Without moment's hesitation I can fully recommend this
exciting little buggy as the most practical and easily
constructible project I've seen for some time.
You can tackle it with confidence, and when you've finished
it you'll have a car that not only will you be very proud
of, but which will provide you with more fun than you've
probably ever had at the wheel of any car.
It takes us back to the days of real honest to goodness
special building, when one's initiative counted for
something, and when the end result reflected the character
and inventiveness of the builder. And like previous special
building, it's based on the well loved, and well tried, E93A
chassis, But rather than the sports carriages that most
early special-builders hoped to make for themselves, this is
an attempt to step back in time to a gentler period when
motoring was really entertaining!
It says volumes for this lovely little car that owing to its
particular design characteristics, one can actually enjoy
driving at 30 mph in a built-up area!
More about the driving later but let's have a look at the
basic E93A you build it from, discuss the kit, and consider
any problems you'll encounter when you tackle the job.
You'll pick up an E93A Popular, Anglia or Prefect for
anything between £10 and £50 depending on its condition. You
may even be lucky enough to get one that's already had the
Bellamy (or other) treatment of a spilt front axle, engine
conversion, and so on.
It's likely that you will have to attend to the king pins.
These are often a bit suspect, and at the same time make
sure that the track-rod ends are good. Brakes may also
require overhaul, as they must be in pristine condition to
act well. They are cable operated, and won't be too hot if
the linings, shoes, or linkages are worn-or if grease seals
are bad so that the linings are saturated.
Tyres may also be something of a problem. They are 17 in,
and as such may not be too easy to get, But remoulds can be
obtained likely as not. Or you may be able to get the 16 in
commercial wheels which will fit the hubs. But then the
"artillery wheel" trims for the kit won't fit.
The engine is relatively simple, and although Ford don't do
factory exchange unit as they used to, there are still
several engine reconditioners (Mascot, Cedar, etc) who
do an inexpensive, reliable job.
If you're buying the basic POP to do the job on, make sure
that 2nd gear is OK. This was a Ford weak point in the
3-speed box, and involves an overhaul. Syncromesh
on several old Fords that I've had were syncromash, but if
you're a dab hand at double de-clutching it won't matter.
I never did like the enclosed torque-tube final drive, as
this was meddlesome when repairs to gearbox or rear axle
were required but it does prevent axle wind-up. Crown-wheels
and pinions are not so bad, but when the engine is highly
tuned I've found that half shafts can prove a little weak
for the job.
The big drawback so far as the E93A is concerned is the
6-volt system. Although you can keep it (it's worked for
years let's face it), I advise chucking it and going 12
volt. This involves fitting a 12 volt dynamo and voltage
control unit, also bulbs and coil, etc. but you can leave
the 6-volt starter which happily copes with 12 volts. Result
is much easier starting at all times - never a good point on
With the additional power-to-weight ratio that you'll get
with the Siva conversion to the E93A chassis compared with
the steel bodied car, there is probably no need to
go for extra power, but if you want a hot-type oldster
there's still conversion equipment from such people as
Aquaplane - or even a Shorrock blower. The little side-valve
can produce some very respectable power. You can also fit
the 100E with a bit of fiddling, but we'll not dwell on the
other engine swops you might try (no, I did not mention a
5.3 litre Chevvy conversion!). After all, this is not the
real object of the exercise.
Let's go back to square one, You have an E93A, and you've
stripped off the body - and overhauled the works to your
satisfaction. The chassis is then stripped of paint down to
the metal, and it is then painted with Valspar, Coach
Enamel, or a Polyeurathane Yacht Varnish of the colour you
require. Something that is going to last, and be rust-proof.
You can pinstripe the bits of the chassis which will
eventually stick out from the bodywork.
Now you start on the fixing of the basic panels. For £125
you get the main body section and scuttle, the bonnet, the
seat shell, the four wings-and four spoked wheel
covers (they screw onto the hub caps).
The instruction sheet shows you how to attach these, using
where necessary the brackets provided. The handbrake and a
few other parts need a touch of the welders,
but only the smallest amount.
I'd suggest that if you're intending to paint the
vehicle-you do so before fitting the wings. A coach enamel
will do a good job (with an expensive brush properly used),
and finish with pinstriping as you see in our pix.
The button upholstery is something you'll have to do
yourself - unless you buy it ready-to-fit for £7 10s. There
are other parts you can get such as running boards (rubber
trimmed and alloy edged) at £8 per pair, coach lamps
(electric) at £12 per pair, Cibie headlamps (as per 2CV
Citroen) at £12 per pair - or try dismantlers for something
at far less cost - a screen including the wooden surround
and support, with Triplex glass at £15, hood £20.
It's worth mentioning here that if you're really lazy, or
have £355 to spare, you can get the finished product already
built to order.
And needless to say you won't be paying purchase tax, as
this is not a new car. It retains the original chassis, so
therefore the original licence number. Need we add that this
will involve an annual MOT test, hence our dwelling on the
need for check and repair before assembling the car.
And because this is basically the E93A Popular, insurance
should not be a very expensive or impossible problem for the
young owner like it was with the Opus, and
similar ventures. I imagine that the Alpha insurance people
with whom I am insured would not take unkindly to the Siva,
as it is really a very sane proposition.
So eventually you finish up with a very useful and enjoyable
two-seater vintage type car, which has the benefit of
reasonable performance within the limits of 1172 cc,
and good braking to match. The radiator is open, and if I
were to build one myself, I would make up a vintage-type
surround for the header tank, which looks a bit bare and
So basically that's it, and as you'll probably want to know
more about it, why not write to M, Saunders, Siva
Engineering, 37, Beswick Avenue, Bournemouth - phone:
Bournemouth 57552. If it's a complete car you want, contact
Siva Sales, St Albans Chambers, Weymouth, Dorset.
If you're near at hand, call in at Neville Trickett (Design)
Ltd, Bryanston, Blandford, Dorset. And if you want to buy,
you'll find that cash and carry is the most convenient and
inexpensive way to go about it.
ON THE ROAD
You get an instant feeling of superiority as you climb up
into the driving seat, where you're at least two feet above
other drivers. All round vision is excellent, A small
steering wheel is advisable for easier access.
Commencing the engine, and illuminating the carriage, may
both be done without leaving the driving seat.
And suddenly you're off-with a briskness that is surprising,
But this willing little engine unburdened of its heavy metal
body, positively bursts into action.
Other drivers treat one with a courtesy and deference which
is most refreshing-but they are perhaps a little perplexed
to find you proceeding with considerable verve,
and perhaps out-accelerating some of them.
With the small wheel the steering seems very direct, and one
tends to over-steer at first, so that one must hasten to
avoid negotiating corners before actually reaching
them! One's unaccustomed height from the ground tends to
give one a false impression of instability at first during
brisk cornering. This is soon dispelled as one's familiarity
with the car increases.
Brakes? Another modern innovation on this machine - there is
one on each wheel! They also respond to the lack of weight
by working extremely efficiently.
It's sound, safe, brisk, and businesslike. And it really
does put the fun back in motoring. Try one!
The flathead E93A Ford 10 engine looks the
part and can give a good account of itself when tuned-and
conversion parts are still going.
The old Ford instruments have been retained
and fitted to the plastic dashboard. Wood surround is basis
for the do-it-yourself windscreen.
The true vintage appearance is enhanced by a
wooden box on the rear deck, artillery wheels, round window
and the paintwork pin-striping.
BASIC kit costing £126 stands in the
foreground. Using this and plenty of DIY can provide
excellent results - or for £74 extra you get optional parts
to complete car as seen above.
STRIP the old body off, but cut as shown and
retain this vertical section and flooring to add torsional
stiffness to chassis, which otherwise will prove too
flexible as open car
HACK the back off, complete with fuel tank,
which bolts inside plastic section behind seat. Also retain
the wiring harness In situ throughout car as most can be
used for Siva.
LIGHT weight of Siva means softening
suspension, which is done by keeping main leaf and removing
alternate three leaves. Don't cut front of chassis - fit
panel over the extensions.
BOLT body on to the several points mentioned
in the sheet of instruction. This certainly must be done
well and firmly to add rigidity to chassis. Original G/B
tunnel is used.
FRONT wings at top are held by brackets
(supplied) bolted or welded to original stays. Radiator from
105E attaches to new stays supplied. Brakes and kingpins
should be overhauled.
RUNNING boards are optional extras, or make
your own. The supports are supplied which bolt through
chassis. Lower edge of wings bolt through the front edge of
REAR wings are held with the brackets
supplied, and bolt to the rear of the running boards.
Prefer a 4-seater? Then here is the
alternative, released just as we went to press - so obtain
full details from Siva.