New to MK indy ownership


Well I am totally new to this kit car stuff and after being a bit sceptical over the years I have finally become the owner of a Kawasaki ZX9R powered MK Indy. Affectionately known now as KWINDY.

But before I go on to sing the praises of this little car a bit about me and my past experiences and passion for cars.

I’m 51-year-old Project engineer with a passion for cars over the years I have had American Muscle cars, Rover SD1 V8’s including one with a full race engine in, that was scary and not in a good way!

Various Fords have come and go over the years and lots of other personal and company cars have come and gone.

About 20 years ago after a good friend of mine bought a Nissan Skyline R33 GTR it got me thinking about Japanese cars due to the potential tuning possibilities of these cars I bought myself a Toyota Supra mk4 non turbo and at the time I couldn’t really afford the Twin Turbo as they were still fetching big money I thought the non turbo supra would tick the boxes for me, don’t get me wrong it was still 3 litre quick with about 230bhp now whilst it looked great and sounded great (loud) after enjoying a few track days in the car and about 3 years of ownership I decided I needed something faster especially as when doing track days I was getting beaten by these little lotus 7 lookalike kit car things, As I loved the styling of the Supra I ended up importing another Supra direct from Japan via a friend / importer this time is was a stunning Aero top Twin Turbo, 320+ bhp with a good spec, first week of ownership saw it having its first outing at Snetterton, 3 laps of the old track layout and the brakes were on fire……really they were actually on fire, so upgrades were required.

I upgraded the brakes and carried out BPU (BASIC POWER UPGRADE) which took the car up to 400bhp.

Whilst the car was very quick in a straight line I was still suffering round the twisty bits and yet again those annoying little kit cars were still giving me hassle on track. Pesky little lotus 7 things.

After 3 years of owning the TT supra I started looking for something a bit more track focussed and something a bit different and after again speaking to my importer friend a deal was struck and I became a Wankel and went rotary, a Mazda FD RX7 direct import from Japan low mileage Bathurst edition great spec too.

This was a special little car and for those who have never driven or owned a RX7 or driven a rotary engine car then you don’t know what you missing and it’s a myth about reliability as long as you look after it……Now as you might have gathered I like my track days…..all my cars have seen track action all over the country and this RX7 was the first car that really did hold its own out on track, my friend I mentioned earlier with the Nissan GTR which was now running 650bhp at the wheels would struggle to keep up round some circuits on the straights he would have the power to pass but in the corners I was all over him, awesome fun, however these little lotus 7 lookalikes were still a needle in my side whilst I was quicker in most areas it was astonishing how fast these things were around a whole lap…….

I got chatting to a guy at Snetterton who had a bike engine lotus 7 lookalike can’t remember exactly what it was but he kindly offered to take me out for a ride in the car, well my arse grew hands, this thing assaulted all my senses, corner speed was faster than anything I had ever experienced, this thing changed direction like a house fly I actually felt sick after the session.

So it did get me thinking about the whole power to weight ratio argument again, I was made a really good offer for the Bathurst RX 7 so I sold it but couldn’t find anything that really floated my boat in the kit car market at that time, so I went a bit left field and bought a Toyota Soarer.

It was a twin turbo car with a manual gearbox, LSD, coil overs when I bought it, I had big plans for the car and spent the next few years building in into a very good looking and capable fast road and capable track car, with 350 – 360bhp on tap however the weight of the car was always an issue but with money being spent on big brakes coil overs and uprated suspension and getting it to handle it would really hustle a lot of more expensive stuff on track.

I could regularly push M3’s along however the pesky little lotus 7 things were still bugging me I would lose them on the straights but in the corners they were all over me.

One night after a bottle of red wine I was casually surfing the car ads on the internet I stumbled across another RX7 stunning single turbo car great spec 400bhp I couldn’t resist it and the story started all over again upgrade after upgrade changing the styling, I had a proper weapon of a car, it was a fast, loud and flame spitting! I used to regularly get people pull alongside me and tell me my car was on fire J I finally had a car which ticked all the boxes for me, the bonus was the wife hated it Dirty, smelly and noisy she said I think she was talking about the car ? so I could go and play all on my own and scare myself to bits.

Then the issues with the car started an intermittent misfire and some other issues after trying to resolve the issues myself I conceded defeat and decided to take the car to Cheshire to a Rotary specialist to sort it out it was away for 6 months and to be honest whilst it was away I didn’t miss the car so I had already decided at that point that when I got it back I would be putting it up for sale which is what I did, so after numerous track days and 4.5 years of ownership and modifying it I finally decided I needed to scratch this kit car itch.

I had been looking around on various websites for a track type car or a Lotus 7 styled kit car, and I found my little KWINDY advertised on the MK Sportscars ""Cars For Sale"" website all the way up in Arbroath, after a good long chat with the current owner a holding deposit was paid and a date agreed to go and view and potentially purchase the car.

It all sounded good and the car had a reasonable spec but more importantly it was a very good price so I hired a trailer, so a good friend and myself set off on a long wet journey from Norfolk to Scotland.

An overnight stay 10 miles from where the car was located, I just hoped after this long drive the car was what I wanted, the following morning I woke up and it was pissing down with rain L Awesome perfect weather for testing an open topped kit car !

Arrived at the owner’s house and wondered down to his workshop the doors were opened and there it was!

Looked great so had a good look round and generally all looked ok some good details had been added during its build and some thought gone into various aspects of the car.

I was actually really pleased at how well the car had been designed and put together it looked like someone had actually thought about it properly

There were however a few areas I know I was going to have to improve.

We started the car up all sounded good, all be it loud as it had an R1 race can on it for exhaust I went and got all my wet weather gear on and crash helmet to take it for a test drive, wet roads pouring rain, unfamiliar surroundings, unfamiliar car not an ideal recipe.

Pulled out onto the main road stall! Started again stall! Very light clutch! Started again and gave it some beans! Holy crap it went off down the road like a scolded cat, the noise was intoxicating the whole thing was just mad…both my friend and I were laughing like school kids what a little weapon.

My friend who had come along for the trip owns an Ariel Atom and he was impressed.

After about 30 minutes of driving in the pouring rain my mind was made up I went back to the owner’s house and a deal was struck, car loaded up and travelled home, sadly I didn’t have anything to cover the car up with and the weather was awful, the car ended up getting battered and full of water.

The next few days at home were spent getting it dried out and tweaking a few bits and bobs.

I lost a front mudguard somewhere on the A1 so if anyone finds a blue one with Kawasaki stickers on it can I have it back?

So after a week or two getting acquainted with the car I booked in for an evening session at Snetterton It had been a while since I had felt this excited about a new car on a track day and had my hopes dashed at noise testing….

Limit 105db I was at 109db the annoying thing is on a bike track day they only rev the bikes to about half throttle but on cars its 3 quarters throttle I did try and argue it was a bike engine but nah he wasn’t having any of it, although to be fair to him he said he would put it down at 106 and said do the sighting laps and see if you get away with it.

I did sighting laps but I just knew it was way too loud so shot off to the Pit stop garage at the entrance to Snetterton and the chap there was really helpful we cut open the can packed it full of sound deadening welded it up again, it wasn’t pretty but it was 102db

So 40 minutes left of track time I had one of my sons with me now he’s a big lad and it was cosy in there but we went out and put some laps in, even with the 2 of us in the car this thing was flying and we passed most cars once and some twice in 20 minutes.

I chucked him out for the last 20 minutes I wanted to see what it was like with just me in it, I was impressed! Very Impressed actually and I was nowhere near the limits of what I thought the car was capable of, I was braking far too early and also trying to re-educate myself and get used to drive with a sequential gearbox but all in all I was really impressed.

So back home I needed to tidy a few bits up including the exhaust so bought some exhaust wrap and re wrapped the headers and round the re packed silencer, job sorted!

Various other jobs were carried out just cosmetic mainly, 4-wheel alignment was dome and a general spanner check to ensure everything was tight.

Another track day was booked this time all day at Cadwell Park, now having spent my last outing there in my fiends Atom I was expecting great things.

So Noise testing completed, briefing completed, car checked over and sighting laps completed we were ready to go. Now my personal preference is “Do not go out in the first session” let the over exuberant people have their spins and crashes and go for a cuppa and true to expectations this is what happened red flag within 10 minutes MX5 in the Armco.

So when the time to go out came my son was driving the Indy with my friend riding shotgun I was driving the Atom, they got out of the pit lane first and I got caught behind 7 or 8 cars before I could get out so got my foot down within a couple of laps they were in sight and I was closing them down, tucked up behind them I was given the signal to pass which I did I started pulling out a gap on them but decided I wanted to play properly so backed off for them to catch up as they went past it was obvious straight away that all was not well with Kwindy, it was so loud ! As I tucked in behind I could see the exhaust wrap blowing in the wind I thought they had had an off and knocked the silencer off, it was worse than that! I followed them back into the pits and parked up as they pulled up I went to examine the reason and found that the exhaust silencer had actually blown its self apart there was a massive hole it had peeled itself open, my friend did say that would explain why his arm was hot.

Undeterred got onto the internet and found a place in Louth that could help so kwindy back on the trailer and off to Louth we went.

2.5 hours later and £250 lighter a new stainless steel silencer fabricated and fitted and only 86db what a result.

Back to Cadwell just before lunch! So this is where more problems started went out on track and within 1.5 laps car was really down on power and then just cutting out running rough so back to the pits I went.

Pulled all the plugs they looked fine a couple of the coil packs had hairline cracks in them might have been causing it to misfire but not convinced as they looked like they had been there a while.

Checked fuel yep it was getting fuel but seemed very low pressure…..had another run after lunch but just wasn’t playing ball, pretty frustrating now as it was just reminding me of why I sold my second RX7!  niggling issues. L

Anyway the rest of the day was spent playing in the Atom so not all lost.

Cars packed up and off home.

So I following day I sourced some replacement coil packs and wiring harness and also a new set of plugs for good measure and had a chat with the guys at MK sports cars who informed me that it was a low pressure fuel system on the car so that was one less worry, they did however inform me that bike engine cars were very susceptible to the slightest changes in exhaust or airflow and could cause rough running. I was not aware of this especially on a carburettor set up.

Ok so time to find someone local who knows how to set bike carbs up in a kit car! I was put in touch with AB Performance near Stowmarket although hard to get hold of initially I had a good long chat with Andy Bates who gave me a few options to try, one of which was restrict the air flow into the carbs as the car was breathing better through the exhaust this made sense it was a crude way of making the mixture richer and also check the fuel lines and filter as the slightest flow restriction can cause issues.

Both of which I did and I actually found quite a lot of crap in the fuel filter which was cleaned out I started the car and it sounded fine so I took it for a run and everything seemed good it pulled well and I was just pleased the car was running properly again, however as a belt and braces approach I asked AB performance if they would get it in and set the carbs up properly for me as I wanted to be sure it was safe and reliable.

The car was duly dropped off and as soon as I started the car Andy immediately found various problems air leaks, and with the odd tweak here and there it was agreed to leave it with them to strip and clean the fuel system and set it up.

3 weeks later I got the call I was waiting for “your cars ready and it’s all good “So a nice cold bright Sunday morning off I went to pick the car up with my son, Glad you’re driving back my son said, I played it down but in reality I couldn’t wait.

When all the chat about what had been done was sorted and money changed hands I was ready lots of warm layers, crash helmet and gloves and we were off.

As I went off I could immediately feel the difference the car was smoother and quieter and the throttle response was awesome it was flying I can’t lie I did whoop whoop a few times on the journey home I was giggling like a school boy with the car running properly and with the flat shifter working as it should this thing was ballistic.

Now as you will have seen above I have had a few powerful cars but this thing was just alive assaulting all my senses, this is one hell of a fast little car, it corners like a housefly, its cheap and relatively easy to fix, but most of all it puts a huge smile on my face I love it.

So after all these years just wondering what these cars are like? I now own one and love it I just wish I hadn’t taken so long to buy one. I also know they are frustrating little things but by god they are also bloody good fun and I can’t wait to get some serious use out of the car next year, she is currently tucked up in the garage and will have some more upgrades and bits fettled over the winter but on the odd dry sunny day she will get taken out for a good run.

This is the first time in ages that I can say I have got the right car for the right job….ok so who need a roof ? the adrenalin keeps you warm !

I can’t wait to experience some of the bigger engine options too as they must be mega fun…

So all I can say is to anyone thinking about and MK Indy try it you might like it!

Big thanks to MK Sport cars for sound advice and support I look forward to meeting you all in person.

Roll on 2018.

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