What does the name Arkley mean?
SS was a car. It was an English sport car. The
Arkley SS was designed by John
Britten in 1969 as a fibreglass front-end and rear-end body
conversion to be fitted to the MG Midget or Austin-Healey Sprite.
The fibreglass sections were manufactured by the
Lenham Motor Company at Harrietsham in Kent and conversions
done in John Britten's Arkley Engineering workshop at Arkley in
Hertfordshire or they were sold as DIY kits. The retro design was
inspired by the Morgan. A performance gain was made from the standard
Sprite or Midget through weight reduction and the obligatory wide
wheels and tyres. Around 900 Arkley kits were sold through the production
The Arkley was an English automobile, manufactured
by John Britten Garages workshops at Arkley in the London Borough
The first model was a two-seater called
designed by John Britten in 1970 (not to be confused with the famous
New Zealandian motorcycle designer, John Britten).
The retro "bug-eyed" design was
inspired by a mixture of the Morgan and the original Austin Healey
Sprite. The main purpose was recycling old rusty or damaged Austin-Healey
Sprites or MG Midgets. The Arkley SS utilised a BMC A-Series engine
launched by Austin in 1951.
The Arkley Midget used fibre glass front
and rear ends fitted to the donor car. Transformation did not affect
the main structural members. There were two versions, the S for
standard wheels and the SS for wide wheels.
Peter May, who had worked
with John Britten
Peter May Engineering in Halesowen in 1979 and bought the manufacturing
rights to the Arkley in 1987. Production continued via Peter May
Engineering until 1995, in the form of DIY kits.Since 1971, around
1000 kits have been sold, but the number surviving isnot known..Some
kits were modified such as a one-off called Pink Bathtub, produced
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