About 600 years ago, at roughly the same time that they were figuring out how to keep The Ark afloat, I built a kit car with my dad.
It was called a Sylva Leader, and it was based mostly around the underpinnings of a Vauxhall Chevette.
The chassis was bespoke, to which various bits of rubbed-down and Hammerited Chevette running gear were then attached. In the nose sat a 2.0-litre Fiat twincam engine that once provided the not inconsiderable source of thrust for a Fiat 125 TC. In the flesh the car looked a bit like a Caterham Seven with enclosed wheels and an unusually low nose.
All in, it weighed less than 500kg, so as you can imagine it really did go like stink when you put your foot down. It had about 140bhp thanks to a pair of juicy carburettors, and for a 19 year old at the time it was probably just a little bit too much.
Anyway, I never did have the accident that everyone else was so convinced that I would eventually have in it. And ever since I’ve had a soft spot for kit cars of pretty much every kind. Which is why our recent day out with the cream of the UK’s booming kit car industry (feature in the magazine next week, plus videos online) was such a special event for me.