The Pembleton story starts back in April 1999, with former National Hill Climb Champion Phil Gregory planning a cycling tour of Ireland. While researching the pricing structure of the Dún Laoghaire ferry, he noted that motorcycles and tricycles went free. Phil immediately began to speculate: would this exemption extend to three-wheeled cyclecars?
Phil’s career in hill-climb racing had seen him set a slew of records at events across the country. But he was also acquainted with the engineering side of motoring, thanks to his experience in a design role in the family business, which had ultimately led to him designing and building his own National Championship winning race bike and V-Twin engine.
The prospect of free ferry travel across the Irish sea was just the spark Phil needed to re-ignite that longstanding passion – and he set to work on the first Pembleton car soon after. Phil’s design pedigree and enthusiasm for all things automotive quickly led to the formation of Pembleton Motor Company, and a series of highly-specialised, hand-built cars, shipped to enthusiasts across the world.
In 2015, Pembleton Motor Company was joined by Phil’s son, Guy, who now leads production (with Phil himself assuming a new role as a specialist designer and fabricator). The business relies on a small core of dedicated petrol-heads: alongside Guy and Phil, there’s historic racing driver Sam Stretton and graduate engineer John Mockett, whose technical expertise helps us to realise our design ambitions.
Today, there are almost five-hundred Pembleton cars on the road, each of which exemplifies our unique approach to automotive design.
Our ethos holds performance, simplicity and quality above all other virtues. We dispense with the superfluous weight of cup-holders, cruise control and satellite navigation. Instead, we pour all our creative energy into a lightweight core of pure motoring excellence. This no-frills approach allows us to be selective when it comes to materials and components. But it also results in a vehicle that’s cheap to run, and outrageously good fun to drive, with a bhp per kg that beats many mainstream sports cars.
This philosophy has been consistent from the first car right up to the iconic V-Sport. Our designs remain elegant and straightforward, but we’re not afraid to incorporate modern advances where they improve performance or reliability. Thus, our customers enjoy the look and style of a bygone era, alongside the reliability and power of cutting-edge modern tech.
All our vehicles are meticulously hand-constructed in Bayton, Worcestershire. This part of the country has a rich history of mechanical innovation: less than 10 miles away is Shelsley Walsh’s iconic hill climb, the oldest motorsport venue in the world still using its original course. Somewhere that has seen some of the finest examples of automotive engineering to be found and where Phil held the outright bike record for over 10 years. Many of these vehicles were produced by incredibly skilled craftsman using techniques that are slowly being lost in our mass produced world.
We’ve continued this tradition using a combination of our own processes and British-made parts. Many of the techniques we practice have been around for as long as motoring itself: Every chassis is fabricated on-site using jigs, and the eye-catching aluminium bodywork of the V-sport is formed, hand-worked, drilled and riveted by us. The upholstery, by contrast, is a result of collaboration with a range of local craftspeople, with whose help we’re able to create an aesthetic that’s reminiscent of the classics.
Thanks to modern tools like CNC and our in-house CAD, we’re able to work to incredibly precise tolerances, and create things that those early cycle-car pioneers couldn’t have imagined. Moreover, we’re able to cram every car with modern conveniences, from fuel-injected and electronically controlled V-twin engines to USB charging points to LED headlights.
These modern techniques offer vastly-enhanced reliability, as well as improvements to efficiency and performance. Our cars can also achieve up to sixty mpg, making them an economical choice as well as an exhilarating one!