NEWSFLASH – STONELEIGH 2020 WILL TAKE PLACE ON SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, MAY 2 & 3 (and NOT the usual Sunday & Monday) – this is due to the big VE Day commemorations planned for the UK.

WELCOME to totalkitcar online

A warm welcome to totalkitcar online……A painful week for me. I managed to break the middle finger of my left hand in a freak accident. Quite funny really, although maybe not at the time. One second all was fine, the next I had a floppy finger and I remember calmly saying ‘should my finger be doing that’?

Wasn’t very painful when it happened but it’s sure made up for it since. Oh, and I can 100 per cent say that alcohol was not involved – on this occasion!

Got to keep this on for eight weeks! Vacuuming can be dangerous!

I am a bit scared of hospitals and once it became inevitable that I had to make a trip to one (aided by a couple of people saying ‘you need to get that looked at – NOW’ my fear and – curiously – pain began to set in. I was looked after really well by the good folk at the Minor Injuries Unit in Uckfield, so THANK YOU, to them.

Bottom line is I have to wear a splint thingy for about eight weeks having made a really good job of also tearing the ligament from my top knuckle. The moral of this story is to take good care when vacuuming your car!

’Hellephant’ in the room!I’ve always loved a V8 engine. Particularly a big American V8. Ever since I was a little kid I’ve been smitten by American Muscle Cars and I’d like to think my anorak fact quotient was right up there with most experts on the subject.

Gulp! 1000bhp out of the crate! I WANT one

Ooooh I badly want one of these Hellcats too. I bet Ice Cube will be driving one in NCIS Los Angeles soon…

That’s why when Chrysler launched the Hellcat, complete with its 700+bhp I was very enthused. Imagine my delight when I heard that Chrysler’s Mopar division was creating a proper monster of a V8, one that evoked memories of the legendary ‘Elephant’ motor while tipping its hat to the current day Hellcat.

Time then to meet the ‘Hellephant’ V8. A 426ci (7-litre) crate engine that packs 1000bhp and 950 lb/ft of torque. There was I thinking that the GM LS9 or LT5 was the ultimate…

I’ve only ever seen one UK Cobra replica powered by a Chrysler V8. A brute of a DAX Tojeiro that yelled grunt with every prod of the accelerator. Crikey, there wasn’t much space in the engine bay though, I remember.

I wonder if that may change with the announcement of the Hellephant. Sure, it’s pricey at $30,000 (about £24,000) plus you’ll need a beefy enough gearbox to cope with the massive levels of twist but imagine one of these in YOUR Cobra replica …

Please let me know if you decide to fit one…that task should be easier too, as Mopar is also including a fitting kit that they claim makes the engine ‘plug and play’ for hot rod and kit car builders. Yummy…


Our TKC MAG ‘SPECIAL OPS’ KITCAR GUIDE is available via mail order NOW and from our stand at Stoneleigh this weekend, while it’s officially published on all digital platforms and exclusively via WH SMITH High Street stores on May 24.

Back in 2003, we published the totalkitcar Almanac so this is a ‘sixteen years later’ Mk2 version, I guess. In a nutshell, it’s a round-up of every kitcar you can currently buy in the UK all listed in categories. You can buy a copy HERE (UK), EUROPEAN CUSTOMERS HERE or alternatively, if you live anywhere else in the world (such as Australia, North America and Japan etc) CLICK HERE.

TKC MAG MAY/JUNE 2019 is out NOW.

OUT NOW – MAIL ORDER, all digital platforms and good newsagents (and bad ones, too, no doubt).

We’ve got plenty of good stuff again this issue, dear reader and here’s just a sample …

Hawk Stratos We visited Hawk Cars for a look at their new Alitalia-liveried Stratos replica, plus we talk to one of their owner’s.
Quantum Xtreme Returns Good to see the Quantum Xtreme return to production, now under the control of Rob Hancock. It remains one of the finest Lotus Seven-inspired sportcars around.
Westfield Eleven There’s something very elegant and graceful about a Lotus Eleven and Westfield’s replica is quite sublime.
MEV Exocet Mk3 Rob Hawkins visited Mill Extreme Vehicles for a look at the new version of their top-selling MX-5-based Exocet model.
INDUSTRY GREATS – TIGER RACING Celebrating thirty years making great kitcars this year is Tiger Racing, still under the control of the founding Dudley family. We trace the company’s history.
It’s all in the Detail More tips and tricks from Nigel Dean this issue and thanks for telling us you’re enjoying his excellent tech tips. ONLY in TKC MAG!
Marlin Sportster Diesel You don’t have to stick a diesel in your Marlin Sportster but as Steve Hole discovered a BMW V6 oil burner provides bonkers performance.
  The MX-5-based Enigma is a superb kit. Here’s the V8 version.
From the Archives Some more cars of interest from the TKC Mag/totalkitcar archive.
‘Sportscars’ Round-Up Our guide part-work reaches the world of the sportscar, always a popular kitcar category.
Introducing – Cable-Tec We’ve sent Rob Hawkins to do a feature on this leading control cable company but here’s a little taster to be going on with …
We Think You’ll Like – O’Rourke Leather Care A new range of leather care products from one of the UK’s leading classic car trimming companies.
Introducing – Classic Cobra Interiors Talking of quality trimmers, here’s another one!

FIND US IN GOOD NEWSAGENTS (and bad ones too, no doubt!) OR ORDER YOUR COPY VIA MAIL ORDER NOW…UK CUSTOMERS HERE or MAINLAND EUROPE HERE or REST OF THE WORLD, HERE (this includes Australia, New Zealand, Japan and North America).


The RR was developed ion 2002 by Peter Bennett at Essex-based MDV Specialist Engineering. It was commissioned by a local farmer who wanted a lightweight recreational vehicle in which to have fun on his land. It weighed in at just 500kg and had a Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom engine, which meant it went rather well.

The RR was then offered commercially and a batch of six was ordered by a corporate entertainment company in Bahrain and a further one by a customer in Scotland. The idea was to offer it in kit form but pressures of their main work, preparing, restoring and generally, problem-solving various automotive-related projects saw it put on the back burner after a total of eight had been built. Peter still has the jigs and moulds.

SNIPPETS 1…….Very sad to hear of the death last Saturday of legendary Jaguar test driver, Norman Dewis, OBE, just a couple of months short of his 100th birthday.

Another of the good guys gone. RIP Norman

Described by many as the world’s greatest ever test driver, Norman was a proper gentleman and was always happy to field my questions on his days at Jaguar, even though he’d probably been asked the same questions a million times.

The day I asked him about the quality of the food in the Browns Lane canteen made him smile and caught him unawares though! RIP Norman and our sincere condolences go to Norman’s many friends and family.

SNIPPETS 2 …….. A reputation for pushy sales tactics and negative online reviews are the top reasons why drivers would be deterred from visiting or buying from a used car dealer, analysis by AA Cars, the AA’s used car website, has found.

We’re delighted to support this great charity at TKC Mag/totalkitcar – get it checked out boys.

A reputation for pushy sales tactics would dissuade almost a fifth (19 per cent) of motorists, while 18 per cent of car buyers see negative online reviews of a dealer as a turn-off. Online reviews are especially decisive among younger drivers, with 37 per cent of those aged 18-24 saying they would avoid a dealer if they read about other motorists’ bad experiences on the internet first.

The AA-Populus poll of 17,230 drivers found that other factors which would put motorists off buying are a dealer who is reluctant to allow a reasonable test drive (12 per cent), stock that does not look as though it has been cleaned or moved for a long time (12 per cent) and a dealer’s lack of familiarity with the cars for sale (11 per cent).

Online portals are playing a greater role in used car sales as they are creating more transparency in the marketplace and are making it easier for motorists to buy with confidence. Half (49 per cent) of drivers said their car-buying process consists of searching online first, and then only visiting dealers who have a specific car for sale.

The poll found that nearly three in 10 (28 per cent) motorists would first form an idea of what type or size of car they were looking for, before visiting only one or two dealers to see what they have to offer.

Surprisingly, the range of stock available at a particular dealership doesn’t seem to carry much weight as only 4 per cent of buyers said a limited range of stock would be off-putting.

James Fairclough, CEO of AA Cars commented: “When it comes to buying a used car, trust in the dealer is critical, which is why buyers place great emphasis on a dealer’s reputation and online reviews when choosing where to buy from.

“Motorists want to know that they will receive a high-quality service before they even arrive at the forecourt, and they do not want to feel pressured into a sale once they get there.

“Services like AA Cars provide consumers with reassurance about the experience they can expect when they reach the forecourt. All dealers listed on AA Cars are signed up to our ‘ten-point Dealer Promise’ scheme, which aims to develop new levels of trust between buyers and dealers. Included in the Promise, dealers commit to allowing a test drive of any of their vehicles, get 12-months breakdown cover and AA Cars will help you should any issues arise. 

“Buyers also enjoy important protection under the Consumer Rights Act of 2015, which gives them a ‘right to return’ a car if it develops a fault in the first thirty days of ownership – or to ask for a repair in the first six months after it was bought.

“However, we encourage buyers to consider having their chosen vehicle independently inspected first, before they buy, so that they can drive away safe in the knowledge that they are buying a reliable and safe car.”

SNIPPETS 3………The British Motor Museum has revealed a number of exciting new developments regarding the ‘National Metro & Mini Show’, which is being staged as part of its ‘Mini 60th’ celebrations.

Peter James Insurance has been at the forefront of the specialist vehicle insurance industry for nearly forty years and will be supporting the show, which takes place on Sunday, August 4.

They offer a comprehensive range of tailored products and exclusive schemes at competitive premiums (indeed they’ve been totalkitcar and TKC Mag’s insurer for many years – Ed).

Adding to the festival feel ‘The Fab Beatles’, will be performing a live tribute act throughout the day.

The day before the show, owners of Classic Minis also have the opportunity to take part in the Classic Mini Mosaic World Record Attempt. Show organisers are looking for over 600 classic Minis and variants to spell out the phrase ‘Mini 60’.

Filming will be taken from the air providing evidence which will then be submitted in pursuit of a new Guinness World Record. Those camping on Saturday night can also enjoy evening entertainment from The Barn-Ettes. The trio of female singers will perform live 60s & 70s covers.

Tom Caren, shows manager at the British Motor Museum said: “Our exciting plans for this year’s National Metro & Mini show are really shaping up. We have some great entertainment laid on for our visitors as well as the chance to see hundreds of both iconic marques including ‘621 AOK’, the very first Mini produced, ‘X411 JOP’ the last ever Classic Mini to be produced, and the last Rover 100 ever produced”. 

The cost for entering a Metro, Mini or MINI online is just £7.  

For more information visit and for more information on Peter James Insurance please visit


Thanks for letting me know that you’ve been enjoying these fun, little album tips. They are intended to bring you some great music – often, admittedly, of a ‘crunchy’ guitar blues-rock variety – including some stuff that you may not have heard before, or even forgotten about, while also being easy to find on Apple Music or Android equivalent.

I like London band Screaming Eagles and their live album ‘Live at Bonfest’ is highly recommended. Plenty of crunchy guitars and among the original tracks are a couple of great covers ‘Roadhouse Blues’ ‘Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be’. Well worth a listen.


We’ve been receiving some very positive feedback over this fun weekly beer-orientated item. It’s our real ale recommendation as with over 1750 micro-breweries producing over 7500 beers, in the UK, you won’t struggle to find a local artisan, with some of them truly tiny.

Fact is cask ale drinkers are spoilt for choice. Let us also point out that obviously, we definitely DON’T condone drink/driving rather than enjoying a pint in moderation during your leisure time.

Micro-breweries fascinate me. I guess it’s all to do with loving the product, but it’s great to see small breweries doing well.

A quick trip to central London by train gave me the chance to end up at one of the many old alehouses down near the Thames Embankment last week – before I broke a finger on my left hand – and I discovered the joys of Southwark Brewing Co’s Routemaster Red, a lovely ruby-coloured ale of 4.2% ABV with a subtle hoppy flavour with definite hints of peach and passion-fruit. I enjoyed my train journey home, greatly. More from

OK, I think that’s about it from me this week, so, until next Friday(June 21), I’ll leave you to enjoy the site, pausing just to wish you a great seven days. Enjoy your driving but please take care out on the roads.

Best regards