Showcase: 1968 SWM Renault Gordini Sports / Race Car

1968  SWM  Renault  Gordini
Owner:  Luis Alarcos – Valladolid, Spain

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History  of  This  Car

SWM was a German based company founded by two brothers in the 1960s.  Stefan and Wenzel Mannl (Stefan and Wenzel Mannl – SWM) designed, built and raced their own cars with great success.  Of the 7 cars built, just one verified sports car remains – their last one and their piece de resistance – the 1968 SWM Gordini.

SWM started building cars in the early 1960s, usually for themselves and local racers to tear up the tracks of Germany. Just seven cars ever left the SWM factory, with the first six being tube frame, fiberglass bodied, and BMW-powered. The last one was different.  Looking for a way to scale their racing enterprise, the Mannl brothers went for a popular platform that was inexpensive and readily available. As such, they cut up a Renault R8 compact sedan platform, installed a short fiberglass body on it, and installed a hotted up Gordini engine and transaxle.

The inspiration for the design of the body came from famous sports and race cars of the mid 1960s era including the Ford GT 40 (doors opening into roof), and the Lotus Europa and Ferrari Breadvan which influenced the rear styling of this car (see photos below).

The plan was to start cranking these Renault-based SWMs en masse, but a wrench was thrown in the works. The Mannl family had a successful carpentry business, and at the same time they went to a bank to secure a loan to grow that business. For the bank to take them seriously, the brothers were told they needed to give up their sports car lark. That was that, the seventh SWM had been built and the race car concern was no more.

Their 1968 SWM Gordini was bought in Germany by an American soldier in the late 1960s and shipped to the USA.  Then, it was put in storage for 50+ years and remain untouched until restoration began in 2019.

Cars  Which  Influenced  the  Styling  of  the  SWM  Gordini

Stefan and Wenzel Mannl Used The Door Design of the Ford GT 40 For Their SWM Sports Car

The Rear End Styling of the Ferrari Breadvan Was Used For The Rear of the SWM

Another Sports Car – The Lotus Europa – With Styling That Influenced the SWM Gordini Design

Technical  Specifications

  • Completed: 1968
  • Engine: 1300 (1.3 litres / 1255 cc)
  • Head: Overhead valve / Gordini cross flow design
  • Carburation: 2 side-draft Weber carburetors – twin choke 40mm
  • Horsepower: 105
  • Transmission: 5 speed Gordini
  • Brakes: 4 wheel disc
  • Height: 40.6 inches
  • Length: 148 inches
  • Width: 64 inches
  • Wheelbase: 89.75 inches


Explore  The  Links  Below

Mannl  Family Sports / Race  Car  Story
Article  Provided  by  Christian  Mannl

This  One-Off  1960s  Sports  Racer  Makes  Taking  on  The  World  Seem  Possible
1968  SWM  Gordini

Jalopnik: March 31, 2019

Hidden  Treasures:  1968  SWM  Gordini
Vintage Racecar Journal: September, 2017

The  SWM  Gordini  “Mannl”  Sports  Car
Undiscovered Classics: September 23, 2014

Ad  For  Sale
Austro Motor Magazine: September, 1969

Other  SWM  Race  Cars
Several  Race  Cars  Are  Shown  Here

Information  On  The  SWM  Gordini
All  Information  On  This  Car  On  Our  Website

Audio  Interview

Audio  Interview  With  Christian  Mannl  (son)
Interviewer:  Geoff  Hacker – June  8,  2017
40  Minutes  Long

Click on small triangle (below left) to begin to listen