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Motor Mouth articles 2010

Mechanic Oliver’s home-made supercar

KIT cars put together by super-capable DIY-ers have never really been my thing, probably because I struggle to cope with anything that a mallet and a six-inch nail won’t fix.

So the achievement by car-mad Oliver Ashley, a senior technical manager for a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Bristol, leaves me overcome with admiration, not to say bewilderment.

Oliver (26) has spent his spare time for the last three-and-a-half years building a 150mph supercar virtually from the ground up – in his garage.

He reckons to have spent £70,000 of his own hard-earned cash on buying a basic chassis and creating the K1 Attack roadster, which is now wowing crowds and fellow enthusiasts at shows across the country.

Oliver’s social life has taken something of a back seat ever since he started the project to build this truly unique automotive masterpiece. The K1 Attack roadster, on which his car is based, is born of a small Slovakian producer and has been on the hardcore enthusiast’s radar since the first cars appeared a few years ago.

Progress to market has been slow, which prompted Oliver to take the self-build route. It started with an approach to Swindon-based mobile entertainment specialists, Clarion, who Oliver suggested might like to showcase their award-winning audio, multimedia and sat-nav equipment in his project.

A basic chassis, some body panels and a variety of components were delivered in a box from the Slovakian factory in 2006. Oliver designed the carbon fibre bodywork, fitted wheels at £2,000 each and added a £4,000 stereo to the bespoke leather cockpit.

Powered by a 250bhp Honda Civic Type-R two-litre engine, the car has a six-speed centrally mounted gearbox, Lamborghini-style ‘scissor’ doors, and awesome performance to match its stunning looks, which include a sumptuous Lamborghini pearl white paint finish.

“I have actually assembled the car four times since starting the project,” he said. “I had an original concept firmly in mind and the design and specification evolved as I went along by building the car, checking the fit of every new component, dis-assembling, making modifications and so on, until I was happy with every element.”

After 4,000 hours of spare-time toil, patience, skill and an obsessive drive for perfection, Oliver’s dream has become stunning reality. His parts list included a host of one-off items which he designed and had made, reflecting his fanatical desire for individuality and quality.

Amidst all the attention, Oliver is frequently asked what he’ll do now the car is finished. “I’ve actually been offered a lot of money to sell it but I plan to enjoy it for a year or so.” And after that? “Well, building a speedboat from scratch could be fun.”

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