The Griffin Designs GDXM Morris-1000-based kit car

You wouldn't think this was a Morris 1000 underneath.

In its day (1976) it was one of the smartest-looking kit cars and was almost the only one available as an estate car (well more of a hatch-back really).

In the case of mine, I was once stopped by the police, thinking it was a stolen supercar, with number plates off a Morris 1000. I had to show them the engine compartment to convince them.

It had a length of 12' 2" and width of 5' 2".

I have heard that only around ten were ever built before the makers went bust.

Griffin GDXM with Juliet Turner
It was made by Group Designs and F.K.S. Fibreglass Mouldings Ltd. of Balena Close, Creekmoor Trading Estate, Poole, Dorset.

These were run by Jim Clark and Jim Finch.

They were Suppliers to Penske Racing, etc. and made the bodies for Gulf's 1975 Le Mans winning Mirage.

It was reviewed in "Hot Car" magazine September 1975.

It was advertised at Advertised at £1,050 + VAT, although I paid a £300 deposit and then £603 to get the body after the firm went bust.

Griffin GDXM on Woodbury Common
Its plus points were:


available as estate or open-topped,

cheaper that most anything looking as flash,

very sturdy self-coloured fibreglass body, so strong that the roof was able to be stood on and someone rolling their car downhill into mine at 3mph didn't even scratch it.

lower centre of gravity and wide wheels gave better cornering than the van.

very few kit cars of the day would take a sturdy tow bar.


One point from this picture - the dashboard design was up to each buyer.

Griffin GDXM interior
Its minus points were:

the heavy Morris 1000 chassis and very-thick fibreglass body made acceleration no better than the original van.

I fitted my van with twin carbs, anti-roll bar, electric fan, alternator and extractor manifold which was great, as a van, but not much good as the kit car,

it used smaller-diameter wheels than the original Morris and needed a different set of gears to get a top speed of over 60mph.

the makers going bust during construction of mine made for considerable difficulty in getting hold of the kit and all its parts.

it had poorly thought-out door seals (like many kit cars of the day).

perspex side and rear windows which scratched easily and certainly wouldn't take a rear wiper.

sliding side windows which gave very restricted opening.
Griffin GDXM on Woodbury Common

Constructing the kit.

First you needed a Morris 1000 6cwt. van or pickup. These both had a separate chassis

This was mine, previously a Post Office van, parked in the drive of Littlemead, Exmouth, Devon.

Constructing a Griffin GDXM stage 1
Now you needed to fit it with side windows so that it could be re-registered as "an estate car and not a van honest guv".

Constructing a Griffin GDXM stage 2
Then the rear body was unbolted from the chassis.

Navigator: Colin Batten. Driver: Roger Batten.

Constructing a Griffin GDXM stage 3
Then the front bodywork was removed with a lot of noise and effort in splitting seams with hammer and chisel.

Note the rear of another heraldic-beast-named kit car on the left - a Gilbern Invader Estate which we made earlier.

Constructing a Griffin GDXM stage 4
The kit body then bolted directly onto the chassis.

Here's a view of the body interior as it came, with a "dashboard" ready for the buyer to do-their-own-thing.

Constructing a Griffin GDXM stage 5
The one-piece roof panel bolted on top of the body.

Then all that was needed was minor work such as:
the wiring (no loom supplied),
fitting a Mark 2 Cortina windscreen,
cutting perspex to make the sliding side- and other windows,
fitting Mark 3 Cortina rear lights,
fitting a sun-roof and interior trim,
etc., etc., etc.
Constructing a Griffin GDXM stage 6

And finally...

Here's a picture taken inside the FKS Fibreglass workshop showing some of their other projects including the mould for a Sunrider hovercraft.

It possibly also shows a certain lack of organisation!

Constructing a Griffin GDXM stage 5

Please let me know if the above was of interest, or if you know of any remaining examples, or if you found any mistakes (see below).

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This page last updated 16th. August 2020.
Images and text © Copyright Jim Batten, 1976-2020.

Send corrections, comments, enquiries, etc. to Jim Batten