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An actual Sterling GT. Wow!

farfegnubbin

Site Owner
Staff member
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This video is from way back in 2012 but I recently came upon it and just had to share because of how rare it is. Here we have probably the only video I'm aware of of an actual Sterling GT. What's more, it's a complete, running car. How very cool!

As a quick refresher for everybody, the Sterling GT is an actual factory model of the Sterling. Very few were made (I've heard estimates from three to seven.) The true GT's hood, wheel wells, canopy, and engine compartment/rear bumper are a little different than the classic Sterling. Over the years I've seen lots and lots of folks ad "GT" to their Sterling just to kind of...I dunno...highlight the fact that it is a sports car. But the reality is that doing so isn't accurate. The true GT is rare among the rare.

When watching the video, look for the following features:
1) The lower side-scoop looks like it's a little higher on the body than on the Classic Sterling. In actuality, the entire body was raised a little to gain headroom and then the rocker panel below the scoop was made taller to hide that change (and to hide the lowered floor boards, too, which was always a cosmetic oversight.)
2) The upper side scoops are more rectangular and forward-facing than those on the Classic.
3) The front and rear wheel wells are more round/enclosed compared to the Classic Sterling who's wheel wells have that that scalloped "corner of the eye" look to them.
4) The rear of the car is about three inches longer, and if you look closely, you can tell how they did it; the top line of the rear (the line above the name plate) is identical to the Sterling Classic but then it slants down and REARWARD as it approaches the tail lights. (That panel is much more upright in the Classic.) Obviously the tail lights are different than in the Classic and wrap onto the side a little. (Tail lights in the Sebring II do this as well, albeit using tail lights from a different donor, but the Sebring isn't a true model of the Sterling, rather a spin-off.)
5) The rear louvers are one panel longer, and the engine cut-out is much wider and deeper for better access.
6) This one is subtle but the canopy is just a tiny little bit different. The angle of the windshield is about 1-2 degrees less raked and the borders fit really nicely. Look at the gaps; they are almost nonexistent.
7) The hood, headlights, and front turn signals are different than the Classic but are actually pretty much identical to those from the other rare variant called the Sovran. Some styling cues on the Sovran were odd (...I'm looking at you, weird wheel wells!) but the hood and headlights were tasteful and therefore made their way to the GT.
8) Similarly, the GT has the nice wrap-around dash that was introduced in the Sovran.

This is a true GT folks. Your chances of spotting Bigfoot are better.

Are all of the changes good?? Well that's always in the eye of the beholder.

I like the canopy and dash, and I think the headlights and hood are a worthy variation. I'm very neutral on the enclosed wheel wells. They're fine. The butt looks...long. But some people like long butts.
 

farfegnubbin

Site Owner
Staff member
Minor correction: I just re-watched the video and realized that this builder had chosen to use a smooth hood. Ironically, this GT didn't utilize the "GT hood" that first showed up on the Sovran.
 

farfegnubbin

Site Owner
Staff member
Great question. Somewhere out there there has gotta be a person who knows the answer, but I've never even heard a breath of speculation about the fate of the GT molds. Interestingly, I have a photo in my archive from many years ago that was part of only a small handful of photos we have of the GT. In it there appears to be a mold, presumably for the GT, perched on top of a shipping container. Was that just being stored in a shipping container? Was it going somewhere? Was that just coincidental? Nobody knows. (I don't think it was shipped anywhere.)

The reality regarding storing molds for an entire car is that they take up a whole lot of space. If stored correctly (so that they aren't just in a big pile that might distort some of them), the number of molds that are necessary to fabricate a whole car take up about as much space as 2 to 3 cars. That's fine if they are being used. But if they aren't, they can end up seeming like just junk that's in the way.

We've heard many stories over the years, after production slowed for a given variant, where molds were stored for a while until they became a nuisance at which point they were just scrapped. We are almost totally sure that molds for the original Cimbria, Cimbria SS, Sovran, Nieria, Gen I Sebring and probably most other variants have been destroyed. The Eureka molds apparently have survived, and the guys in Australia are still pulling a few replacement parts as needed. The Nova molds went to a businessman decades ago who wanted to make a supercar from them...and were never seen again (unless there is new info on those.)

The molds for the Sebring II still existed as of a few years ago and were/are owned by a nice businessman up in New England. At that time they were being dormantly stored in an old tractor trailer trailer on his property. (I just wish he had the molds for the Sebring II windshield.)

I have the molds for the Sterling Classic.

For the Sterling GT, I feel like, if the molds for the GT were still in existence, we'd know about them. Sadly, my guess is they were destroyed many years ago because somebody simply got tired of tripping over them.
 

farfegnubbin

Site Owner
Staff member
An interesting person to talk to would be Mike McBride who owned the same molds that I have and produced parts as Solid Sterling in (I think) the 1990s. I forget the exact years. Anyway, I don't think I ever heard who owned the molds immediately before he did. I've always wondered who that entity was and why they had molds for the Classic but not the GT which presumably would have been the "hot, new, current model." There were also molds for the solid-top original canopy and maybe even a "factory" T-top. Where did they end up? (I suspect both were destroyed a very long time ago.)

Personally I'm glad that it was the molds for the Classic that survived. But what did happen to the GT?

(I've now totally looped back around to your original questions. Ha.)
 

farfegnubbin

Site Owner
Staff member
I'm home from work and I found those photos. With fresh eyes I noticed that the Shipping container says "rent me," so that kind of answers that; it apparently was being stored at that time, not shipped. The body looks like a totally uncut, freshly pulled body. And the only mold piece that can be seen is still attached to the rear of the car.

Makes me so very curious about the rest of that story.

Those photos have been in my archive for probably about 20+ years so they are at LEAST that old.
Sterling GT raw body -- mcopy.jpg
Sterling GT raw body 2 -- mcopy.jpg
Sterling GT mould -- mcopy.jpg
Sterling GT mould 2 -- mcopy.jpg
 

farfegnubbin

Site Owner
Staff member
Sterling GT mould close-up.jpg


Okay...forgive me for going full-out CSI on this but I zoomed way in on one of the photos and have two more observations:
1) Part of the mold that makes the flange of the wheel well is there, held on by one bolt, but it appears to be broken. That wouldn't be from normal work flow. That's a little weird.
2) There is a considerable amount of dirt on the underside of the body. So although this was a "fresh new body," it apparently sat upside down in that mold for some time.

What does this tell us?

Well...nothing. But doesn't it SEEM like we know more now? :)
 

Magura

Member
The broken mold part is understandable.
He forgot one bolt, and broke it when demolding. Been there, done that.
That's hardly enough to scrap the entire mold though.
 

letterman7

Honorary Admin
That GT is owned by a fellow in Las Vegas currently. I don't think he's on the forum, but he's very active on the West Coast Sterling page of Facebook. I had the opportunity to purchase that when it was for sale, couldn't swing the payment. It has a Buick V6 in it if memory serves...
 
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