The Piper P2 Is a British Oddity You’ve Never Heard Of


Piper Cars was a late-sixties dream that never reached the heights of Marcos or TVR, let alone Lotus.

The story of Piper Cars all began in the mid-1960s, when Formula 3 team leader George Henrotte put together a crew in the UK to make its own racing prototype. Piper Cars was launched officially in 1966, debuting the road-going fiberglass GT in kit-car form the following year. With the front suspension from a Triumph Herald and a Ford rear axle, the GT exemplified textbook British engineering, with Piper making most if its money by selling hot cams and cylinder heads on the side.

Due to the GT’s various design flaws, a redeveloped GTT version followed in 1969, while Piper also took a new mid-engined Group 6 racing car called the GTR to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The race car didn’t make it past qualifying, and to make matters worse, company owner Brian Sherwood died in a car accident before the end of the year.

Bill Atkinson drove from the north of England to the south to have Piper modify the cylinder head of his Rover 2000, only to fall in love with an early prototype on the spot. He joined Piper soon after, and following Sherwood’s death, he and Tony Waller kept going under the name Embrook Engineering, introducing the car known as “Phase 2.” 

 

The P2 was more spacious with better gearing, but Atkinson’s real ambition was to launch a completely new model, which would have been bigger, and better as a road car. Unfortunately, money ran out right after the first sketches, and everyone involved was forced to look for paying jobs.

After selling his personal P2 to pay for some furniture, Atkinson got the car back in the late eighties, all gutted, ready for a full restoration. In total, Piper built around 80 cars before ending production in the mid-1970s.

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