Gluing the car to the tarmac is a suspension in keeping with best racing practice. Twin wishbones front and rear are heim-jointed at the top, providing adjustability through a 2 1/2-degree camber range. These work with coil springs over adjustable Spax shocks to provide complete corner-weighting capability. The brakes I so admire are, wonder-of-wonders, Lucas/Girling calipers squeezing 9 1/4-in. non-vented rotors front and rear! Light weight does wonders for braking capability!
As I get further into the drive, I become increasingly aware of the car's racing heritage, in both good and bad ways. As a plus, there's no perceptible flex in this chassis. The side rails, exposed in the cockpit, testify to substantial construction, but it's the center tunnel, constructed of square steel tube and laminated into the fiberglass body structure, that renders the car rock-solid. There's a bit of buzzing running up through the gears, resonance of fiberglass with metal, that says, "No sound deadening here. Weight is the enemy." And, true to this credo, the Ginetta labors under a gravitational burden of only 1,480 lb.
Of course, this incredible lightness of being implies that creature comforts such as air conditioning are omitted. There's no radio, either, to interfere with a wonderfully roarty exhaust note that never strays into the territory of obnoxiously loud. But some road-holding weight is not necessarily bad. Like insulation between engine and driver's compartment for instance. A ride in a Ginetta coupe, side curtains in place, on a Georgia summer day is an exercise in weight loss via dehydration.
Note Three: Ivor, please throw some more foil-backed extruded Styrofoam into the firewall area on my car. It's light enough, and even if I race the thing, being comfortable lets you go faster longer.
It's a shady-lane cruise back to the shop, and I have time to reflect on the many virtues of the Ginetta G4. The G4 is a classic in the best sense, from the days when you could drive your car to the track, slap on some numbers, and have a go. Indeed, it's a front-runner in historic racing events today. It has been updated mainly in the drivetrain department, a welcome migration into the new century, but maintains much of the charm that attracted buyers in the first place. It sustains a purity of line matched by no modern sports car/racer. It is functional simplicity personified, in every detail. Finally, though not always practical it succeeds completely in reminding me why I became entranced by the driving experience in the first place: It's pure fun.
|G4 Specifications |
|Frame ||Tubular spaceframe chassis |
|Engine (base) ||Ford Zetec, 1796cc |
|Power (base) ||150 bhp @ 6250 rpm |
|Induction ||Dual Weber 45 DCOE or EFI |
|Ignition ||Weber Alpha Ignition electronic |
|Transmission ||Ford five-speed |
|Differential ||Ford (3.60:1 FD, other ratios available) |
|Brakes ||Lucas/Girling 9.25-in. disc |
|Steering ||Mini rack and pinion |
|Tires ||Customer specified |
|Wheels ||6x13 alloy wheels (options available) |
|Suspension, f&r ||Double wishbone, coil spring, adjustable |
| ||Spax shocks |
|L/W/H ||134/58/39.5 in. |
|Weight ||1,480 lb |
|Wheelbase ||80 in. |
|Fuel capacity ||36 liters |