Live Auctions

I’m Keeping The Blakely Hawk!

Blakely Hawk (3)

So, after bouncing it back and forth last night on whether or not to take the offer received for my Blakely Hawk, and getting tons of great feedback from you guys, I finally decided to keep it. When I bought the car, I envisioned it as an autocross and hill climb car, but between work, two other project cars, school and getting engaged, I’ve felt a bit overwhelmed trying to balance it all. Well, after talking it over with my fiance, I’ve come up with a plan to make it all work!

Blakely Paperwork

First off, one night per week will be dedicated to working on the car while she has a girl’s night. Getting the car done in time for autocross and hill climb season means having a direction and goal for it before we get started. For that part I’m going to turn to you guys for help. I’ve set a $1,500 budget for any repairs, improvements and upgrades that you guys think would be most beneficial. To actually fund this endeavor I need to sell a car. I already was planning on putting the Spitfire up for sale anyway, so that should generate more than enough to fund the project. I was going to list it today actually, but before I had a chance to, Jesse showed interest. While he already has one Spitfire, he has had his eye on the car since before I bought it.

Project BlackHawk

Staying within budget is going to be crucial! I want to prove that you can have a great time racing without breaking the bank. I’d love to go crazy with this thing and install a new engine, custom interior, high end suspension and all new paint, but I just don’t have that kind of money to spend. This is the other part of the plan that is going to require your help. Brand new parts are usually expensive, but lightly used parts can typically be found for a fraction of the price. So, once we have decided what parts are needed, I’m going to need you guys to help me find what we need. If you happen to have something laying around and don’t need it any longer, let me know and we can work out a deal. Even if you don’t have any parts, you could help us search around online for things.

Blakely Differential

So with that all said, we can go ahead and jump right into the planning stage! Here is a basic outline for what I want to do with this car, if you think it should be done differently please present your case. For the time being, let’s keep the 1.6 Kent engine. It’s actually a great little engine that runs extremely well. Now if you can come up with some affordable upgrade options to squeeze a little more power out of it, that would be great. The transmission and diff both work fine, but the diff has a bit of a leak that will need to be addressed and I think it needs to be regeared for quicker acceleration. If we are able to leave the drivetrain alone, that leaves us with a decent amount of money for parts. It might even give us enough for a cheap paint job… or not!

Blakely Dash

We can probably make the seats work, but these plastic buckets currently are haphazardly bolted directly to the floor, so that will need to be addressed. I actually would like to find some seats with a bit more padding, so if you have any ideas (maybe seats like what’s in the early Lotus Seven?) let me know. The carpets are going to come out and the inside of the tub painted black, which should save weight, improve the look, and not cost much. Also, while all the gauges are working, there isn’t a tachometer. So we will have to come up with a solution for that. And while we are in there, I think the bright red steering wheel needs to go as well. The wheel itself is in good shape, so perhaps we can wrap it with new leather?

Blakely Steering Rack

Speaking of steering, one of the reasons the previous owner sold the car to me was because of the slow steering. You see, this car has a Pinto steering rack. While it is a great unit, it isn’t particularly quick. I counted and it takes 4 rotations to go lock to lock, which isn’t bad for a daily driver, but terrible for a race car. I believe the Mustang II rack is a direct bolt-on though and I have seen units as quick as 3 turns lock to lock. I think that would be more than fast enough, but what do you think? Anyone have a spare steering rack sitting around?

Blakely Hawk (2)

The last thing I’d like to change, depending on if the budget will permit, are the rims. While these mags are in great shape, I’m not particularly a fan of the look. I actually think a set of black steelies would look better. They probably wouldn’t be much heavier either. If we can find the same size of rims, than we can reuse the tires, although I think they probably need to be replaced anyways. Perhaps I could sell these rims and tires for enough to buy a set of new rims and tires? So with the basic route laid out, I want to hear what you guys think. Can it all be done with just $1,500? And will I be able to make this the autocross car of my dreams?


  1. Dean Beckman

    That’s a cool car, maybe you could have those rims powder coated black, or Hot Rod orange.

  2. minikrew

    i have a 78 pinto with almost everything you want. a built 2.3 motor, 3.18 rear gear, 51/2 in autometer tach, alum. rad., 4 speed trans, 4 13 in steel wheels, alum, racing seat, 5 pt harness 900.00 car is in fl.

    • Josh Staff

      If it weren’t in Florida, I would take you up on the offer! I think transporting it to Idaho would be more than my entire budget. Thanks for offering it though!

      • Tom

        Hi Josh
        I have a Blakely Hawk that I purchased and I am trying to locate the serial number on the car.whete is yours located

  3. BobD

    Early Lotus Seven seats – They are not actually seats, but an upholstered plywood back and two lower pads. No adjustments, and nothing to keep the bottom cushion in place if your not sitting on it. Actually the back is not fastened to the car either.
    I think you will want more.

    • Josh Staff

      What about the aluminum buckets they use in Speedsters and other roadsters? You can get them fairly cheap and even get upholstery kits for them. The other thought was to build seats out of plywood, foam and vinyl. We would then attach them to the floor and back wall with bolts. I’ve sat in a number of professional race cars (including Audi R8 LMPs and R10s) and most had seats made out of expanding foam, that was sprayed in with the driver holding themselves in place to get the perfect shape. I’d rather not go that route, but it’s another option.

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        Spitfire, Porsche 914 or Fiat X1/9 seats! :-)

      • Josh Staff

        I was actually thinking 914 seats might fit perfectly in there. I hadn’t thought about X1/9s yet, I will have to check the dimensions!

      • Bobsmyuncle

        There are lots of seat options. Plywood is NOT one of them and won’t pass any safety regulations.

        If you don’t need them to be build date approved, LOTS of used race seats go very cheaply when they expire.

        I bet you could get a seat cover with padding easy enough. Or even make some small pads strategically placed.

      • Cassidy

        Josh, a word of warning on that foam: if you have a history of asthma, that is not the route to go as that will bring it back and worse. I found that out the hard way. Very dangerous chemical combination!

      • Josh Staff

        From what I see on the rules for the hill climbs here, you just need a seat that is bolted into the car. It doesn’t have to be a build date approved seat or have anything more than a headrest. That opens a lot of options in terms of what I can get. I agree plywood wouldn’t be a great option. I need to pull the Spitfire’s seats out to put the new upholstery kit I have on, so I might drop them in to see how they fit. If those work, I think I could find a used pair here in Boise pretty easily!

  4. Gary

    Ahh…so ya had a nice day n drove it? Of course ur keeping it!

  5. RoughDiamond

    Good for you, Josh. Glad to hear it.

  6. Rick Landau

    Why not upholstery the fiberglass buckets that are in the car?

  7. Dan h

    Safety first! I would really put some thought into tightening it up. New u-joints, tie rod ends, wheel bearings, brake likes,pads/rotors/calipers/master, that sort of thing. How’s the seat belts and roll over protection? Is there a hidden fuel hose that’s about to split and dump fuel on the exhaust?
    Safety is where I’d put that $1500!

    • Dave at OldSchool Restorations

      …….Josh, In the 1st thread, when I commented about hillclimbs, you said the car had been hillclimbed before .
      ……..I don’t believe ANY Group that runs a sanctioned Hillclimb event would allow that rollbar design to pass tech.
      ………. It appears to be strictly cosmetic, and does not conform to any rules I am aware of, and I work with just about every set of US and FIA Rules, all the time.
      …………What Group runs hillclimbs that you plan to run with ????

      • Josh Staff

        When the car was being raced, the roll bar was installed vertically with a support running to the floor on the passenger’s side and two supports running to the frame right behind the cockpit. The previous owner didn’t want to cut holes in the body to install it behind the cockpit, so to fit the other seat and make it easier to get in and out of when not racing it, he put it in it’s current configuration. I think it would be better to cut the holes and make it permanent. If I run it in the Hillclimbs here, the bar needs to meet GCR rules. I still need to contact the NHA to find out what class they would put the car in. If they make me run it in the super production or prototype classes, I don’t think there would be much point in even trying on my budget. We will see though!

    • Bobsmyuncle

      I agree. Basic maintenance and safety first.

  8. Terry J

    You made the right decision. Someday it’ll probably have to go but not before you wring every last smile out of it. Now you don’t have to say “I had a Blakely Hawk for a little while. Or: I used to have an Austin Healy 3000 or a TR3 or a ’67 Camaro convertible. Like me. Hurts everytime I say it. But I did enjoy them all for quite a while before passing them on. :-) Terry J

  9. MeToo

    If you are going to do away with floor mats and paint the inside black, consider doing the floors with black bedliner

  10. Bobsmyuncle

    Unless you stumble on some crazy deals you are way over your budget with your wish list.

    Try the classified section of grassrootsmotorsports dot com, or racingjunk dot com for parts.

    I’d think twice about 13″ wheels, tire selection isn’t great.

    I’d look for a whole rear end as purchasing a ring and pinion set (even open) an install kit and labour is going to be a big chunk of your budget.

    When it comes to shipping parts Greyhound freight is a cheap option as are the folks right here. Lots of us are moving all over the continent at any given time. My internet car pals help out like this often. It might not be overnight but its cheap!

    You need to check out the rules for the sanctioned events you are thinking about before spending any money.

    And start chatting up folks in those scenes ASAP. They know the ins and outs, they know the best way to get into the sport, they have connections and they have a bunch of buddies with parts strewn throughout their garages looking for a new home!

    Lastly you need to be very realistic about your needs, and realize your true expenditure WILL surpass your budget. So have a backup fund or the car will be sitting half finished when your kids go off to college.

    • Josh Staff

      I actually have a contingency fund in place, but I don’t want to use it if I don’t have to. Remember though, this car uses Pinto parts for all the major bits (aka Mustang II) and most things are cheap. If I can find a Mustang II in the salvage yard, it would have most of the parts I need. It’s just a matter of finding one that’s in decent enough shape that the parts wouldn’t need to be fully rebuilt. As for the wheels, it’s already running on 14’s, although I don’t think that will make it much easier. Would it be better to find 15’s or just go with 14’s? I already have 2 spare wheels with high performance tires on them, I might be able to find another pair of matching tires and save myself a bit of money there. Thoughts?

      • Bobsmyuncle

        I would assume you will want a second set of wheels (at least?) I’d go 15 at that point.

        I don’t want to come off as an expert. I do a lot of track days but in a FAR heavier and more modern vehicle. None of my vintage cars have been competition vehicles. And I know nothing about hill climbs.

        My tire and wheel options evolved as I asked myself the following questions.

        Are you towing the vehicle to events or driving?

        How far are they?

        Are you willing to sit out the day if it rains?

        Is a high performance summer tire good enough for my expectations.

        Am I willing to race street tires that inevitably will need puncture repairs?

        Being so light a car you may be able to use a high performance summer tire as a competition tire and hopefully it’s a good wet weather tire.

        I can’t afford to trailer my car but its a wagon! I take a dedicated set of wheels and tires and use my high performance summers as the wet weather tires. My next step would be to tow a small support trailer.

        This reminds me, my car is geared for the road as it is my daily and I lead a lot of cruises. My track wheels are a smaller diameter which effectively replaces the need for regearing. Looks a little goofy but function over form on the track. Could be a solution for you.

      • Josh Staff

        Running a smaller tire is actually a really good idea! I don’t know why I didn’t think of that. The other set of wheels that came with the car are racing tires and they are quite a lot smaller than the tires that are currently on the tire, so I will put some air in them and if they are still good, I’ll throw them on the back and see if it improves acceleration that much.

  11. jim s

    the rear diff needs to either a limited slip or a remote controled locker. paint the inside a light color like gray so it is easy on the eyes when working on the car. at least 2 sets of steel wheels, one set each for street and event tires. the roolbar does need updated then padding added. you with need a set of arm straps to keep your arms inside the car while on course. make it family time by having your wife help with the car. then see who can set the faster times.

    • Bobsmyuncle

      I agree on the gray or as I was going to suggest silver. POR15 makes a very durable silver that I’ve used on the interior of my DE/event car. It will make finding lost items easier as well as spotting any problem areas down the line.

  12. Darrel H

    A Mark II Cortina GT gearbox with the semi-close ratios (1st 2.97, 2nd 2.01, 3rd 1.39, 4th 1.00) together with a 4.44 limited slip differential would be great for autocrossing. I used this set up with my Mark 1 Cortina GT that I autocrossed and hill climbed in the 1960s. The 4.44 gears were from an Anglia van. The limited slip was aftermarket. The engine was a 1500cc single face with a few upgrades that resulted in not much torque below 4000 rpm.

  13. Carey Davis

    Almost all Mustang II parts will fit and are ultra cheap at salvage yards etc. Mustang II had several performance models including some fitted with V6/V8 and heavy duty springs, shocks, sway bars, disc brake posi-rear ends. Lots of good stuff available through the Formula Ford racing series. I have been told the Ford 2000 engine has a lot stronger bottom end than the 2300. Remember in these engines most of the horsepower comes from head and intake/exhaust system modifications. If you get real serious I have a friend that races his Blakely in vintage racing. Unfortunately I think he has over $23,000 in his race set up.

  14. scott m

    I know with a tight buget and needing seats and other things it might make you go over buget there are cheap seats on ebay the set i bought for my s10 I just love

  15. van

    Man good deal, takes me longer to make dissision
    I want to turn one of these into a woody
    “Shooting Break”
    I know your thinking shooting foot

    • Josh Staff

      That would be sweet! Blakely actually built an optional hardtop for these and they look absolutely amazing, not quite a shooting brake though. Maybe I should make a shooting break hardtop for it down the road?

    • van

      Maybe you could use balsa wood and still be competitive

      A Union Jack on the roof?
      I’m all about fun

  16. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Happy you kept it. You have chosen wisely. Have fun!

  17. van

    So your saying, slightly more bodywork

  18. rogerowen

    I think you are quite right to keep it! Some of us often take on projects that can be quite troublesome – and sometimes we ‘give up’ for some reason or other. The thing is – when we look back we can realise that the ‘sale’ decision might have been a bit too hasty.

    Just did that last night – decided to run a ‘duplicate photo’ check on my computer and came across some pictures of a project I took on many years ago and decided to ‘throw the towel in’ after about a year.

    My problem was that at this time I did not realise a few things;

    A. A resto project is very likely to have some extent of rust. You discover more and more as you delve deeper!

    B. Fuel is corrosive, and so a car left for many years will probably have a leaking fuel tank, a stuffed fuel pump and maybe corroded fuel lines.

    C. Anything rubber is likely to be shot – brakes, window seals etc, etc.

    D. Soft furnishing (interior) is also likely to be past its ‘sell-by’ date – and will have to be replaced.

    However, mechanical parts are not usually to great a problem.

    I ended up selling an early Jaguar V12 XJS for peanuts – and will always regret that decision.

  19. Ian

    I’ll see if I can find that aluminum flywheel in my garage…

    • Josh Staff

      That would be awesome Ian!

  20. charlie Member

    First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Dad with a baby carriage, and, no time for cars. I had a ’39 MG, ’54 Corvette, ’60 Jag XK 150, and a ’56 Chevy as the daily driver, and then, in 1971, I got married, and had 3 kids. She had a ’69 Camaro which we kept for 14 years, but I sold the MG, the Corvette, and the Jag, and had a series of station wagons and 5 Chrysler minivans. Had no place to park the neat cars no time to work on them, and no money to pay someone else. So get this car fixed and DRIVE it, once you are a father, those days will be over.

    • Josh Staff

      Yeah that was actually one of the reasons I decided to keep it. I figure when I have kids I probably won’t have the time to work on it until they are grown and moved out on their own. So I better have some fun now while I can!

  21. rogerowen

    So true Charlie! Even worse when you get ‘You’ve got 3 young children – why on earth do you want to keep that old motorbike???’

    Word of warning – Whatever you do, keep it!!!

    I didn’t – and now have this recurring recollection of the Steve McQueen ‘Great Escape’ scene.

  22. Kerry smith

    Office chairs! I use high back in my T bucket, but they come in low back too. Check Amazon.

    • Josh Staff

      Interesting idea! I wonder if I could find some with more side bolster?

  23. Josh Staff

    I need everyone’s opinion on this seat! It’s built by a company that specilizes in racing seats and safety equipment. It’s pretty basic, but is also only $179 on eBay or $200 through Amazon. I’d try to find it in black, instead of blue, but that shouldn’t be an issue.

  24. rogerowen

    Looks good and would not look out of place in your car. Good price too, in the UK you would probably be paying twice that amount. It would be useful to find someone who has used them before to learn what they are like in action. Good luck!

  25. rogerowen

    Those are really nice too – I could see these in my TR4A instead of the TR6 seats currently in there. Think the ultrashield might suit your car better, they look kind of ‘engineered’ if you know what I mean – just my opinion. Again these seats look really good value, might see what shipping is to UK.

  26. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Josh, those look almost identical to these — this is what I use in the Marina:

    They are relatively comfortable but very restraining, as racing seats should be.

    • Josh Staff

      How thin is the bottom? So the cockpit of the Hawk isn’t particularly spacious, mainly because of the steering column and narrow foot well. Having seats that go all the way to the back wall and put you as low down as possible would make it much easier to drive. That’s actually the reason I want to swap the seats out. The current ABS seats are for dune buggies and off roaders, where ride height isn’t an issues. I like the Ultra Shields mostly because they can be mounted right to the floor, getting me down in the car better. I like the Corbeau seats I’ve been in in the past, so if these get me closer to the floor, I’d be all over them!

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        It’s pretty darn thin. I still think Spit 1500 or X1/9 would work better though. The Spit seats are readily available and you can narrow them if necessary, and they are low.

      • Josh Staff

        Yeah the Spitfire seats might work really well actually! So the hillclimbs here don’t require race specific seats, just seats that are bolted down. I still need to find out about autocross, but I’m going to assume it’s the same deal. I’m going to pull the Spits out to recover them and will drop them in the Hawk to see how they fit. The trick will be finding a pair in good shape.

  27. Josh Staff

    I actually thought something like these seats would be amazing too, but the company that made these ones went out of business and was based in Australia, so getting a pair would be about impossible now. Boy would they look sweet in there though!

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