Look at it, the happy little thing, isn't it just wonderful?
I realise that opinions are like bum holes, and everyone's got them, but if you said no, then frankly you're wrong! This little car, erm, Ka is just the best. Driving it, and infact just owning it brings me so much joy, and just thinking about going out in it puts a smile on my face. Why? Well, I think in part it's because it's completely stress free, and I realise that to date it has cost me £1143.37 which is far more than I would've spent on buying a good one. But because of it's, let's say 'distressed' looks it would appear to be worthless to most people, so I probably don't have to worry about it being stolen, or even damaged on purpose... Hopefully. The other thing is, if someones car door does accidentally get opened onto the bodywork of my Ka in the supermarket carpark, is it going to damage it, or just add to the patina? I'm not sure to be honest, but not having to worry about it when I go shopping is quite freeing. Speaking of which, something I have noticed is that when I go shopping, I always try to park far from the other cars no matter what I'm in. I don't even want the exhaust from other cars touching my car. but even when I park as far from the entrance of the shop as I can in the Bentley, when I come back to it, it's always got a car parked on either side of it. Why is this? There's always thousands of other spaces nearer the store entrance. I'll bet these are the same people who come and stand at the urinals next to me when I pee in the motorway services. Stand at the furthest urinal from the door, a choice of thirty others, and some fella comes and stands next to me to pee, what the heck is the deal here? The funny thing here with the StreetKa is that should I park the furthest away from the store entrance in that, when I come back to it it's still sitting there all alone and happy just like it was when I left it... Brilliant.
Anyhoo, when I finished it and got it MOT'd back in October of last year I was pretty chuffed, but was it really finished? Nope, not really, and actually I'm not sure it'll ever really be finished, I think it may well just be one of those cars that constantly evolves. But we shall see. To be fair I've always struggled with 'patina cars', I like the look, as long as they're someone elses. But when I have a scruffy car it never looks right to me. I knew I'd struggle with this on this Ka, I knew I'd struggle with the multple colours, and the general scruffyness of it. But mainly because it's proved to be stress free motoring I've got to say that it's looks have grown on my somewhat, and I'm now at a point where I can actually say with some conviction that painting this car one colour is out of the question. It would just lose its charm I think, plus, if it was one colour and all pretty I think I'd start to worry about it, and noticing every little mark and blemish it picked up, and this would probably spoil the fun.
So know that I've got my head around the idea of multple coloured panels on the same car it's time for the next step. Something that I've always wanted to do is have numbers, and sponsorship type stickers on my car. I see other peoples cars like it, and I think to myself that I quite like that look. However, in the back of my mind a little voice says, "Yeah, it looks good on their car, but it won't look good on yours, so don't do it OK?" This is the same little voice that thinks that patina'd cars look OK when they're someone elses, but not mine. So far ignoring that little voice has been working for me on this little project, so let's just try to keep on keeping on...
Numbers! To be honest I wanted the number in a little roundel, however I didn't want to have them on the door. The trouble with this is there's not all that much real estate on the side of a StreetKa that isn't door, so this meant that roundels were out. I probably put too much thought into what numbers to use, I wandered around for ages thinking about numbers. I thought about '01', but I'm not the Duke boys, I thought about '69' but I'm not Bill and Ted, I thought about '53', but this ain't no Beetle. I even thought about my birthday, or the year of the car's registration, but they seemed too obvious. Frankly, it was starting to keep me awake at night, why was choosing a number to put on the side of my car so damn hard? Ridiculous, what I should've done was got three dice, and whatever the combination of numbers came up would have been the numbers on the side of the car. Hindesight is brilliant, but I didn't think of that then, so that's not what I did. So how did I arrive at '057'? Well, some say that the 57 represents two of my motor racing favourites from my childhood, '5', Nigel Mansell, and '7' Barry Sheene, and there has even been speculation that the '0' represents Damon Hill. But sadly the truth is a far less interesting story. The truth is, I was wandering around Tesco doing the grocery shopping, and upon picking up a bottle of ketchup I thought to myself, oh, fifty-seven. And so before I could start double guessing if this was the right combination of numbers to use I picked up some wheelie bin numbers, and flung them into the trolley too. So '057' it is, and I even stuck them on the car that night so I didn't lay awake wondering what order they should be in. I'll be honest and say that even now, looking at them I'm still not completely sold on the idea, but much like the multiple colours, I'm hoping it's going to grow on me. I also keep telling myself that it'll probably look better when I've got a few sponsorship type stickers on there to try and help tie the look together. Besides, if I really hate it when I've got all the stickers on there I can just peel them back off again, and everything should look no worse than it did before the stickers went on.
The other thing I wanted from the beginning was a set of Wolfrace Slotmags. Ideally I'd like an original set of deep dish Slotmags from the seventies. But there was a problem (or two). Firstly, finding a set with a 15" or 16" diameter and a 4x108mm stud pattern was going to be problematic. Everyone who was running them on their Cortina's back in the day that I knew just stuck with the regular 13" sized wheel that Cortina's came with as standard. Back then fitting a larger diameter wheel and a lower profile tyre wasn't the done thing, and by the time it was popular to do that to your car Slotmag wheels were out of fashion. The other thing was, even if I did find a set of 15" Slotmags, they would be a rear wheel drive offset, and hang right out of the arches, which would then require me to slap on some universal arches. Although, if the truth be known, I'm not against that idea, I don't mind the thought of looking like Carlos Fandango at all!
But the reality of all of this was that I came to the conclusion that if I wanted Wolfrace Slotmags on the StreetKa Named Desire, then I would have to settle for a set of 40th anniversary Slotmags. Wolfrace is the UK's oldest wheel brand and was established in 1971. In 2011 to celebrate the four decades Wolfrace has remained in the industry, it was decided that a classic wheel design should return to join the range, a vote was held on the Wolfrace website which attracted a huge response. The Slotmag was the clear favourite as it received 90% of the vote. I remember looking at them when they came out 11 years ago and thinking that I liked them, although I thought that they weren't as pretty as the originals. But I guess that's a price you pay for having to go with a front wheel drive offset, and I suppose they're better than nothing. By the way, WOFLRACE, if you're reading this I'd really quite like a set of 18" slotmags which are closer to the original seventies design for my 2005 Mustang please. I'm pretty sure that if you released them in 19" and 20" diameters too other people like me would buy them as well. C'mon guys, there's a lot of middle aged fellas like me running about in late model Mustangs, and Camaros et cetera that remember the slotmags from the seventies and would love them on their cars now... What are you fellas waiting for?.. Hurry up, like any addict I'll get the cash some how!
Anyhoo, as is often the way with stuff I want, there's plenty about when I don't need or want them, but the moment I'm looking for something the supply just dries up. Madness! I started this little project eight months ago, and started looking for them as soon as I decided to put this thing back together. Eight months of nothing! So when a set showed up for sale on farcebook in Carmarthen, I jumped on them, jumped in the Navara, and drove the best part of 200 miles to go and get them!
The thing is though, now that I've tried them on the StreetKa I'm not sure I like them on it. I guess that some of the problem might be the diameter, the standard StreetKa and SportKa wheel has a 16" diameter, whereas these Wolfrace wheels are an inch smaller. But that being said the Valbrem 931 alloy wheels that I've had on there pretty much since August of last year are also just a 15" dameter wheel, and I think they look alright. However the Valbrem wheels are a different offset, and I think more importantly they have a much taller profile tyre.
I think if I'm honest they're too tall, I think they've probably got a much bigger diameter than the StreetKa wheel and tyre combo that was fitted to them as standard. But they look so cool, or perhaps, much like the scruffy bodywork I've got used to how they look. That being said, I think the Valbrem wheels are in far better condition than the Wolfrace wheels. The Wolfrace wheels although appearing to be straight enough, all look to have been quite well used, and all the rims show more than a little sign of some kerbstone interaction.
I think that this is due in part to the stretched tyres the wheels have obviously always worn. Yet again, this is another look that I like on other peoples cars, but on mine? Umm, not so much. I did think about having stretched tyres on the StreetKa, but looking at the kerb rash on these wheels I'm pretty sure that I'm going to go with something a little fatter, or atleast, something thats a little closer to the with that the StreetKa would've come with as standard. I'm going to have to consult with my friend at Kwik-Fit and see what he comes up with. I think that the look I'm after is maybe get the same width and rolling radius as the StreetKa would've come with as standard up front. But then out back have a slightly taller profile, and slightly wider than standard to give me a little bit of rubber rake. I know that being front wheel drive this is essentially pointless as the rear wheels are pretty much acting like a trailer, and they're only there just the keep the Ka's bum off the ground. But, being a kid who grew up on a diet of muscle cars and hot-rods I like the rubber rake look, and I want it on this car. Don't panic, I'm not going to go too mad, and I'm not going down the white letter, or red line look either.
That being said, I'm not sure when any of this will happen, as funds are at an all time low at the monent, so unless someone at Firestone or something wants to sponsor me, my tyre swap idea may be a while off yet. I guess I could have a chat with my friend at Kwik-fit, see if he feels like swapping the tyres from the Valbrems onto the Wolfies, but those tyres are quite old, and despite having plenty of tread left I feel I'd probably be better off replacing them with some fresh new ones, but we'll see.
TOTAL SO FAR... £1245.37.