The internet is a marvelous thing. One moment, you are trolling through youtube looking for interesting videos, and the next minute you find yourself writing a note to the anonymous person who posted a cool video of his homebuilt racer. The next day, you get a reply from an affable Swede, an ocean away, who is pleased to tell you all about his awesome project! The project in question is the Alfa Seven! Essentially, it’s a magnificent Alfa V6 mounted in a custom-made Lotus-seven-inspired chassis. The builder of this wonderful-sounding machine (listen to the video below!) is one Ronny Norkvist, and he didn’t just buy a kit and bolt it together, folks! This is a one-off car built entirely from the ground up with a great deal of planning and thought. He employed 3D CAD modelling to develop his concept before building it, and Ronny even molded his own fiberglass hood (visible in the video clip) from scratch! I’ll let him tell the story in his own words. Our interview follows below:
Automobiliac: So give me a general overview of the project.
Ronny Norkvist: Ok, this is my first car built. Because I wanted to find a cheap and relatively simple projects, choosing the Seven-style concept was obvious. Since I had an old Alfa 75 standing around, it seemed natural to use it as donor car. That this would cause a lot of extra work, because of the rear gearbox, I was well aware of. In order that the work would run as smoothly as possible, I decided to CAD up my ideas first. This proved to be an invaluable advantage! The work to re-construct the original concept to fit the Alfa Parts began in summer 2003. In summer 2004, after a year in front of the computer, the "real" construction work began. During construction, the engine [was upgraded] several times. From 2 Liter 4cyl to newer 2L twinspark to 2.5 Liter V6 (Alfa 75 Milano) and finally to 164 3.0 Liter V6 engine.
A: What inspired you to build this car and how long did it take?
RN: The inspiration is the original lotus seven and of course the book by Ron Champion "Build your own sports car". CAD work took from 2003-2004 and construction work from 2004-2007. Another inspiration is the brilliant locost website in sweden (www.locostsweden.se) --great forum.
A: What challenges have you found with using the Alfa V6 and transaxle if any, and why did you choose the Alfa engine?
RN: I´m stubborn ;) several guys told me that I could not fit the big rear transmission from Alfa in the little seven. I had to show them it was possible. But of course the real answer is that I like Alfa and my dream was to build my own car. And this concept is relatively cheap and simple.
Because of the Alfa transmission, I could not use the drawings from Ron’s book. I had to do make a new design of the whole concept. Wider, longer and with oversize transmission tunnel. But I did not use the Alfa original dedion suspension at rear. It was more fun to create new suspension, and maybe a little bit lighter.
A: What are your driving impressions of the car?
RN: Actually I don’t have a lot of experience of fast cars. I´m more of a builder, so I don´t know. But it feels very fast and very nice to drive.
On one track day this summer I was faster or equally fast as these cars: Porsche 944turbo, Corvette C5 Z06, BMW M3, Evo6, Golf R32 Turbo, Porsche 968 CS, Audi 90q-85, 944 Turbo S, Audi s2, Nissan Skyline R32GTRS -90. That was a good feeling :)
Anyway, compared to other sevens my car is not the fastest, not even close...
Here is the video clip of the magnificent engine sound!
Ronny also wanted to mention his exciting new project: He is building a new racer called the ROX GT60, which is meant to re-create the look and feel of a late 60's prototype road racer, but at an affordable price. You can check in on his progress here:www.roxgt.se
It seems ambitious, but for a man who spent so much time building the Alfa Seven, we feel confident he'll eventually get this one done as well! Keep me posted, Ronny!
All photos courtesy Ronny Norkvist