Tornado Cars Ltd (UK): The Thunderbolt, Tempest And Typhoon Sports Cars

Hi Gang…

More and more, we are seeing Foreign Forgotten Fiberglass show up in the USA as a long lost tucked-away car, or something brought here often to race.  In fact, our stories of foreign fiberglass have kept growing at a fairly fast pace.  Click on the link below to show some of the most recent articles which focus on Foreign Fiberglass sports cars:

Stories From Our Foreign Fiberglass Sports Cars Category

Recently, Alden Jewell – automotive researcher and literature collector extraordinaire – shared a rare piece with us – an original four page brochure from the Tornado Cars Company based in the UK.  Let’s take a look at the pages of this rare brochure from the 50s.

Tornado Cars Limited Brochure
Page 1: Cover of Brochure


Tornado Cars Ltd. is pleased to offer the finest range of race-proved road and competition cars for the discerning enthusiast.  Three superb chassis combined with the famous body, available as complete sets of assemblies for owner construction or works built and ready for the road.

  • Thunderbolt: 2 litre car for really high speed touring and competition.  A class winner.
  • Tempest: 1000 cc car for the greatest performance with real economy
  • Typhoon: For Ford 8/10 components.  The most highly developed design for the conversion enthusiast.

Page 2: The Thunderbolt and Tempest Explained


The Tempest and Thunderbolt are both supplied as complete sets of assemblies or ready built.  The chassis is ladder type employing 3” tubes, cross braced at six points, with outriggers to support outside channel members.  Strong wishbones of unequal length form the front suspension and are designed with a very high safety factor.

Provision is made for camber and castor adjustment.  The steering is by very direct rack and pinion.  The live axle at the rear is located by two lower trailing links and a single inclined upper link to offset torque reaction.  Lateral location is by a panhard rod set behind the axle.  Helical springs and telescopic dampers are used all round.

The 2-seater is available either open with two aero screens and a tonneau, or with the very attractive G/T Hardtop and is very suitable for fast, long distance touring for two people.  The interior is roomy with large door pockets and space for small cases to be carried in the cockpit.

A large boot provides enough luggage space for a protracted holiday.  Instruments include speedo, ammeter, fuel gauge, oil pressure, and water temperature gauge.  (Rev counter is standard on the Thunderbolt).  The body is self-colored and is highly polished.  The extremely strong glass fibre ensures very long life and a lasting finish.

All mechanical parts on the TEMPEST and THUNDERBOLT are stock manufacturers’ spares and are available from any of the normal sources (either Ford or Standard/Triumph).  This ensures a world-wide replacement service.  Both cars have the highest possible performance for their classes.

Page 3: The Typhoon


The TYPHOON sports car is designed to withstand the strains and stresses demanded for vigorous sports car performance.  Its strength and toughness have been proved by severe testing on all types of roads in all conditions.  It is constructed for simple fitting of standard Ford 8/10 parts.

The total weight of the TYPHOON is 10 cwt. and this light weight combined with exceptionally fine roadholding produces a fast, safe sports car for little more than £250. 

The construction of the chassis is of 16 gauge 3″ OD drawn steel tube for the main frame with subframes of 1 and 1/2 inches, 1 inch, and 3/4 inch tube.  The specially made suspension units incorporate carefully evolved sprint rates, damper settings and travel.  

The front suspension is the very popular split axle independent type with two radius arms, the back axle is laterally held by a panhard rod, and coil spring and damper units fitted with camber adjusters provide the excellent springing all round.

A remote control gearchange fitted throughout with oilite bushes is supplied with the chassis, plus fully adjustable pedals, brackets for the Ford radiator, engine, gearbox, steering box, and fuel tank.  All modification to the Ford parts including conversion of the front axle and radius rods and gear lever is accounted for in the cost on an exchange basis.

 The beautifully styled body is available to fit straight onto the Typhoon chassis, all fittings are supplied and include door hinges and locks, boot hinges and fasteners.  No trimming or cutting of the body is necessary for the separate parts to fit.

Basically, the body consists of the main shell with flooring bonded in, making a completely water-tight cockpit.  Bonnet, doors, and boot lid are separately hinged.  Body equipment available include windscreen, hardtop, sears and back, instruments, 12 volt electrics, hood, sidescreens and tonneau cover.

Page 4: Prices


Tornado Press/Publicity Photos

Great thanks goes to Tim Suddard of Grassroots Motor Sports for sharing vintage publicity photos of the Tornado cars and chassis.  Very cool.  Let’s check out the three photos he shared with us below:

Tornado 4 Tornado 3 IMG_1688

You can check out progress on Tim Suddard’s Typhoon sports car on the following link – a car he’s readying for debut at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in March, 2015.

And when you get to the page/link above, be sure to scroll down and see all of the additional stories about this car which chart the progress of his team’s restoration from purchase – about a year ago – to intended delivery to Amelia – about 6 months from now:


And please consider joining us at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in March, 2015 – just 6 months away.  Click on the following link to learn more about the special class of Forgotten Fiberglass sports cars that will be part of the celebration at Amelia:

Click here to see Tim Suddard’s Typhoon Sports Car


Thanks again to both Alden Jewell and Tim Suddard for the contributions that made today’s article possible.

Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…

Glass on gang…



Tornado Cars Ltd (UK): The Thunderbolt, Tempest And Typhoon Sports Cars — 12 Comments

      • Info on Typhon
        Brzosteks Auctions,
        315 447 5177
        Thursday Oct 18, 19AM
        contact Mr Weissnbuger

        Location of auction 6082 Lee Center ny 13363

        Hard top coupe

        Google Brozostek’s Auctions

        Good Luck, Where are you located?

        Classic Motor sports did an in length resto on one a few fears ago….located in Fl.

  1. Hello Gentleman.
    In the 90’s I owned a Tornado Tempest with twin webers, tubular chassis, fiberglass body and inboard rear brakes. with factory hard top. I sold the vehicle in 1999. To the son of a tornado factory worker. sorry can’t remember his name, his plan was to restore the car with his father, which I believe they accomplished. would love to know any updates about the car. or any for sale? Kind regards
    Giuseppe LoRe

  2. Very nice write up on the Tornado Cars. The Thunderbolt (WAU 637) and the Competition Tempest (BXW223) are still in use today,not racing but just keeping them on the the road. My father was the Works Foreman and Driver and built both of these cars. The company only produced 1 Thunderbolt and 1 Competition Tempest, so we feel lucky to have both cars plus a few more Tornado’s to keep use busy. The Competition Tempest was in the New York area for a long time and was thought to have raced in the USA but maybe someday some evidence might turn up. Keep up the good work…

  3. Another priceless piece of fiberglass sports car history goes mainstream thanks to the generosity of Alden Jewell & Tim Suddard, & the industry of Geoff Hacker. Way to go guys, & thank you!

  4. Really nifty! I bet that 1 litre had blinding acceleration, but at least it looked great in the process. Notice the Isetta in the background in that shot on the hopscotch court? I’d love to have one of the coupes.

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