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ZCars Kit Guide

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Whether immortalised in film, a Motorsport giant killer in the 60s & 70s, or as the definitive example of automotive cool, the Mini and Fiat 500, either in their Cooper S or Abarth guises or not, are Icons.

Z Cars incorporates innovations or advancements in automobile technology to enhance the performance, comfort and safety of the classic car, giving the timeless appearance of the original, but the outdated underpinnings of the car have been replaced with the more modern, high-performance parts. Furthermore an up-market ‘restomod’ often disguises the modern elements or if modern parts are visible gives them a retro-feel or appearance.

What is a Z Car?

A Z Cars conversion involves converting the front engine, front wheel drive layout into a mid-engine, rear wheel drive layout using a bespoke rollover hoop incorporating the engine cradle to take either a modern bike or car engine. The conversion is either sold as a kit or taken on as a turn-key factory build.

The performance of the car is dramatically enhanced and can readily keep pace with everyday traffic and not have the limitations and expense of modifying an A-Series engine. We are in the process of launching a series for new conversions, the first of which will be based on the Fiat 500, with three engines, two with different drive options. And we have not forgotten about the Mini, there will be a new car engine available in RWD layout as well as our first FWD kit.

“I could bore you with stories from yesteryear of my 1275 GT complete with a Minisport 1400 kit terrorising XR3is, 205 GTIs and GT Turbos, but it pales into insignificance driving a Z Car conversion in the 21st century. You never tire of wiping the smiles from the owners of the modern hot hatch owners or watching the YouTube video footage of Z Cars keeping Supercar owners honest at track days. There’s the lighter side too, you find other road users are more courteous and refuelling through the bonnet often strikes up a conversation”An owner's viewpoint

zcars_logoAddress: Z Cars Evolutions Limited,
Unit 7 Geerings Business Centre,Chart Road,Ashford,Kent,TN23 1EP
Email: [email protected]Telephone: 01233 226122

Brief History of Z Cars


Z Cars was originally founded by Chris Allanson in 1999, harnessing the engineering creativity that had helped bring Chris considerable success grass track racing in the early 90s. The company quickly established a following and began to build a brand predominantly around the Classic Mini, offering a range of alternative engine kits or turn-key solutions in a mid-engined layout most notably around the R1, Hayabusa and Honda K20 engines. Further kits followed, such as the Saxo, Smart and the Monte Carlo.

Z Cars developed a reputation for one-off creations be it a restomod Classic with modern underpinnings or something bordering on the extreme, such as the twin Hayabusa Turbo engine Ultima and the Hayabusa Turbo Carver. Regular visitors to the factory would recall the countless number of custom engineering projects over the years. You can view a selection of these in the archive.

With another business opportunity presenting itself during 2012 borne out of an engineering eureka moment, Chris Allanson stepped away from Z Cars in 2012 retaining the rights to the kits and Z Cars Performance Engineering (ZCPE) was formed to assume the mantle acting as custodian for the Z Cars portfolio.

Regrettably late in 2015, the company closed leaving a void for the existing owners, customers and fans of the brand. The rights to the kits have been sold to David Rose, a long standing customer of Z Cars and the new company Z Cars Evolutions started trading in September, initially to support existing customers/owners and relaunching a range of kits.,

Chris Allanson has joined the company as Creative Director. Overseeing the development of the new kits. We are now providing updates on the new company’s projects via our website and social media.


ZCars Customer Car Gallery (18)ZCars Customer Car Gallery (20)

Images courtesy of Mr A Kirk

Mini Kits

Mini Kits

zcarsmini

The kits are designed to complement a donor car and engine in providing enthusiasts with the essential components to complete a basic Z Car build.  There are supplementary kits such as the fuel, cooling and electrics which complement the main kit which can be added downstream to the build as the build progresses.

These are optional to allow the cost of the parts to be spread rather than buying a larger kit in the beginning and not necessarily needing some elements of the kit until much later on in the project.  Inevitably, each project is likely to involve other personal touches all of which can be provided by Z Cars. The completed car can then be enhanced and upgraded over the period of ownership, with the company there to assist as required.

kitmixed

The kit design carries the distinct motorsport DNA of the company’s original founder, Chris Allanson whereby the handling can be finely tuned to the driver with adjustment for camber, caster, toe, ride height and damping.  Anti-roll bars are available too. Unsurprisingly, the kits carry a strong track vibe, but there is so much more to a Z Car kit.

Choose your Legend

GSX-R 1300. Generations 1 (-2007) & (2008+) Kit

In standard tune 173-197 BHP with a 6-speed gearbox, this engine has been the core engine for Z Cars. We are now offering 3 drive options to subtly refine the bike variants, whilst reducing maintenance and noise, adding convenience with integrated reverse options. Engine upgrades are available too.

Visit GSX-R 1300 Kit Page

Triumph Daytona 1050R Kit

This is a new addition to the range and is a legend in the making. This lighter, more compact, speed-triple unit has around 140 BHP in standard tune. We are looking to offer an engine upgrade kit to increase this to circa 160 BHP. The engines are less than half the price of a Hayabusa engine. There are 2 drive options.

Visit Daytona 1050R Kit Page

Honda K20A VTec Kit

This is the core car-engine kit. With circa 220 BHP in standard form. Supercharging and ECU upgrades are available too. We also offer a gearing package which counters the effect of the Mini’s 13” wheels, so 1st and 2nd gears are not too lowly geared.

Visit Honda K20A VTec Kit Page

VAG TFSI & Ford EcoBoost Kits under development

We are about to begin looking for prospective customers who might be interested in a VAG TFSI kit or our first Front-wheel drive kit, courtesy of the Ford Ecoboost engine. Each engine can be remapped. Any customers interested in having their car built at the same time as our development car whereby making a considerable saving on the kit and labour, should make enquiries to [email protected]. We are able to offer this to reduce the cost of the development and bring the kit to production earlier.

The kits for the Mini have been established for a great many years and have sold circa 500 globally in the form of the Hayabusa and K20 VTEC kits, so named in tribute to the engines that provide the thrust – a great deal of thrust!

Kit Page Coming Soon!

Mini based Z Cars kit

Table Guide:
Δ Conventional setup. Should be supplied with donor engine
● Included
o Option
– Not available

Supplementary kits


There are supplementary kits such as the fuel, cooling and electrics which complement the main kit which can be added downstream to the build as the build progresses. These are optional to allow the cost of the parts to be spread rather than buying a larger kit in the beginning and not necessarily needing some elements of the kit until much later on in the project.

Inevitably, each project is likely to involve other personal touches all of which can be provided by Z Cars. The completed car can then be enhanced and upgraded over the period of ownership, with the company there to assist as required.

The kit design carries the distinct motorsport DNA of the company’s original founder, Chris Allanson whereby the handling can be finely tuned to the driver with adjustment for camber, caster, toe, ride height and damping. Anti-roll bars are available too. Unsurprisingly, the kits carry a strong track vibe, but there is so much more to a Z Car kit.

These kits supplement the main kits and can be purchased at the beginning as part of a bundle price or purchased later on as the project reaches the stage where a sub-kit is required. These include:

  • Coolant Pipe Kit

    coolant_pipe_kit

  • Z Car Radiator

    zcars_radiator

  • Z Car Fuel Tank

    zcars_fuel_tank

  • Bulkhead

    bulkhead

  • Big Brake Kit

    bigbrake_kit

  • Pedal Box

    pedalbox

  • Performance Exhaust

    performance_exhaust

  • Trickshifter

    trickshifterkit

  • Race door bars

    race_door_bars

  • Easy Access Bars

    easyaccessdoorbars

  • Anti Roll Bars

    antirollbars

  • Removable Steering Wheel

    removeable_steeringwheel

Fiat Kits

Fiat 500 Kits

zcarsfiat

We are pleased to be able to offer a complete new range of kits for another automotive Icon. With the Fiat 500 being rear engine already, we felt this would be an easier kit for a customer to build at home. The Subaru conversion retains the rear seat, whereas the bike conversions require the rear seat and rear bulkhead to be removed and a new bulkhead fitted behind the front seats up and over the engine.

With the standard car having a front to rear cooling and fuel setup, the kit is supplied without these elements but we can supply an uprated kit. With respect to the Daytona and Subaru conversions, where the engines are much cheaper, this represents a chance to build a complete car with a much lower budget. Indeed a factory build would be cheaper given the conversion is less complex than a Mini conversion.

With the finished cars likely to be capable of speeds well in excess of 100 mph, the kit includes a stronger double wishbone front suspension moving away from single sheer components and will include fully adjustable suspension for; camber, toe, caster, height and damping. Uprated vented disks on front and solid disks on the rear are also included.

Supplementary Kits for the Fiat 500 are also available.

Choose your Legend

GSX-R 1300 Generations 1 (-2007) & (2008+) Kit

In standard tune 173-197 BHP with a 6-speed gearbox, this engine has been the core engine for Z Cars. This conversion comes with the QBA3R, which subtly refines the driving experience for everyday usability. This conversion reduces maintenance and noise, adding convenience with integrated reverse options. Engine upgrades are available too.

Visit GSX-R 1300 Fiat Kit Page

Triumph Daytona 1050R Kit

This is a new addition to the range and is a legend in the making. This lighter, more compact, speed-triple unit has around 140 BHP in standard tune. We are looking to offer an engine upgrade kit to increase this to circa 160 BHP. The engines are less than half the price of a Hayabusa engine. This conversion includes the QBA2R with the integrated LSD and reverse.

Visit Daytona 1050R Fiat Kit Page

Subaru Kit under development

We are about to begin looking for prospective customers who might be interested in our Subaru. The engine we are selecting is the 2.5L EJ253 unit found in the Impreza and a few other models, with 165 BHP in standard tune. With the engine rotated 180 degrees, there is some re-engineering required in respect to the gearbox, which essentially means there is effectively 1 forward and 5 reverse gear ratios, so a new gear ratio kit is required and incorporated in with the kit. Any customers interested in having their car built at the same time as our development car whereby making a considerable saving on the kit and labour, should make enquiries to [email protected]. We are able to offer this to reduce the cost of the development and bring the kit to production earlier.

Visit Subaru Fiat Kit Page

Fiat 500 based Z Cars kits

Table Guide:

Δ Conventional setup. Should be supplied with donor engine
● Included
o Option
– Not available

Drive Train

To complement the bike-engine kits, and giving the owner more choice in respect to the driveability of a bike engine. These engine conversions can be a raw experience and quite distinct from the car engine variants, particularly when reversing your car, either pushing it manually… Or utilising the optional electric battery operated reverse. This is not for everybody, as it is a simple on/off action, and lacks the progressiveness and finesse of a throttle and clutch, as with the car engines. Subsequently we are including in the range of drive mechanisms from engineering specialists Quaife which to a certain extent add more refinement to a bike conversion.

Option 1

Available as a chain-driven kit with either an open differential or a Gripper LSD. There is an optional electric reverse kit. When you factor in an LSD and reverse, option 2, with the QBA2R is cheaper.

Option 2

Alternatively there is the optional Quaife QBA2R, a combined differential, reverse and reduction box assembly, which replaces the differential and electric reverse. It incorporates the Escort/Fiesta ATB helical gear limited slip differential. Available in drive ratios; 2.430 , 3.025, 3.767. Other permutations can be considered with different sprocket setups. Please enquire.

This setup increases everyday usability of the conversion for road use, and being a sealed unit (unlike the standard reverse kit) will not be susceptible to dirt and grit build-up from road use. This option takes away the considerable draw on the electrics, a shortcoming with the battery operated reverse and means the owner now has a conventional clutch and throttle to manoeuvre the car.

Quaife QBA2R

quaifeqba2r_pair

Option 3 (Hayabusa only)

Also available is the Quaife QBA3R gear drive system with integrated reverse which replaces the chain, sprockets, diff. and electric reverse. This unit was developed in association with Quaife and exclusive to Z Cars. In addition to all the advantages of the QBA2R, this setup replaces the chain and sprockets. This is a more refined conversion, and reduces the need for routine maintenance with a bike conversion where the chain-drive, requires adjusting and lubrication of the chain. The oil on the chain will also have a tendency to fly everywhere (there is a guard available to help localise this) but inevitably when parked up the car will leave an oil stain, which is not appreciated on a newly laid drive!

Quaife QBA3R

quaife-qba3r

Build Services

We are conscious that a Z Car conversion can involve activities which the customer is not comfortable doing themselves or may not have the skills, equipment or facilities to do so. The MD can relate to this!!

With this in mind, we have put together for indication purposes , a list of the various phases involved when fitting a kit, i.e. to help budget a typical build, allowing for phases of the build to be undertaken by Z Cars. Prices are guide prices for services, i.e. all parts are not included and should be purchased / supplied.

Where a number of services are selected, or a factory build is preferred, as you might expect, bundling of services would allow scope for a lower price to be charged overall on the services provided by Z Cars.

Build Services Available

Bespoke Options

Coming Soon!
ZCars Customer Car Gallery (32)

Luxury & Refinement

Coming Soon!

luxury_refinement_background

Kit Evolution

Over the years, the Z Cars kits have evolved and we have used the sabbatical to assess the kits and make a few enhancements ourselves.

  • With all the Z Cars range able to keep pace with today’s roads we will be moving to full Cold Drawn Seamless tubular frames which are stronger than the seam-welded tube kits.
  • The kits will now include 4 heavy duty floor reinforcement plates which should be welded into the four corners of the floor where the frame is bolted. This gives the shell more rigidity and should ensure the bolted frame has more integrity being bolted to a reinforced section of the floor.
  • The bearing carriers now have a slot for a sensor in readiness for our upcoming development of an ABS / Traction control unit. Given the personal commitment and cost in building or commissioning your build, being able to have some reassurance that there is an option available to help counter an unexpected eventuality and was something we would like to offer owners.
  • A new front subframe is being launched moving to a simpler double wishbone configuration. By moving the inboard shock absorbers out from inside the frame itself, we can offer a variety of options with the space saved. A fuel and cooling setup can be tailored to your requirements, such as longer range tank or a larger radiator for those warmer climates or maybe a larger battery if you’re running a number of accessories.
  • Installation instructions will be revised plus a flash-drive of the original DVDs for the Z Car Builder complemented by some new content for the new kits with short clips plus there will be templates for cutting out and strengthening the shell.
  • Our new chassis loom is our own design and the wiring harness is protected throughout with either convoluted tubing or nylon braiding depending on the environment. The harness is also modular so that the rear engine bay harness, the front engine bay harness, the ECU harness and the dashboard harness are separate and can be “mixed and matched” to suit your engine type or body shell. There has been an allowance for redundancy to add accessories at a later date with plenty of capacity for expansion. Comes complete with wiring diagrams and technical support.
  • There will be an infinite number of opportunities for personalisation. For example you can even have a frame Mig welded or upgrade to a Tig welded frame. While the track pedigree of Z Cars remains there is an alternate focus, with new levels of refinement. These are some examples to give a flavour of what these could be.
  • Continuing the refinement but in respect to the bike-engine options, there are two alternative upgrades for the bike differentials to address the draw on the electrics with the electric reverse kit. This issue can be exacerbated by the limitations at to the size of the alternator.
  • There have been major improvements to thermal management. A new bulkhead is being launched better insulating the cockpit from heat soak. We have developed a boot lid venting system (see below) to improve the heat extraction, which will combine with our other developments downstream; under-floor air deflectors and subtly blended vents within the wheel arches to duct air flow into the engine bay. There is also a deflector and duct built into the rear arms too (see below).

interior

interior3