Frustration can drive men to many things, but it came as something of a surprise when it is turned into a new car! Design graduate Boris Kurpil had however done just that. As the Managing Director of a successful marketing and design company and long-time fan of classic sports cars he found himself in the frustrating position of wanting to buy a Morgan but being quoted a delivery time several years away. It was at that point that the newly-introduced GP Madison caught his eye and an idea began to take form in his mind.
There must be he reasoned a number of enthusiasts in the same position as himself to whom the Madison would be every bit as attractive as the Morgan. The only problem was the fact that by comparison, GP's fully-built Madisons, for all their good looks and value for money, were not sufficiently luxurious to appeal to the same sort of customer who would buy a Morgan ..From that point to the launch of the new Madison Special was but a short leap in thinking terms. The actual work that went into the new roadster had taken rather longer, but had nevertheless been entirely worthwhile, for the Madison Special represented one of the finest products available to fans of classic-style open air motoring. And in terms of looks, performance and overall quality it was sure to give the Morgan a run for its money — with the added virtue of a much-reduced timespan between order and delivery!
In essence the Madison Special was broadly faithful to the original Neville Trickett design, capturing the style and grace of 1930's motoring and combining it with modern running gear and low maintenance costs. But examined in detail it offers still more advantages than GP's popular roadster. Externally, the changes are clear, though so much in keeping with the original design that they may escape one's notice at first. The spare wheel, for instance, was an addition suggested in the November/ December roadtest of the Madison, while the period-style stainless steel bumpers provide worthwhile extra protection for the two-seater's graceful wings.
The decision to incorporate passenger doors made the roadster more practical than ever before, while the redesign of the dashboard gave the interior an entirely different character. The new instrumentation now included a tachometer and clock, plus a Blaupunkt Toronto stereo radio/ cassette, oil pressure and temperature gauges. The changes to GP's Madison extend to the Madison Special's mechanical and structural elements too.
For whilst the engine was a sturdy 1835cc VW unit putting out approximately 100bhp, the Beetle floorpan had been replaced by a specially designed tubular steel chassis guaranteed against rust for five years. Braking force on the Special's 180 x 70 radial tyres was servo assisted too — which was probably a good thing since the car was capable of sprinting from 0- 60mph in around 7.5 seconds!
With standard equipment including a wood-rimmed steering wheel, leather upholstery and trim, Wilton carpets, two speed wipers, transistorised ignition and a mohair hood and tonneau cover (which now stow behind the seats) the owner of a Madison Special is certainly well provided for.
But for those in search of still more luxury, the options list even included air conditioning — not that there were a lot of extras; the Madison Special in standard form actually included items that would account for an extra £800 on top of the price of a Morgan. Although the Madison Special's price of £9545 (including car tax and VAT) certainly put it in the more exalted leagues of specialist cars the future for this stylish newcomer looked bright indeed. GP Special Vehicles had signed a long term contract for the supply of their GRP bodyshells to Boris Kurpil's company, and enquiries for the Madison Special had come from as far afield as Italy, Belgium, Canada, Texas, Australia and Dubai. With around a dozen British customers already waiting in line it looked as though Boris Kurpil's thinking was along the right lines from the start. Few problems can have ever had such a successful answer