GILBERN INVADER REVIEW

Wales hasn’t produced many cars, but the Invader was a bit of a corker.

The Invader was Gilbern’s last gasp. It used a Ford Essex V6, MGC rear axle and a steel spaceframe chassis clad in glassfibre bodywork. By its 1969 launch, more cars were being built at the factory in a move away from its home-build roots. The facelifted 1972 MkIII used the front suspension and rear axle from a Ford Cortina MkIII.


VITAL STATISTICS

Gilbern Invader

Engine                                    2994cc/V6/OHV

Power (bhp@rpm)                  140bhp@4750rpm

Torque (lb ft@rpm)                 182lb ft@3000rpm

Top speed                                116mph

0-60mph                                  10.7sec

Consumption                            20-25mpg

Gearbox                                    4-speed manual OD


WHAT TO LOOK FOR

BODYWORK & CHASSIS
 

Glassfibre has its own issues, so look for stress cracks around hinges and the base of the windscreen pillars and any signs of crazing. A cosmetic overhaul can get expensive, but the good news is that the Gilbern Owners’ Club still has most of the body moulds used for these cars. Far more critical is the state of the chassis. A car can look immaculate, but be rotten underneath. Most will have had some work carried out, so you really need to get underneath to check the condition. Removing the body is a complex process, so sections of body may have been cut out for repairs to take place.

ENGINE

The lusty Essex V6 should have plenty of grunt. Regular coolant changes are necessary for good health – rusty coolant suggests neglect and the block will readily silt up. The fibre timing gear is a well-known foible – steel replacements are available and a bonus point if the car you’re viewing has one. Keep an eye on the temperature gauge and watch the exhaust for any signs of blue smoke, indicating wear or valve stem seals in need of replacement. The Ford-derived gearbox should offer crunch-free gearchanges. Whichever back axle is fitted, listen out for excessive noise. The Salisbury unit in the MkI and MkII is very tough, but can be expensive to rebuild.

BRAKES

The MkI and MkII use an MG rack, the MkIII borrows from the MkIII Cortina again. All should be free of play. Some suspension components, such as arms and bushes, are unique to the Gilbern. The club has some stock and is looking to have bushes remade in polyurethane. Listen out for knocks and clonks. Brakes can suffer if a car has been standing, so make sure they are effective and that the car doesn’t pull to one side. The brake parts are all borrowed from BMC or Ford, so are easy to find.


INTERIOR

The Invader was fairly plush for a component car, though trim was usually vinyl. A retrim in leather is always nice to have and a few cars have been treated to this over the years – it improves the look of the cabin and adds a little to a car’s inherent value. Watch for problems with the wood dashboard (where fitted) 
– usually walnut or elm. Also check for water ingress; soggy carpets or a damp smell are the giveaway, indicating tired screen seals. The electrical components are mainly Lucas, so parts aren’t too difficult to come by. The electric window motors are courtesy of Vauxhall however, and replacements are getting rare. They can be reconditioned, but it’s easier to make sure they work. Make sure everything works. Earthing issues are a possibility, but most failures are often down to nothing more sinister than dirty or corroded connectors.


OUR VERDICT

If you want an exclusive sports car that’s simple to maintain and great fun to drive, then the Invader is the car for you. The Essex V6 is very heavy and not all that powerful, but it does have plenty of low down grunt, making acceleration a spirited affair. They corner well too, thanks to co-founder Giles Smith’s racing knowledge. It’s worth remembering that Mk3s are particularly desirable and can command around 20 per cent more than earlier Invaders.

Recently Added

44602 1Sponsored Ad
1970
£27,500
  • 5,468
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1092565
A truly lovely MGC Roadster that ticks all the boxes, superb condition, lusty performance, relaxe...
12
0118 968 0986
View details
Placeholder cbe6c9521c21456cf9170dc847e3e1de3931371c967e81955c16862b992b5364Sponsored Ad
2003
£4,995
  • 70,000
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1099591
The BMW Z4 is a range of two-seat roadster and coupe models which have been produced since 2002. ...
0
01798 849 279
View details
45875 1Sponsored Ad
2000
£8,995
  • 107,800
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1095596
More info to come
5
01798 849 279
View details
30845 1Sponsored Ad
2006
£11,999
320
  • 0
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 N/A
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1060473
MERCEDES BENZ R 320CDI SWB AUTOMATIC (Panoramic Sun Roof) 06/56 This MERCEDES BENZ R320 CDI SWB A...
6
01483 315 194
View details
Saab 93a 1957 burgundy red 02Sponsored Ad
1957
€22,500
A
  • 7,670
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 LHD
  • Refcode: TA1099586
Unique Saab 93A
26
+31 (0)26 442 99 37
View details
2cv6 01Sponsored Ad
1986
€8,950
Speciale
  • 63,603
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 LHD
  • Refcode: TA1091382
Nice Citroën 2CV6
20
+31 (0)26 442 99 37
View details
2Sponsored Ad
1963
£5,500
  • 79,000
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1099571
1 FORMER KEEPER RESTORATION PROJECT JAGUAR MK2 2.4 MANUAL
5
07962 376666
View details
Img e3188Sponsored Ad
1991
£11,500
SILVER SPIRIT II ACTIVE RIDE
  • 66,000
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Automatic
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1098645
A STUNNINGLY WELL MAINTAINED SPIRIT II WITH ACTIVE RIDE
65
07962 376666
View details
911 carrear rearSponsored Ad
£POA
WANTED
  • 0
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1075394
Wanted Porsche. We are looking to Purchase any classic Porsche. 911 964 993 996 928 944 Turbo ...
1
07595 021777
View details
Img 0855Sponsored Ad
£POA
WANTED
  • 0
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Automatic
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1079544
We are looking at low owner, low miles, original Mercedes 500 Sl, R107 & R129. Top prices always...
1
07595 021777
View details
See All Classic Cars for Sale