Build your own DeHavilland F48
The DeHavilland F48 is a two seat, rear wheel drive, mid-engine sportscar; utilising subframes, engine, suspension and components from a single donor MGTF. These are linked together by a central, tubular steel spaceframe & aluminium skinned tub. Body construction is manufactured from chopped strand GRP with a variety of gelcoat colour finishes available.
Power & Performance
The K series power unit from the MGTF is the same used in the S1 Lotus Elise. Total kerb weight of our F48 is only around 700kg, 100kg lower than the Lotus. This enables stunning performance! The MGTF ECU can also be re-programmed to give an extra power gain of approximately 10%, raising the total Bhp to a potential 175bhp!
Weight distribution, handling and aerodynamics were all extensively researched when designing the F48, for example; to improve handling we ensured the wheelbase track ratio was perfect. A ratio of 1.61:1 was considered to be the best, also referred to as the Golden ratio.
A common misconception is that a 50/50 weight distribution is best for the handling of a sports car, our research however found that more weight should be placed over the rear driven wheels. The F48 has a 60% bias here; having more weight at the rear aids traction when accelerating out of corners, better balance when braking and better turn in when approaching the corners.
With our rear weight bias, we also needed to make sure we limited front end lift as much as possible. We incorporated a front air dam to direct the air through the front mounted radiator and send it up through the bonnet aiding down force. We also added louvers in the front wings to remove trapped low pressure air in the front wheel arches which can create lift. Finally, we narrowed the waistline of the F48 and created two air channels down each side of the car. This further removed low pressure from the front wheel arch and sends unwanted air down the side of the car, directly into the engine bay to aid engine and rear brake cooling.
Whilst an open cockpit car could never be considered the most practical in the world, functionality has been a major consideration in the design of the F48. For instance; a lockable boot compartment with a 190-litre capacity behind the engine bay is storage for valuables, and even room for a couple of good sized soft luggage bags. By utilising the MGTF wiring loom, the factory immobiliser system is retained, adding security to the vehicle. The MGTF inertia fuel cut off switch which is also retained in the F48 cutting the fuel pump power in the event of an impact. Adjustable seats come as part of the comprehensive F48 package allowing for fore and aft movement of the seat allowing 6ft tall drivers to fit with relative ease. Aiding access in and out of the cockpit, a removable steering wheel boss is also available as an optional extra. This adds not only functionality, but security by being able to lock the steering wheel in the boot compartment when unattended.
When designing the F48 it was decided to utilise as much of the original components from the MGTF as possible, meaning spare parts would be simple and relatively cheap to source for the future. Over 90% of the original MGTF mechanical and electrical components are re-used in the F48. Parts are simple to order by keeping a record of the donor chassis and registration. Most parts suppliers now work with chassis or registration numbers; no one really deals with individual part numbers anymore which is increasingly frustrating to most kit car owners who have a car built with multiple donor parts.
Value for money
Many other kit car manufacturers will quote a comprehensive package price which includes; chassis, full suspension and bodywork items. However much of the time, customers will still need to source expensive items such as exhausts, lighting, seats, harnesses, steering wheel, alloy wheels, instruments as examples. Depending on how many extra components are required to finish the car, the cost can add up, and what seemed like a great value car suddenly costs several thousand pounds more than first budgeted for!
By utilising over 90% of the donor MGTF we have managed to keep the price of our kit incredibly competitive! With our F48 ‘fully comprehensive package’, every item down to nuts and bolts that are not sourced from the donor MGTF will be included in the kit. This means the £6,999* build cost of an F48 will not end up costing an additional £3,000 in parts that weren’t budgeted for.
Most ‘7 type cars’ budget build costs are quoted in the region of £10,000 due to the high number of non-standard components used in the construction; such as coil over damper units, suspension arms, custom exhaust systems etc. Providing all the donor MGTF items are in good serviceable condition and items such as roof, leather interior, wind deflectors and hardtops can be sold for a good price. A budget build cost for an F48 is easily in the region of £7,000*
*budget build cost based on a F48 £7,000 kit price
We think so! The F48 is one of the only available kits cars on the market to use a single donor vehicle in such a comprehensive manner. Because of the simplicity and ease of build, we accurately estimate that an F48 can be assembled buy two competent people in only 48 hours.
Yes 48 hours sounds impossible; but bear in mind the donor MGTF subframes carry all the suspension, steering rack, engine and gearbox, all pre hung ready to go on a pair of rolling subframes. With each subframe only taking around 15-20 minutes to bolt into our central spaceframe tub all of a sudden you can exactly how quick the F48 is to put together. Panelling of the central tub takes between 5-8 hours to accomplish, a further 3-4 hours to fit the pedal box, brake lines & clutch line. Add an additional 6-8 hours to fit handbrake lever, cables, gear selector, steering column, central coolant pipes and fuel tank, then the tub is then ready to take both subframes. In less than 24 hours you have yourself a complete rolling chassis with engine and gearbox fitted. Once the sub frames are in place the only things left to do on the mechanical side is fit the wiring loom, connect up fuel lines, fit the radiator and plumb in remaining coolant hoses. After fitting a few ancillary items, you are ready to test fire the car. This then leaves the remaining 20+ hours to bleed the brake and clutch system, fit seats, steering wheel, bolt on exhaust silencer, bodywork and fit lighting. Of the conventional kit cars available on the market; even the simplest quote a build time of between 80 – 150 hours to complete, double the time it takes to build an F48!