Running costs of a Gilbern GT 1800

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Sir,
Disregarding the advice of friends who said it would put me off motoring for ever, I sat down the other evening to work out the running costs over the last three years of my 1964 Gilbern GT 1800.

The car was bought in August 1968 from the Ace Motor Co. of Kensington with 25,174 miles on the speedometer.

It has now covered 46,269 miles, the intervening mileage of 21,095 including three Wiscombe hill-climbs, a Valence School hill-climb and three Curborough Sprints.

In the winter of 1969-70 it was decided to fit a close-ratio gearbox and lower axle ratio and, whilst the engine was out a new clutch and starter ring were fitted, dynamo overhauled, rear brakes re-lined, etc. In May 1970 an exchange prop.-shaft was fitted and an Ace Motor Co. stainless steel silencer (£21.50) which shows no signs of corrosion as yet. Then in May this year the clutch gave up and at the same time new rear trailing arms were fitted. Also in May of last year, the boot was sealed off from the passenger compartment to comply with R.A.C. regulations; this was a time-taking and probably expensive job. Anyway, the figures are as follows:

Routine servicing and tuning .. £152.71
Overhauling gearbox, converting to c/r., overhauling overdrive, fit new clutch, etc., etc. .. £207.06
Fit lower ratio diff., etc., etc. .. £60.15
Fit exchange prop.-shaft. stainless. steel silencer, etc., etc. .. £78.56
Fit new clutch, new trailing arms, etc. .. £43.08
Total .. £541.56

New battery .. £6.33
Four Dunlop SP Sport tyres and tubes (at 45,800 miles) .. £36.13
Petrol (26 m.p.g. approx.), 5-star .. £268.00
Oil approx. (apart from oil changes) .. £15.00
Tax, three years .. £75.00
Insurance, three years, named drivers only .. £108.00
Total .. £1,050.02

Which works out at 5 new pence per mile, which surprised me.

Considering that all the maintenance, tuning and repairs are done by the Ace Motor Co.—I hardly ever put a spanner on the car myself—and that it is kept in trim for mild competition work, I think that these costs are remarkably low. You may ask, what about depreciation? Well, I was offered £75 more for the car this year by the Ace Motor Co. than I paid them in 1968! So I have put depreciation in as nil!—as a fair average.

The old Pirellis lasted over 20,000 miles and I am hoping that the Dunlop SP Sports just fitted will do at least as well.

Perhaps not shoe-string motoring but certainly very satisfying and exhilarating motoring at moderate cost.

Without the modifications and the extra wear and tear of competitions, the running costs would probably have worked out somewhere nearer 4p per mile. But it wouldn’t have been so much fun.

J. Classey.
Totteridge.