Unique British Special: 1953 KC Special

More often than not, tracing the lineage of a one-off special vehicle can be pretty difficult. That is partly the case with this 1953 KC Special sports car, although I do know a bit about the company that is purported to have designed and constructed it. It is an interesting, British-built car, and appears to have been built for combined use on both the road and the track. Barn Finder Peter R referred the KC Special to us, so thank you for that Peter. It is located in St Germain-en-Laye, France, and listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set a BIN price of $12,500 for what is a neat little car.

It isn’t known for certain who this car was built for, or what purpose it served, but we do know that it was built by a company called Finch Engineering back in 1953. Astonishingly, that company is not only still operating, but it still dabbles in a reasonable amount of work on sports cars, along with performing engine modifications and rebuilds for classic cars. In fact, they are currently in the process of building a Ford-Raeburn Special, so they aren’t afraid to tackle anything automotive. The KC Special is constructed on a tubular steel frame, with the body made largely from aluminum. Whoever styled the car had an eye for vehicle styling, because it certainly doesn’t have the appearance of any oddball one-off. It looks like the body is in good condition, and will only require fairly easy preparation before it can undergo a repaint. What is truly amazing is that the car comes with its windshield, along with the frame for the soft-top. I would be really interested to know if the windshield is unique, or whether it is from a more common vehicle model.

The interior is going to require some work, but it does appear that the basics are there. It will require full upholstery and padding, and while the tachometer currently isn’t fitted to the car, it is actually present. One interesting fact that the owner does note is that in spite of the car having been built as a right-hand drive, it would be possible to convert it to left-hand drive. If more of the vehicle’s history can be traced, it may be better to leave it as is to preserve its originality.

Some of the mechanical components that have been used in the construction of the KC Special have really made me wonder whether it was constructed purely for road use, or whether the owner envisaged spending some time on the track. Powering the car is a 1,991cc Triumph TR2 4-cylinder engine. The transmission is what fascinates me because it is a straight-cut manual transmission from an MG. That type of transmission is not something that you would normally associate with a road car, and I personally would have expected a TR2 transmission to be slotted in behind that engine. Obviously, the engine doesn’t currently run, but it isn’t clear whether all of the missing components such as carburetors are present.

One-off cars fascinate me, because the engineering, build quality, and the appearance of these cars can vary enormously. Personally, I think that the KC Special ticks all of the right boxes, and would make a pretty attractive looking car once it has been restored. Just how attractive it would be very dependant on the paint color. So, what color would you choose, and is it a special that you would like to take on?


  1. Nsuracer

    The fenders look like they were taken from a 53 Chevy pickup.

    Like 7
    • Lance

      It stands for Killed Chevy.

  2. John

    You may find that the front and rear fenders come from a 1950-ish Vauxhall Velox. It’s possible the wheels do too, but the hubcaps differ slightly. No doubt the Triumph engine was used in the interest of better performance, since, according to Wiki, the original GM 2.3 litre, 6 cylinder engine only made 54bhp…

    Like 4
    • James HGF

      You are correct! The front and rear fenders and grille bars are from a 1948 – 1951 Vauxhall Velox or Vauxhall Wyvern LIX. One can see the grille opening molding on the front fenders of the special. The ’48 – ’51 Velox and Wyvern share the same body – same wheelbase, length, and width. However the Wyvern is the ‘economy’ model with a 1442 cc 35bhp engine.

      The wheels and hubcaps are likely Vauxhall, but are not from the new ’48 – ’51 Velox – Wyvern series.

      Like 3
  3. icee3

    Restored? It looks like it was never completed. Some of the welds……. I would think the car needs to be taken totally down and redone if it was to be roadworthy

    Like 1
  4. Darrun

    Years ago…I thought about taking a spare set of fenders from a 51 Chevy truck that I had, and building a car based on those. This proves my theory of the time. It could have been done, and somewhat appealing.
    Of course, this was one of the many I built in my mind .lol

  5. Little_Cars

    It has all the bits from the Vauxhall, with a little Renault 2CV thrown in to ugly it down just a bit. I like it though, seems odd that any MG gearbox would make this a comfortable touring car.

  6. Coventrycat

    That’s the way, uh huh uh huh, I like it, uh huh uh huh. Oh, sorry – wrong KC.

  7. Wayne from oz

    The door cut out also shows Vauxhall heritage

  8. Brakeservo

    When I first saw this I thought it must be on offer by Geoff Hacker. Surprised it isn’t.

  9. Mikeshotrodshop

    Square headers.

    Like 1

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