most challenging and gratifying experience of my late twenties was
closing a successful photographic business and embarking on a dream
to manufacture a line of innovative vehicles. These ranged from
Electric City Cars to single seat Inner-Urban mondules to redesigned
vehicles on existing British chassis. The GT project began with
the purchase of a McLaren MK l chassis and a Rover Buick 3.5 engine
as research showed these to be the best combination for this project.
My search for a coachbuilder led me to Charlie Williams, one of
England's foremost craftsmen. I knew at our first meeting that our
relationship would be heartfelt and productive; out-of-the-box creatively.
a gracious and wonderful guide, undertook the building of Ikenga
from my clay mockups and drawings. In our three years of collaboration
the Ikenga GT went through three design changes. Ikenga's
body was hand rolled aluminium bonded to the McLaren tubular chassis.
The completed vehicles were a mere thirty-nine inches high and weighed
a less than eighteen hundred pounds dry. The interior was cozy due
to the wide sills of the mid-engine McLaren racing chassis but this
was not a deterrent for a proof-of-concept vehicle. Ikenga GTs were
styled/designed as a contemporary African mask-on-wheels that faced
skyward to Spirit. The nose enclosed a ducted radiator
behind the cockpit and a closed circuit camera for rear vision.
The mouth, the rectangular panel in the photo, served as both an
entry into the luggage area and as an airbrake.
acceleration was awesome and its handling all that one would expect
from a McLarenprecise with double wishbone and anti-roll bar
setup at both ends. The Ikenga MK l, pictured in its green reflective-paint
for nightime safety, was our first big design test! Five other inner-city
and recreational concept vehicles were under development while work
on the Ikenga GT series proceeded.
MK l 1967
by Charles Williams
One of England's Greatest Coach Builders
by David Gittens
. . .
. . With the support of talented friends, artists, and engineers,
during the very exciting mid-60s while on a creative sojourn
The Ikenga GTs went through three stylistic improvements, each
of which incorporated the most advanced technlogy of the era -
Closed circuit TV for rear vision, electronic accident warning
systems, and electronic sensors for parking. Rubber moulding was
incorporated in the bumpers and side trim, fluorescent lighting
was used for inner-city night driving, and reflective paint was
featured in the MK l GT.