How One Enthusiast Built the Ultimate Car Kit for £5750

John Nash kit car 2020 - stationary front

The man behind the metal, John Nash, gives Goodwin a great tour

The miniature car you see here is not a pre-war Italian racer, but a kit car built in a Kent garage. We meet our creator

Looking ahead is pure Fangio. One laminated safety glass is installed in an aluminum frame, through which I can see the narrow hood and wheel wires. My hands are on the four-spoke alloy wood steering wheel and the short shift lever is to the right of my foot. The white-faced instruments sit in an aluminum panel. It's very simple.

Although I am in a single room, there is a lot of space. I could do with the pedals to get a little closer, but unfortunately the seats are not adjustable because this car was made for its owner, not a taxi driver.

I first saw this car last summer at a retro meeting of the Sports Car Club at Brands Hatch, where it was parked in a line of cars outside the shops, outside the Kentagon pub. From afar, I thought it was an Alfa Romeo Alfetta 159 because it looked a lot like an egg crate grille. But as I got closer and saw the license plates and indicators, I don't know what it was. To make her look amazing. Luckily, there was a piece of paper in the front of the car explaining everything. The special turned out to be built by a guy named John Nash: a member of the Kent Automobile Club whose show it was part of.

I missed two races while waiting for the host to come up. Why? First, because I wanted to congratulate him on his incredible skill. I've spent a lifetime looking at kit cars and specs and have never seen a finish as beautiful as this one. Secondly, because I wanted to know what lies under the skin of Fayu special. What about a Jaguar engine? Alpha twin camera? And finally, I would like to know how the hell Nash managed to build such a wonderful looking car for less than six thousand pounds.

He eventually arrived, explained that he built it from scratch in five years and that he was inspired by pre- and post-war Grand Prix cars. And that it really only cost £5750 to build; 7000 man-hours went into this - and almost one marriage.

A few months later, we're reviewing the faye in Nash's garage in Hythe. This is not the first car of its own design. “I built a three-wheeler that looked pretty similar,” he explains, “but very few of my friends said it would look much better with four wheels. At first I thought about changing it, but pretty quickly realized that it would be easier to start from scratch.”

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With a hat, the power plant is revealed, and it's not what I expected. “A member of the club was a pair of Reno 5s and begging, one of which was Gordini Turbo. I managed to buy a pair for $200 and grind them up in my shed, picking up the bits I need.

“Building a rear wheel drive car is complicated by the fact that you need a cardan number, so I figured it would be much easier to just use one of the Gordini engines the way it was installed in Renault: longitudinally mounted with the gearbox in the front. I was able to use all Renault universal joints, levers and torsion springs, plus brakes and hubs.”

Nash fiddled with the turbocharger for a long time. He sits in front of the Renault's engine, but he wanted to position the emitter in such a way that it would achieve the low and narrow body that he wanted: “In the end, I came to the conclusion that having a turbocharger was just asking a lot of trouble, so I stoned and modified high compression engine to regain lost horsepower.”

How Nash was able to build such a great machine on such a small budget is a combination of doing almost everything himself and through a lot of lateral thinking when it came to finding parts. “Some of the critical welds I left to the experts,” he says, “like the rear trailing arms. They are from a Citroen 2CV B, but I needed to cut them because the rear wheels were also nowhere near right. I made all the molds for the fiberglass hull and did the panels, but I got a professional to paint them.”

When I first saw the fayu on brands, I was confident looking at the work of someone with an engineering background, as well as some design experience. “I did engineering training,” ours explains, “but I ended up making technical drawings for that central power generation board and before I left, illustrating manuals for the Dagness Power Plant.” It explains everything. Like beautiful fayu business cards on the garage wall, painted by their creator.

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Driving valuable supercars never bothers me. Disposable concept cars are a little more to worry about because they cost millions and often years of labor. But they are still owned by large companies. Driving fayu is much more disturbing. I'm already insured for £30,000, but that's not money, that's the time it would take Nash to recover if I stuffed him.

Therefore, I must be careful. I'm sitting on the wide seat that was once fitted to the Vauxhall Viva. These white dials came from the Triumph Dolomite (£10); Nash set faces and entered numbers using Letraset. My feet, when they're not resting on the corrugated aluminum floor plate that came from the closet (£5), pedal from the Triumph Spitfire.

Now the supercharged Gordini engine breathes through a pair of Weber DCOE carburetors that ours already owned, but he made the air filters out of foam sheet and wire mesh. You don't want to buy expensive K&N filters when you can make some for a few pounds. The engine sounds great: not loud, just the right balance of noise from induction and exhaust.

How do you criticize the work of such enthusiasts? It's easy when there's not much wine. I'd rather have less travel in the brake pedal and maybe I didn't use power steering, plus there's a bit of slop on the shift lever. Nash has been trying to figure it out, but thinks he's doing as well as he can. This is just a nitpick; The overall dynamics of the car are quite unusual for a home and built car.

The steering is surprisingly direct yet light and since the engine is only around 110bhp, there is no rudder. Best ride: it is very flexible and comfortable. At 580kg, it's quite lively in the fair.

Nash has been to Le Mans and back in his car with no problems. I can only imagine the pride he must feel every time he opens the garage door and sees that the egg crate is grating.


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