Some of the car magazines of the day featured the building of a Siva - Hot Car and Custom Car to name but two.


My Siva Story

Blind Faith

As a lad, I built a Siva - a four seater in 1970 and have owned it ever since.  The car is now irretrievably part of the family and regularly travels all over the UK and even to France in the summer.  

I collected my kit from the Siva factory near Blandford in the back of a 109inch Landrover.  I don't recall any great difficulty building the car (I was 19 at the time) - a bit of repair work to the chassis of the old Ford was about it. The instructions were on a couple of sheets of foolscap paper with a sketch or two to show the dimensions.  There were no build videos in those days.  As I lived and worked on the family farm at the time, I was able to find many "agricultural parts" for the car.  Just to be awkward and realising that the removal of the old Ford body would make the car under-geared, a taller final drive was fitted from a Ford 100E (yes, the differential will fit and gives a 4.5:1 ratio instead of the 5.5:1 on the Ford Popular).  This certainly did the trick but was probably a bit advanced for my abilities at this tender age due to the fact that the torque-tube had to be replaced with a prop shaft and then there were the associated problems of supporting the rear axle.....  Still the axle is still in the car 45 years later and has never given any trouble - blind faith!  Also the engine that came with the donor was only 8 horsepower and 900cc which made the car very economical but also very slow.  The chassis had the usual rusty areas where the wings ended (and the mud collected) and these areas were reinforced with some steel plate.  I didn't drive far before I realised that a windscreen would help so I bought the Siva wooden frame flat screen and secured with the obligatory leather straps.

Not long after the car was built, an old school friend and I decided that a European tour would be a good idea........  The car was made ready and the hovercraft from Ramsgate booked - what a pity that method of cross-channel ferry has now gone.  I lived in Somerset at the time and had to divert to the Bryanston factory in Dorset on the way to collect the hood - just in case of rain you understand!  My friend lived in Surrey which was sort of on the way to Ramsgate but it was a long trip just for the ferry.  The Siva was as short as a Mini and so we only had to buy the cheapest ticket!  These days I think that they don't go by size anymore so the modern euro barges pay the same as small cars.

The actual customs and loading did cause some raised eyebrows as what looked like an early automobile was not a common sight on the ferry crossings in the early 1970s.  The fact that it was on 25 minutes from shore to shore was most impressive.  We tipped out on a windswept beach near Calais with just a large Portacabin for the Douanes. This was only the second time that I had driven on the Continent - the previous year we had ventured to Vienna in a 1200cc VW Split-Screen van.  It was our plan to drive across rural France to meet up with an acquaintance of my friend in Germany just across the border.  We discovered that the minor roads across France were like Devon lanes and progress was slow.  The Siva behaved itself except for an interlude while waiting for a roadworks barrier to allow us though.  The alarm that I had fitted had lost its earth due to the vibration on those rural roads and went off surprising the workmen and waiting motorists.  The malfunction immobilised the car until I hurriedly disconnected the device.  We were then on our way to cheers from the workmen.


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