I am Andy Carwithen, the owner of ANC Sportscars LTD. I was born in 1964 and from a very early age it appears I had an interest and affinity for anything mechanical. My parents inform me that at 4 years old, I was building Meccano sets designed for aged 10 and above as I found the basic sets too easy! Throughout my childhood I would strip and rebuild bicycles or make trollies (Plymothian term for box cart) with my friends before racing them down the steepest hills we could find (there were a lot less cars around in the seventies!). I left school in 1980 and embarked on a four year apprenticeship in the Royal Naval Dockyard in Plymouth - at the end of which I became a fully indentured electrical fitter.
During this time, I developed a keen passion for motorbikes and would completely strip and rebuild several during my late teens before eventually, moving on and doing the same with cars. It was around the age of 25 that I became aware of kit cars for the first time when, whilst reading a car magazine, I came across an article on the Jago Jeep. Intrigued, I sent off for a build manual to see what exactly was involved in building one. I decided there and then, that the concept of kit cars appealed to me as it seemed they were rather like a more complex grown-up version of building those Meccano sets all those years ago!! However, inevitably, life and then kids get in the way and so it would be another 15 years before I would eventually be in a position to build my own kit car.
In 1991 I took redundancy to pursue a career involving motor vehicles and so I studied full-time for 2 years to attain an OND in motor vehicle engineering along with various City & Guilds certificates. Unfortunately, the recession hit about this time and it was impossible to get employment within the trade. So I resorted back to my electrical engineering background and managed to gain employment within telecoms.
This necessitated designing and building my own engine cradle, exhaust system etc. as nothing was available from Tiger.
I was really pleased with the final result and it passed SVA first time. The car was a lot of fun to drive. However, I was getting the itch to build again and it wasn’t long before I heard of another abandoned project becoming available from a friend.
Finally, in 2004 I purchased a Tiger Avon as an abandoned project. This I proceeded to totally strip back and start again from scratch as the quality of the work done by the original builder was poor. Bike engined cars (BEC’s) were becoming popular around this time and so, having dismissed getting a motorbike again to satisfy my mid-life crisis, (I had my wife and kids to consider now) I decided I could get the thrill and noise of a bike but in a safer package by ditching the Tiger’s heavy Pinto engine and replacing it with one from a Fireblade.
This time the car was a Cobra replica (Pilgrim Sumo) with a Rover V8. The owner had lost interest as he was having far too much fun in the Lotus Elise he had bought. So the Tiger was sold to fund the Cobra’s purchase and build.
The quality of the build was fine this time (as he had previously built a kit car) but I inevitably ended up replacing a lot of the running gear etc. for upgrades (changed the 3.5 for a tuned Rover 3.9, changed the diff for an LSD, ditched the Pigrim sidepipes for larger more authentic ones etc.)
So kit cars have been a passion of mine for many years now and having taken early retirement from the telecom industry, the opportunity to acquire the Replicar project from MEV and turn my passion into a career was too good to miss!!