On my way to lunch on Tuesday, I spotted a bright turquoise-colored rear fender peeking out from a parking space. Could it be a Morgan 4/4, here on the streets of Florida? I got a little closer and found myself face to face with what looked like a baby Lotus 7 from the front and a Morgan from the back, but what about that windshield? That looked very familiar somehow. The back end said “Arkley SS” with SS lettering that looked like it may have been taken from a late model SS trim Chevrolet.
This was something a little more obscure than either the Seven or MG. The Arkley SS was a kit car from the late ‘60s, built by British club racer John Britten (not the motorcycle designer). The production numbers online range from around 900-1000 kits. The number on the road today is unknown. Apparently they were mostly built off of rusted or wrecked Austin-Healey Sprites and MG Midgets (from which I recognized the windshield shape).
From the looks of it, this one has had some customizations added by the owner, replacing the MG in what appears to have formerly been an MG emblem with an “A” now in the center, the Chevrolet SS badges, and a neat little DTM-style tail pipe finisher. But overall it’s pretty tasteful. These kit cars were originally given the rather unremarkable slogan of being the “Typical English Sports Car” but the small size, turquoise color, and white walls really make this one stand out from today’s run of the mill road cars.
According to some old brochure scans I found at The Old Car Manual Project, you would cut the original front and rear fenders, hood, and trunk lid off and replace them with the Speed Buggy-esque face that you see above (while not a Meyers Manx, like Speed Buggy, I think there is a similar “smile” quality to the front end). The end result was actually a claimed performance gain from a reduction of weight and you saved a “Spridget” from the scrap heap. That’s instant carma.
Photos Copyright 2013 Hooniverse/Bryce Womeldurf