights of the P2 were changed from under cover lamps to pop-up units and with purchase tax concessions no longer applying the last few cars were built to a very high standard.

The last car left the factory early in 1974.

The GTT was made from 1968 to 1971 and the P2's from 1971 to 1974. The total number of Piper road cars built was around 90 in addition to 20 of the pure racing cars.

PIPER - THE CARS

Piper – The Cars

 

Piper Race Cars:

Open Sports Racers

                       

          

Mallite Single Seater

 

      

 Formula Ford 1600           

Coupe Sports Racers           

   

GTR Group 6            

      

 

GT race cars were produced with BMC A series Engine, Imp Engine             Ford 1500 pre X/flow  or a Ford 1600 X/flow          

 

Piper GTT Cars

GTT's were produced with Ford 1600 X/flow Engine  or Lotus Twin Cam 1558 Engine  or a GTT Alfa Romeo Twin Cam Engine   

 

 

Piper P2 Cars

P2 cars were produced with Ford 1600 X/flow, Ford Pinto OHC 2000cc, Lotus Twin Cam      

              

Extra information on the P2

Lotus Twin cams and BDA’s have been fitted to cars since production and many cars with Ford x/flows have been modified .

 

 

What is the Difference between a GTT and a P2

                      GTT                                                                               P2

                GTT had Imp round rear lights                                         P2 has Triumph Dolomite rear lights

  

 

         GTT has Single Oblong or round headlamps                         P2 has twin headlamps under covers or Pop-ups

          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GTT has a bonnet bulge                                                                                 P2 has an Air Scoop

            

 

                                            Dimensions of a Piper Sports Car

 

                                  GTT                                                                                     P2

                     Length 11ft 11inches.                                                                 Length 12ft 6in.

                     Height 3ft 4 inches.                                                                    Height 3 ft 5inches.   

                    Width 5ft 7 inch                                                                          Width 5ft 7 inch