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The order was placed with Ronart Cars in August 1999 as a factory-built car, but on the basis that Graham would provide his own V12 engine and gearbox. The idea was that this would give me a whole area to work on whilst waiting for a production slot at the factory.

In the end I was introduced to Brian Ball and so impressed by his work that I decided to entrust the engine build to him. The fuel system was a big decision: visually two banks of twin-choke Webers is hard to beat; however, for reasons of efficiency and maintenance, I decided to go with fuel injection. Brian Ball built the engine to a superb standard as the picture gallery will reveal, and it was completed and sat on a pallet, occasionally run up to full oil pressure (90psi) on the starter. Brian also rebuilt the rear axle, again to a beautiful standard, delivered on a pallet.

It was soon clear that Ronart Cars were deeply involved in the new Lightning project and that I would have a long wait for the new V12. So, to tide me over, and provide some exciting motoring I bought Bill Smith's W152 Mark 2, a straight-six. VFM13K was a super car, but I had to convert it from automatic to Jaguar 5-speed manual and made many other improvements. I ran it for 2 years until it had to be sold in order to release the funds for completion of the new V12.

Delays still prevailed at the Ronart factory and in the end I decided to ask for the order to be converted to a kit so that I could get on with the build myself. This did not remove all the delays but, two years later (Summer 2004) the car has passed its SVA and been registered as GHH202. It is Ronart W152 number 91.

GHH202 features a 1978 pre-HE 5.3 litre flat-head V12 with customised fuel injection ECU with the full AJ6 Engineering Plus-Torque kit, and an AJ6-designed intake system which picks up air through large K&N filters in the nose-cone. Finally an Accusump deals with pre-oiling and anti-surge. The gearbox is a Getrag 5-speed and the rear axle a 3.09 PowerLok unit (5th gear gives 36mph per 1000rpm). The brakes are AP Racing Road/Track discs/calipers. The wheels are Turrino (Borrani) wires with alloy rims and stainless spokes, and unique W152 V12 three-eared spinners, fitted with Avon Turbospeed 235/70/15 tyres for road use, plus a set of Realm D-Type replica alloys with lower-profile tyres for track use.

The dashboard is machine-turned alloy. Instrumentation is comprehensive, with 5" Jaguar rev counter, and speedo converted to digital, and oil and water gauges are mechanical for accuracy. Herwin clock and stopwatch are dashboard-fitted; Brantz Retrotrip & Laser3, plus Peltor intercom are fitted under the dash, with an Origin Blue-i to provide satellite warning of static speed traps as well as exact speed and direction. The battery is a lightweight aircraft-type with a hybrid electronic isolator/immobiliser. Upholstery is black leather piped in red.

The entire bodywork was custom-made in carbon-fibre and fitted by the factory - the only W152 to be made with this material (a side-benefit of being built alongside the carbon-fibre Lightning). Also custom-made, uniquely to this car (apart from Arthur Wolstenholme's own V12 Grand Prix Special, which is now being built as the first Vanwall prototype) is the high-level manifolding and exhaust system, "Spitfire-style".

The colour is Passion Red with a carbon-grey stripe. The painting was superbly done by the prisoners of Littlehey Prison, near Cambridge, under the supervision of John Paterson. The panels of the fully assembled car were dismantled, prepared, painted and polished, and then carefully reassembled. All this took weeks, much longer than a normal commercial job; the result is eye-catching.

Movie of the build project - Movie of the W152 V12 build project