Yorkshire Kit Cars (YKC)
I have extended the “Roadster Development Story” in an attempt to follow the progress of the Roadster and its successors. What follows has been pieced together from many sources and I take no responsibility for its total accuracy. You may well know more than me on this subject, so I urge you to get in touch and together we can produce a definitive document.
Thank you in anticipation Dave Cunnington MOC Archivist April 2020
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Yorkshire Kit Cars
Marlin’s Roadster production continued through several factory moves until 1992, when the rights to the Roadster (and it’s 2+2 bigger sister the Berlinetta) were sold to Yorkshire Kit Cars (YKC) so that Paul Moorhouse could concentrate on his future plans with submarines.
Steve Himsworth had started YKC Engineering Ltd with his brother in law Ronnie Pearce in 1985, following the 1983 purchase of an unfinished Triumph based Roadster. This was chassis 1110, and was the start of the collaboration between Marlin and YKC
(Note : we have no knowledge of the registration number, or pictures of this car – can you help?)
In time YKC became the Northern Build Agent for Marlin, and in 1992, at a time when they were building an NG TC V8 for Don Burt, Paul Moorhouse decided to sell the Roadster and Berlinetta rights. Don Burt joined Steve as a partner in YKC, and together they bought the rights from Marlin, so production of the Roadster and Berlinetta kits moved to YKC Engineering in Yorkshire.
Some of the last Marlin built Marina kits were sold under the YKC name, and YKC then produced Roadster kits, using their own kit number sequence which started at 20-1000. Initially the cars were Marina/Ital 1.3/1.7/1.8L engined, but as time went on several different engines (incl. Fiat, Ford, Mitsubishi, and Maestro) started to be utilised in both LWB and SWB variants.
A YKC produced “Marlin” Roadster (D Burt pic) Mitsubishi engine, YKC Roadster (A Hogg pic)
In addition to making the cars and kits, YKC also came up with some innovative ideas, like side screens and a boot rack :
A ”new” Roadster was designed by Steve Himsworth and Clive Gamble, reworking the model with technology from the Ford Sierra, and the car/kits were produced by YKC. Regrettably the original YKC chassis number books are missing so it is not possible to accurately know their total kit production however the last known number is 20-1134 (but does this include that later designs as well?)
Note : Steve still had (in 2019) the last ever uncompleted Roadster chassis, built by Dave Sewell. It does not have a chassis number, so let’s call it 20-1135 ! I wonder if it will ever get built up ?
These pictures of a Sierra based Roadster chassis were gleaned from a well known auction site.
In this YKC promotion picture of their Sierra based Roadster, note the red V8 powered Roadster in the background, in fact it’s a prototype for the Raider, and one of only two ever built.
This one was used in hill climbs by Don Burt, later repainted green, and is still around in private ownership, having had a further rebuild/repaint in 2018.
Look later in the text for details and pictures of the second Raider
Raider 2016 pic Raider 2018 pic
Wikipedia in March 2020 states :
YKC Engineering Limited 1992 – 2000 YKC Sports Cars Limited 2000 – 2008
YKC Engineering Limited was founded on 3 July 1992 in Ackworth, near Pontefract, West Yorkshire. Other sources mention the place Elvington in North Yorkshire. Stephen Himsworth and Pauline Frances Burt were directors from 17 July 1992. They started with the production of automobiles and kits. The brand name was YKC, short for Yorkshire Kit Cars. On 15 December 2000, the company was renamed YKC Sports Cars Limited. Martin John Griffin also became a director on April 18, 2001. Steve’s personal life had taken a disastrous turn and he resigned as Managing Director on April 30, 2001, and Pauline Burt resigned on July 18, 2001. Donald Edward Burt replaced Griffin as director on February 13, 2004. Production ended in 2007. The company was dissolved on 19 February 2008. In total, more than 800 kits were produced.
The Cabrio Marlin Engineering moved on to the Cabrio after the Berlinetta, and the archive has pictures from 1992 of a Cabrio being built by YKC, probably on behalf of a customer. We do not know which car it was, or whether more than just this one were built by them – more info please if you have any !
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As well as updating the Roadster using Sierra suspension and components, and also producing a small number of Berlinettas, YKC added other variants to their line-up :
[ DC note : I hope shortly to produce a document on the Berlinetta]
The Romero completed the YKC range in 1998. Like their Roadster, the technology also came from the Ford Sierra.
After 2006, Aquila Sportscars produced this model .
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The Imola was on offer from 1999 to 2005. Except for small things like the front bumper, which was much closer to the front wheels, it was almost the same as the Romero. This car S452 FWY is sometimes called an Imola, at others it’s noted as a Romero – whatever, they are very very much alike.
[DC note : I can’t tell the difference, it would be good to definitively know which cars are really known as Imolas !]
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The Julietta appeared in the same year, and apart from the wings, the differences from the Imola were small,. YKC built a “Silver Jubilee” edition of the Julietta called the Julietta S which was shown on the ASC stand at the 2006 show.
From 2006 to 2007, Aquila Sportscars continued Julietta production under its own brand name.
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The Mille Miglia was also visually similar to the Julietta, but had two small aeroscreens.
A semi-monocoque body was needed for this model to replace the strength previously provided by the windscreen frame. The car was built between 1999 and 2004.
This model was subsequently also produced by Aquila Sportscars.
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The Raider (see also notes above) was in the range between 1999 and 2004. It was a sports car for the racetrack that was visually similar to the other models of YKC, but larger. A Rover V8 engine powered the vehicle. Only two copies were produced, this is the second one, with a racing body. It went on to Aquila Sportscars.
Pictures from Kit Cars International magazine May 1998…………………………and October 1998
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The Pace Martin Griffin founded Margin Sports Cars in Harrogate, North Yorkshire in 1999, producing cars and kits. Production ended in 2001 after a total of about four cars were produced.
The only model was the Street Council. Richard Ashby designed the two-seater body and Dave Sewell designed the chassis. The four-cylinder engine came from the Ford Fiesta.
YKC Sports Cars continued production from 2002 to 2004 under its own brand name as the YKC Pace, and this model found about three buyers between 2002 and 2004.
Margin Street Rat pic – ALLCARINDEX YKC Pace pic – Madaboutkitcars
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The F27, KR, and Monza
The F 27 Clubman and F 27 MBE models were acquired by YKC Sports Cars in 2002. These are Lotus Seven-style roadsters, powered by various different motorcycle engines. In addition to complete vehicles and kits, the construction plans can also be purchased.
In total, the three manufacturers (Formula 27 Cars, YKC Sports Cars and Image Sports Cars) have produced around 75 vehicles and around 3,000 construction plans since 1991.
F27 pic – Madaboutkitcars F27
Monza – both pics Madaboutkitcars
The Monza was released in 2005 as a successor to the KR Roadster model of Formula 27 Cars and YKC Sports Cars. However, a General Motors V8 engine now powers the vehicles, whereas previously it was either a motorcycle engine or a four-cylinder engine from Ford. Since 1998, about 15 vehicles have been built.
Peter Allen, who founded Image Sports Cars in Northampton on 20 January 2005, took on these cars, and they have been continuing production of the above models since then.
The Monaco TS-10 is an in-house development. The car is similar to a Racing Car of the Formula Junior class of the 1960s, with an open body space for two people next to each other. It is powered by a Honda Fireblade CBR 1000 motorcycle engine, and since 2007, about eight vehicles have been built.
[DC note : I have failed to find any pictures of the TS-10 cars.]
This announcement appeared in Pitstop magazine for June/July 2005 :
Which Kit magazine covered it in May 2005…………………………………
…and then had a five page spread in June 2005 featuring the “Silver Jubilee” Julietta
DC note :
Personally I have no knowledge of this event, nor any information about what, if any, cars were built – if anyone can enlighten me, or provide further information on this part of the YKC story, please get in touch
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A letter from Don Burt was in the Feb 2006 Pitstop magazine and here is an abbreviated copy :
A note to let you know how things are going. Basically, I have retired. The two car ranges have been sold on and I have sold the building. So what happens now?
Aquila Sports Cars Limited have bought the traditional range and will work from a Middlesex Sales Office with a Production Unit in Rainham, Essex. They have purchased the rights to the designs, the jigs for the Roadster, Romero and Julietta together with the moulds for these cars and the moulds for the Berlinetta.
Aquila will continue to support parts for the Roadster, Romero and Julietta, however their support for the Berlinetta will only be for GRP mouldings, replacement hoods and all glass components, windscreens, door glasses and hard top rear windows.
Aquila is owned by Milan Mladenovic and he can be contacted on – – – – – – –
It is with a certain amount of sadness that I retire having been involved within the Kit Industry for over 20 years and with YKC for over 13 years. All of which I have enjoyed, particularly meeting owners and prospective owners who are a lovely bunch of people.
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Don Burt retired in 2006, the business was acquired by Milan Mladenovic and the cars were re-badged as Aquila Sports Cars.
Milan Mladenovic had founded Aquila in Rainham Essex on 10 October 2005, Svetlana Mladenovic also worked for the company. They later moved to Uxbridge, West London.
Aquila continued with the (rebadged) YKC range of kits/cars as above, and they showed the Julietta S (Silver Jubilee) at Stoneleigh in 2006.
Julietta S launch at Stoneleigh Kit Car Show 2006
The second YKC Raider, repainted and now with Aquila.
It is interesting to note advertising literature showing the Julietta S, now called an Aquila
And in August 2008 a Romero is being similarly renamed !
However the business did not prosper, and the company was dissolved on 6 July 2010.
Finally, how many cars were produced ?
Wherever I have looked there have been disparate figures. YKC Roadster chassis numbers run from 20-1000 to 1134, however I think that these were not only the Roadsters but also may have included some Romero/Imola/Julietta/Miglia
YKC I understand manufactured only 4 Berlinetta kits, in addition to their assemblies of Marlin Berlinetta kits for their own customers
Best guess scenario (for YKC and Aquila together) seems to be Romero 80 Imola 20 Julietta 40 Miglia 10 – – but this is only guesswork