PH CARPOOL: HAWK STRATOS
It's the building and not the driving that does it for this PHer
Car: Hawk HF3000 Stratos Replica
Owned since: Started building in 2006. Completed the build in 2010
Previously owned: Porsche Carrera S 993, Subaru Impreza, Boxster S, Toyota Prius (!!!)
I had always wanted to build a kit car and the opportunity arose when I moved and the new house happened to have a double garage. I'd looked at various kits, but had always wanted to own a Stratos. Also the Stratos kit is not a simple 'bolt-it-together' operation and I thought I would like to test my engineering skills.
At the time there were only two manufacturers of a Stratos kit and, after some light research, I plumped for the Hawk. It was a pretty simple choice actually and, after a few conversations with (Hawk boss) Gerry Hawkridge, a deposit was paid and I waited for my kit to show up.
I then spent the next few months gathering 1970s Fiat and Lancia parts. This is an interesting exercise, because they are as rare as rocking horse doings (and no doubt getting rarer by the minute). I also took possession of my Alfa 164 donor car, a red 1989 3.0 V6 12 valve. I wanted to do everything just right, too, so I had the Alfa's engine completely overhauled. That was £2,500 I wasn't expecting to spend, but I couldn't stand the thought of a completed build with a rattling, smoking lump.
The biggest decision was what colour to paint the car... I was going to do single-colour lime green. It looks good in this, but the car needs something a bit special. There are already loads in the Alitalia livery, so I steered clear of that and decided to go for the Marlboro colours. The paint job is stunning (even though I do say so myself). All the decals are under a lacquer coating and the attention to detail is second to none. The work was overseen by Talon Sportscars, who also nursed the car through the IVA test process.
What I wish I'd known:
Building a car is a labour of love and, in some respects, I wish I had built a simple kit first, before building the Hawk. The Hawk build is fairly complex and a previous experience would have improved the finished article. I made plenty of mistakes along the way, but none serious and I am now an expert with fibre glass and filler. I did though after riding in a few other kits spend a long time designing 'anti-squeak' options and car has a fairly low 'squeak' rating. The end result is I think stunning. The car is a real headturner, it is so unique and the styling seems never to go out of date.
Apart from the satisfaction of having a car you built yourself, the performance is pretty good. The V6 is stock and chucks out about 200bhp, but the car weighs a little over 725kg, so there is plenty of zip. Brakes are a little spongy, but you get used to them.
The brakes are new discs all round with refurbished Alfa 164 calipers, which are used to stopping a car nearly twice the weight so no problems there either. The huge wheels are shod with Michelin TB15s. These are a soft compound and gives loads of grip, but the small diameter steering wheel needs a good tug at slow speeds. All-in-all a fun car to drive.
Things I hate:
I completely forgot how small the cabin is - it's not for the fuller-figured gentleman. I have a few inches left behind the driver's seat, but if you are taller than six foot, it will be a very tight squeeze.
I never kept a tally of how much it cost to build, but a decent estimate is £35K. Which is not bad considering that I bought brand new parts where possible, the wheels and tyres cost £4K and the paintwork was £5K on its own!!
Where I've been:
Er... nowhere really. Went to the Silverstone Classic last year and pitched up at a Sunday Service earlier in the year, but other than that not too far.
After completing the car I realized how much I enjoy the build process. In fact, the Hawk has only done 1000 miles in the year or so since I have had it! I would really like to build another in the not-too-distant future. Sticking with the Italian theme, a nice 250GTO kit would be perfect....
So if anyone wants to buy a Hawk Stratos replica...
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