Say Hello To My Seven… I Mean Hawk

Another day at Barn Finds

Well guys, it’s been awhile since I’ve given you an update on my current projects. There isn’t much to report with the Fiat or the Spitfire, except that I’m ready to sell both simply so I can keep what remains of my thinning hair. I won’t go into either of those projects right now, but I will say one or both of them really does need to go and soon! Why, you might ask. The reason is, well the black beauty between the RX-8 and the Torino is why, of course! That’s right, I made an impulse decision and bought another project. This one actually already runs and drives quite well, I’d even go as far as to say it’s a warm weather daily driver! What is it you might ask? You’ll just have to keep reading to find out!

My newest project

So back in the late ’50s a gentleman by the name of Colin Chapman developed an absolutely incredible street machine that he called a Lotus Seven, well this isn’t one of those (but it’s close, well sort of). It isn’t even a Seven replica. In a nutshell it’s a replica of a replica. While you might be thinking, “that doesn’t sound too great”, I was right there with you until I drove this sweet little machine and I my expectations were completely shattered. You see this car is a Blakely Hawk and was developed by Dick Blakely. After seeing a Dutton kit car, which was one of the early Seven replicas, from Sussex, England he decided he needed to build one in the States for the American market.

Blakely

Mrs. Blakely knew his car needed to be based on something simple and it needed to capture the spirit of the Lotus. That meant it needed to be lightweight, basic, but most importantly, fun. He called his creation the Bantam and it was nearly as light as the real deal. He used the most common and unloved car he could find as a parts donor, which at the time just happened to be the Ford Pinto. They were plentiful, cheap, and as basic as they come. So he built a tube chassis, sculpted a very Lotuseque fiberglass body, and stuffed the Ford 1.6 liter straight 4 under the forward lifting bonnet. The design was actually quite successful and went relatively unchanged until the ’80s. He was even able to branch out and built other models as well.

Blakely Paperwork

Entering the ’80s, the company decided the Bantam needed an update. So the design was slightly revised with an updated rear suspension and some minor tweaks to the body. While the changes were subtle, they decided it was enough to deserve a new name, so they called it the Hawk. Sadly, the company shut their doors only a few years later. On the upside, it means there weren’t very many Hawks built. The best estimate I’ve been able to find is that there were 8 bodies built, but I have no way of proving that one way or the other. What I do know is that it’s an absolute hoot to drive! I have a feeling the original owner would agree with me, because he and his wife enjoyed it nearly year around for many years. From the folder of receipts and documents, you can tell he really liked the design and the idea of a Pinto powered go kart.

Loma Racing #4

I have all the original paperwork for it, as well as the pink slip for the wrecked 1972 Pinto that offered it’s heart and suspension as a sacrifice to the Hawk. I even have the classified ad that Bill saw when he found the Pinto. He really was meticulous and kept great records of everything, which will hopefully come in handy when I go to title this roadster. You see, the guy I bought it from purchased it simply to use for racing, as he is an avid hill climber and open wheel racer, so he never titled or licensed it in Idaho. Sadly, the original owner Bill, passed away shortly after selling the car. I’m hoping that since he signed the pink slip over to the next owner, that it shouldn’t be too difficult to get it licensed here in Idaho. Considering it was licensed in California until just a few years ago, I doubt it will be too difficult.

Blakely Interior

I’ve got lots of ideas for this fun little machine, but for the immediate future, I’m just going to drive and enjoy it! I am going to put the original front fenders back on, fix the leaky valve cover, and give it a good detailing, but that will probably be about it. I’d like to return it to it’s original British Racing Green at some point in the future and install some more comfortable and less aggressive seats (I don’t have a bad back yet and I’d like to keep it that way). Of course doing anything to it hinges on finding a new home for the Spitfire. If you’d like to be the next owner of my sweet little Spit, let me know!

Blakely Engine Bay

I’ve only had this Hawk for a short while and I’ve already made some great memories in it! I’ve discovered what it means to drive a truly barebones sports car. I now know how great the Ford Kent Crossflow engine sounds with a Weber carb strapped to it. I’ve also found out just how beautiful the sunsets here in Boise can be. And most importantly, I’ve come to learn how great it feels to cruise in an open top roadster with a beautiful woman in the passenger seat! I have a feeling this is the start of a wonderful relationship (not with the woman, that’s already amazing, but with this Hawk)! So be sure to stay tuned for future updates as I tweak, fix, and upgrade this fiberglass rocket!

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Comments

  1. Jeff Staff

    Holy crap! This is awesome! Well done, Josh. I didn’t know such a thing existed but man, what a neat car. I’d love to own a 7 but the affordability of a replica is highly appealing. We need video.

    • Josh Staff

      Thanks Jeff! For years I’ve talked about build a Locost 7, but I can’t bring myself to chop up a Miata. This is just as much fun without having to sacrifice a nice car. It’s a bit low on power, but I can always upgrade the Kent or install a bigger engine. They actually designed these so you could fit the Cologne 2.8 V6 in there, but I’m not sure it’s worth the added weight. I keep thinking one of those new Ford 1.0 Ecoboost engines would be the way to go!

      • Bookracer

        Hello Josh, welcome to the world of Blakelys, although I will admit it is a small world. Just to inform you of the http://blakelycars.blogspot.com/ that will put you in touch with a small group of Blakely enthusiasts. I have been a Bantam owner for over 36 years and once owned 3 Blakelys at the same time.
        Yes your Hawk is a rare one, the best we can figure out is around 6 or 7 made.
        Seems there might have been 30 to 60 Bantams made no one knows for sure.
        Lot more info to share, just email me and I will give you my phone # so we can chat.

        Like 1
      • Bookracer

        I have never heard of one with a Kent 1600, most had the Ford 2000. After a lot of work and $ this little 4 cyl is putting out a little over 220 hp in a 1200 lb car and is a blast to drive. The bottom end of the 2000 is rock solid and most of the horsepower is made in the head, carbs and exhaust.

  2. JW454

    What I like the most is the windshield wiper on a car that has absolutely no top what so ever. That is so cool!.

    • Josh Staff

      Yeah that’s one of my favorite features too! It’s even set up for a wiper on the passenger’s side, but the wiper arm is broken. I’ll have to find a replacement!

      • Bookracer

        Actually did have a top from the factory and optional side doors made out of plexiglass. Cut down wipers and motor came from donor Pinto as well.
        You think these look different check out the wipers on the Bearcat and Bernardi, they are the 3 wiper assembly off an MG. Picture is of my first Bantam I owned for over 36 years. Just sold it to a wonderful man in Oklahoma a couple of months ago. I have owned the white one above for around 15 years.

  3. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Congratulations, Josh! I remember many, many years ago writing away for and receiving information on the Dutton…never actually saw one in person until a car show about 15 years ago. Good luck with the Hawk!

    • Josh Staff

      Thanks Jamie! It’s already been a blast, but like any old car, has it’s issues. The most pressing are oil leaks. If you know the Kent engine, you know it leak worse than anything the British ever came up with! I’ve currently found 4 leaks around the valve cover, which should be remedied when a new gasket gets here, and several leaks from the oil pan. Someone dented the pan in pretty bad, so I’m on the hunt to find a replacement (if anyone knows of any Pinto or Kent parts suppliers, let me know). Other than that, it’s a nice little driver!

  4. boxdin

    Would that be the same Blakeley who made the Bernardi?https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blakely_Bernardi

    • Josh Staff

      Yup that is the same Blakely! The Bernardi was a far more civilized vehicle, but also heavier. Personally, I don’t need all the add conveniences like doors, a top, or a radio. Just give me the basics!

  5. jim s

    looking at the first photo of your RX8 next to the Hawk reminded me that they used to make a Rotus 7 in downtown Hagerstown Md. just a block or two east of the square on Rt 40 , i think. your Hawk would make a great autocross car. it looks like 100% fun but not year round where you live. since they used pinto parts it should be easy and low cost to keep on the road.

    • Josh Staff

      It’s a blast jim! I actually drove the RX8 today and it felt like a boat compared to the Blakely. I kept thinking I should pull the engine out of it and put it into the Hawk! Growing up in Wyoming the winters here in Boise don’t feel too bad, so I’ll probably be able to use it well into the winter months. I’m just going to buy a good helmet, some gloves and a bomber jacket!

  6. jim s

    are you planning on keep the motor stock, upgrading it or replacing it with something else? if you get it up on a lift photos of the underside would be nice. thanks.

    • Josh Staff

      A photo like this? It was up on a lift when I looked at buying it, so I snapped a few photos! I didn’t post them because they were so bright. I haven’t decided which route to go with the powerplant. This engine is pretty versatile, so I could upgrade it. There’s plenty of room for a different engine, but I’m just not sure what I would want in there.

  7. John D

    Very cool! With those tires it should stick like glue! BTW, a(one) woman is all you’ll get in that seat, if you are lucky, which makes “women” as in “a beautiful women” incorrect . . .

    • Josh Staff

      Haha good catch John! My bad!

  8. jim s

    yes that photo works but would like to see the rest of the underside even if the photos are bright. if the cars electrical system will support it try some heated clothing.

    • Josh Staff

      Here’s looking from the differential forward.
      I thought about heated clothing too, but my commute right now is only 5 minutes or less, depending on how crazy I get. Being that short of a drive, I’m thinking some motorcycle gear should be enough to keep me warm!

      • jim s

        thanks.

      • Josh Staff

        Not a problem Jim! I think I have a couple more shots still on my phone, but I’ll have to check and see.

  9. gunningbar

    This is a blast to drive Im sure!!

  10. Kevin Harper

    These are great fun. I have driven a Birkin, tiger, and stalker replicas and all were a blast. I am about to pull the trigger on a new one and I leaning towards a Westfield, even if it is pricey.
    These cars not only vary by if you have a passenger or not but by what you had for lunch. I really enjoy these lightweight type cars.

    • Josh Staff

      A Westfield would be amazing fun! They aren’t cheap, but your getting a lot of fun and performance for the money! If you get one, let me know!

  11. John

    And the price of the Spit is??????

  12. Chuck Foster Chuck F 55chevy

    Great job Josh! That is a very desirable kit to me, and I’m sure many others, I vaguely remember them back in the day, I have always been a kit car fan, although I never did pull the trigger on any that I looked at. I have seen a forum about home built 7 replicas and they sound like a lot of fun. I would keep the 4 cylinder as long as it was running.
    One kit I always wanted was a Magnum, a Ferrari Dino replica on a VW, until I sat in one, only car I’ve been too tall in at 5 ft 11 inches.
    And my recent 1955 MG TF 1500 acquisition is kind of a kit car, it came in a bunch of boxes, some assembly required.

    • Josh Staff

      Yeah it’s a tight fit. Jesse is a bit taller than me and he doesn’t fit behind the steering wheel. For the foreseeable future the Kent 1.6 isn’t going anywhere. Other than the leaks it runs good, so why fix something that isn’t broke?
      Send us some photos of your MG! The day I bought the Hawk, the seller had a TD in the shop and what a beautiful machine!

  13. Bob

    Mazel Tov with this new baby.
    Enjoy.
    And take care.
    B

  14. Doug M

    Josh,
    the 1600 Kent is the powerplant for Formula Fords, here’s a link to a racer’s site that could come in handy when trying to source components.

    http://www.apexspeed.com/forums/search.php?searchid=3203542

  15. cory

    thats an awesome score. i have often considered building one of the 7 kits but finances never allowed it. i would look around, i don’t know much about the motors, but if there is a strong market for them, you might be able to sell it for the cost of an upgrade. i would keep it 4 cylinder, i have seen a lot of guys running the ztec motors with good results. or go full tilt crazy and do a TDI swap. since there is no “original” to keep it, go crazy and have fun

    • Josh Staff

      Hi Cory, I’ve always been in the same boat, but this was the way to go. I know a lot of guys claim that you can build a 7 cheaply, but if you don’t already own welding equipment, a grinder, a metal saw, and a shop to build it in, it gets pricey! For me, buying this car was the way to go. It isn’t quite as light (by maybe a 100 lbs.), it doesn’t have the resale value, and isn’t quite as clean looking as a real 7, but neither would one I built myself. And on the upside, the frame was designed and built by someone with far more skill than I have and it already has race history!
      I think a Zetec would be a great option, although I’m intrigued by the TDI option. I could then run it on bio diesel and save myself lots of money on fuel! Although I’d smell like french fries all the time, so maybe that ideas out haha!
      We will see what I decide to do once I’ve got some cars moved along and some space to work on this thing!

  16. Bryan Cohn

    Josh, the old Kent engine is a thing of beauty! Minor mods like a header and you already have what looks like the 32/36 DGV Weber carb will wake it right up. If you get frisky a cam is an easy upgrade and deck the head a bit for some added compression (I know, the combustion chamber is in the pistons but when you do the head work you install new seats and valves so they are as flush as possible) you can make an easy anywhere from 115 to say 125 hp. That’ll be plenty of fun!

    I raced Formula Ford for years using the Kent and the Cortina. Valve cover leaks can often be traced to the lip of the VC being bent at each of the bolt holes. Check and make sure the gasket area is flat all the way around. Also, cork gaskets are your friend! Use Permatex #2, glue it to the VC and install. I used those cheap spreader bars commonly seen on Chevy valve covers to keep the VC from bending at the bolt holes and leaking. Don’t glue it to the head btw.

    On the oil pan, check and tighten every oil pan bolt. I bet you find a bunch of them loose causing your oil pan leaks. This was a constant problem on all my FF’s but once I learned of the issue I added tightening the pan bolts to my pre-race prep list.

    The easiest engine upgrade is the 2.3 Ford OHC from the later Pinto/Capri. Here is a WILD idea for you though: The old 2.0 liter Ford OHC engine as used in SCCA FC and S2000 have largely been relegated to the dust bin of history as many of the cars have been upgraded or race vintage. This means you can find, i you do some hunting old racing engines that made around 150 hp on the cheap, say as little as $2500. This would be a dry sump, electronic ignition, pro-built racing engine that has hit the end of its racing mileage life. Still runs fine but due for a rebuild for racing. Its a direct bolt in! http://www.apexspeed.com is the place to try and look for one.

    Other bolt in options:
    Ford Zetec
    Mazda MZR
    Indy Lights 450 HP with Push to Pass! :)

    The Zetec can make up to 175 hp from the factory. you could buy a wire harness with an engine and strip it to the bare minimum to run the engine. That would be super cool but its a big project to make it run. The MZR? 2.3 liters of fun but oh man complicated cause its fly by wire among other things. Yes, the Indy Lights engine is based upon the MZR and has the same bolt pattern at the back of the block. You can lease one from AER…..

    Great new car, enjoy it!

    • Josh Staff

      I was hoping someone with some FF experience would get on and comment! I’ve been trying to learn more about Formula Ford, as I knew they used the 1600 back in the day, but there isn’t much info out there about the older cars. The guy I bought the Hawk from hill climbs an FF1600, so he gave me a few pointers, but just things like not to overtighten the 4 screws holding the valve cover down. He told me the Hawk came with a bare 2.0 block, which is one of the reasons he bought it. He was in the process of rebuilding the engine so he could put it in his FF. It looked pretty rusty, so I didn’t really want it, but I keep thinking that maybe the way to go. The Zetec would be fun too, but it would be far more complicated.

      I’ll have to put together a list of possible routes I could go with the engine, with a price break down of course, and see which route everyone here thinks I should go with! I’m leaning towards upgrading the 1600 just from a cost factor, but if I get both of my other projects sold, I’d have a little cash to work with.

      Thanks for the input and ideas! I might be contacting you in the near future for more info and ideas!

  17. Aaron B.

    Sooooo….this is why you can’t make it up to Canada!! I’m hurt Josh…I thought we we’re friends!! How can you let this…this….car…come between us?!?!?

    NAH….I’m kidding around…..Really, that’s awesome!! Good find! Maybe next summer you can run it up here for that photo shoot we were talking about!!

    Keep us posted!

    • Josh Staff

      Haha sorry! I’ve got project cars coming out of my ears right now and I need to get them done so I can move something along!

      Now that sounds like a great idea! It would be an epic journey! I’d have to make the drive alone, as I would need the passenger seat for my stuff, but it would totally be worth it!

      • Ivan Davis

        Josh
        I have a Hawk here in Wisconsin.
        I interviewed Mr. Hershberger before his death.
        Ivan in Wisconsin

  18. Josh Staff

    Hi Ivan,
    I love the look of your Hawk! The color combo is fantastic and I’m digging the soft top and side screens! I’m going to have to do something similar on mine so I can use it year around! I’d love to see more photos! Send me an email at mail@barnfinds.com!

  19. Ivan Davis

    Josh,

    Just a picture of my daily drivers.
    I have a Locost 7 frame in a jig in the garage and hope to have it on the street by spring. A Ford Ranger pickup doner with a Ford 2.3 Ltr 5 speed and stock rear end. The winters are long here in Wisconsin.
    Ivan

    • Josh Staff

      It looks like you have some fun daily drivers! Man I’m jealous! I really need more photos of you Hawk, especially of the interior and undercarriage!

  20. Ivan Davis

    Here are some shots of when I got the car. It took 3 months to build.

  21. Ivan Davis

    only one picture per post I guess

  22. Ivan Davis

    L’ll keep trying

  23. Ivan Davis

    One more

  24. Ivan Davis

    Once again

  25. Ivan Davis

    This is all of the frame and the likes that I have. I don’t have any inside or under shots of it done.
    Ivan in Wisconsin

  26. Ivan Davis

    Must have missed the best one for you? here it is.

    • Josh Staff

      Thanks for all the pictures Ivan! The frame under your’s is a bit different than my car’s frame, especially the rear suspension. I might have to borrow a few ideas for mine! If you have any more photos you could send me, you can email them to me so you don’t have to post each one individually here. You can send them to our usual email address, mail@barnfinds.com.
      Josh

  27. Laura McCully

    Hi Josh,
    My husband Mike owns a Hawk also. He bought it from the original owner, and it is actually labeled as frame #1.

    I saw in the story that you were looking for new seats. Well, we have had to do that also. The car sat in a storage room for about 15 years and several litters of kittens had been born in the seats. We actually found some Jeep seats that fit nicely.

    My husband is on the road right now (truck driver), but when he gets back I will get him to post about what he knows about the hawks, and exactly which seats fit. We also have the original paperwork on the hawk.

    Good luck,

    Laura

    • Josh Staff

      Hi Laura,
      I’d love to see some photos of you and your husband’s Hawk! There really aren’t many of these, so it’s always nice to see what others have done with their cars. I hadn’t given Jeep seats much thought, but it might be a good option. I look forward to hearing from you husband!
      Thanks,
      Josh

      • Laura McCully

        Hi Josh,

        My name is Mike, Laura is my wife. If you go here: http://blakelycars.blogspot.com/2009/07/mikes-mccullys-hawk.html
        there are some old pics of my car. Here are some more: http://blakelycars.blogspot.com/2009/05/mikes-bantam-not-bantam-but-hawk.html,
        http://blakelycars.blogspot.com/2009/05/mikes-bantam.html

        They are on the website mentioned early on in the comments. Of course, these pics are mostly before I have done some updates. I am currently in the process of putting in a new engine and transmission. I am putting in a 4L V6 (Ford Ranger), upgrading from a 2.8L V6 (Mustang 2). There were some adaptations to the old engine’s exhaust manifold. It was made especially for the engine and this car, but had been broken too many times and could not be repaired again. Now I am having to fit a new engine and even having to make some adaptations to the fiberglass to fit it.

        I will have more pics when that is all done. Hopefully will have the updates done in the next couple of months.

        On the seats…if you look for seats that will fit ’60s Jeep CJ7, they are the right width to fit in the car. We got them from a place called 4 wheel parts in Houston, but you can find them at http://www.4wheelparts.com/.

        I would like to talk to you on the phone since I am on the road most of the time, but am not sure how to go about that without posting a number. If you can email my wife at the email that she signed up with we could do that. Or if there is a better way, just let me know.

        I just thought of something else. If you would like to know what frame number you have, if you look on the VIN tag (ours in in the center portion of the engine compartment just below the windshield), the last number on it should be what frame number you have (after the dash).

        Have fun. I am hoping to have mine up and running again before the end of summer. Of course, summer in Houston is sometimes too hot to ride in the Hawk. We do it anyway, we just wear a lot less clothes and a lot more sunscreen. :)

        Mike

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