The Birth of a Spartan. UBU313X.

My story started around 1978-1979 i was 26 yrs old and always messing with cars, i bought the first issue of alternative cars which was about kit cars. Inspired by a guy when i was younger who I watched build a Rochdale Olympic, i started to look at kits. A mate of mine had sent for a brochure on the Spartan and having a working knowledge of Triumphs and a liking for 1930s style cars went to Nottingham and had a look and ride in a Spartan. At the time Spartan works had moved on from just  supplying kits to re-body rotten Heralds and Vitesse. and were now offering their own chassis which include the more difficult to build Beam axle version in plus 2 form enabling any engine gearbox and axle to be put in but welding you’re own mounts was required.


So in 1979 i purchased my kit for I think around £2400 with the cobra seats side screens and hood. I also purchased 5 cobra Wire X wheels. The build was started and around 18months later in 1981 UBU313X was born. I initially used Triumph front suspension steering, wiring loom and i scrapped a Ford Cortina 1600cc for the engine gearbox and rear axel. The engine was rebuilt and the brackets to mount the axle were duly welded to axle and chassis. Along with engine and gearbox mounts. my thoughts were always to try to utilise off the shelf bits so parts were not a problem, like handbrake cables etc, one exception being the prop which had to be shortened.



I built the car myself with some assistance from a great mate of mine Bill whom without his aid would have made some aspects more difficult. The car was built up tested then stripped to an extent and painted all of which i undertook myself. The car was then taken from my pals works garage to my home re fitted inspected by HMRC and DVLA and given the Registration as a new vehicle. Exempt of MOT for 3 yrs. The registration mark is from Oldham in Greater Manchester. Or Lancashire as I am proud to say.





When i went to the first Spartan Rally in Northampton the car got into the semi finals in the Concourse this was probably 1982, but i am not sure. Also the car won best visitor at Lymm Park at an MG rally and best Spartan at a Spartan rally in Helston Cornwall.



When I visited the factory and various shows i saw Spartans with different engines like Lotus Ford twin cams Ford 3ltr V6s Rover V8s so this inspired me to want to look at another power plant. Being strapped for cash i found a Fiat twin cam and 5speed gearbox for the right price and with mods put in. These engines were designed as twin cams and not blocks with twin cam heads added, like Lotus which were expensive and troublesome. They are very reliable and easier to maintain. Boy did that car shift revved nicely up to around 7500rpm and pulled like a train, and with a five speed box not common at the time cruised very nicely at motorway speeds. I loved the car and it was like being in a goldfish bowl with people waving and giving thumbs up signs so Morgan MG looks for a price a working lad could afford but with hard graft! You got the occasional idiots coming out with statements like look at that rich git in a Morgan, but hey ho ! Anyway i moved house increased my mortgage and in 1987 with my everyday car dying and the Spartan doing little due to me working on the house, a decision was made which i regret to this day. The car due to its greater equity was traded to Knibbs a local Fiat dealer at the time for a Panda 4x4, again a car I wish I still had. I think i got around £3500 for it. The car was put straight into the showroom window with all their new cars this was never done with second hand cars unless there was something special about them and UBU certainly was ! My wife cried when she saw it and said shall we buy it back but i said no its gone now what’s done is done. the car was sold within a week and i never saw it again 



By chance i mentioned it to a Spartan owner  at a classic car event last year who turned out to be part of the Spartan owners club, David Kerwin, he gave me his e mail address and told me to send him the details and he would see if she was still alive. I came home and forgot about it. Then earlier this year found his email address and lo and behold she’s still alive and soon to be kickin. A member of you’re club John Cleaver from Warrington rescued her from death. so i will leave the story to be continued by him.

Kevin Kirk

Photos below from Spartan Owners Facebook page. So over to you John can you complete the story. Do you know what happened in the intervening years?



Kevin Kirk