The idea to write this article popped up when I encountered Jason Reed's article about six bonkers hyper-cars you can order. Jason examined the market and hit a couple of “newborn” hyper-and-super-car makers (whatever is the difference) who are deliberate to produce and sell something very special soon. In majority of cases, the “soon” meant the poorly defined timespan, what should not prevent you from ordering something “very special” right now. I also noticed that the prices for that “very special” are very high. Very few people can actually order that “right now” to park it into their garages soon. Not to mention that the “special something” is usually equipped with very powerful power, which risks to be of meager refinement. Especially when you talk about the super-and-hyper-car makers with very little history and experience (responsibility?) behind their brands. As Jason pointed out himself:
“There are also dozens of fledgling ventures out there who have decided that their best bet in breaking into the car market and wrenching petrolheads’ attention away from the big boys is to produce an eyeball-destroying hyper-car whose performance figures are so mind-blowing your jaw will drop to the ground and stay there for a week. Never mind whether these cars actually ever get made. Everyone in the world is invited to hand over hundreds of thousands of dollars or more and receive in return only the promise of a car at some unspecified point in the future.”
Inspired by Jason's searches, I launched my own attempt to find a proper driving machine. By writing “proper” I mean unique, super-looking, fun-to-drive, already on sale and affordable car. And I found this:
This is the K-1 Attack open roadster. Initially designed in Bratislava, Slovakia, now manufactured in the suburbs of Prague, Czech Republic (both European Union). First roadsters hit the road in early 2000s. The official “hello to the world” was delivered by them in 2002 at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
The K-1 Attack is a mid-engined pocket-rocket with the rear wheel drive and 57:43 distribution. It can weight below 900 kg (the actual weigh depends on the engine type). Its body is a custom-made fibreglass monocoque: 4,04 m long, 1,86 m wide and 1,05 m tall. It has pop-up wing doors like the McLaren Senna or Lamborghini Countach. It also comes with the kevlar sport seats, double wishbone suspension in the front and rear, adjustable ground clearance and a variety of mountable engines: from Honda's 2,0 F20 to Ford's Duratec 3,0 V6. The spectrum of engine power ranges between 130 and 800 hp and depends on your racing ambition. Because the drivetrains are provided by other manufacturers, the spares come comparatively cheap. For those, who worship security, the K-1 Attack has a tubular frame backbone. This means that even if you crash the wall of Nürburgring, your body should not suffer major damage. Unless you did not fasten the seatbelts.
One of the first journalists who ever reviewed 3,0 V6 K-1 Attack, Ben Arnold from the “Autobild”, wrote the following in 2008 (translation from German is my own):
“Only with the sober mind the K1 can be driven quickly and reach its limit. When pushed into motion, the K1 beats stronger but heavier Porsche Boxster S (Model 2006). He lags for only a few tenths of a second behind the 343-hp Z4 M roadster … Those who despise the [Lotus] Elise as “too” mass-produced, can find themselves interested in this: uncompromising quality of the K1 roadster which presents a serious alternative to any form of the automotive caprice. Above all, the opponents of the car-enhancing electronics will enjoy the purist nature of this artistic fighter [K-1 is a type of martial arts – O.N.]. His sometimes treacherous driving behaviour and frivolity should be treated as a challenge.”
The K-1 Attack makers are proud to underline everywhere that their roadster is entirely custom made. The idea behind its creation was to please the demanding owner with a sharp-cut design, perfect driving abilities and feel of entertaining engagement. Also, the car was supposed to come “cheap”. For this reason, the maker offers you a plethora of ordering options.
The most “common” of these options is the K-1 Attack as a kit. This means that after you transfer the money, a huge box of car parts will arrive by your door. And you will need to assemble the roadster yourself. This may sound burdensome, but the kit was designed for a simple installation. No cutting, no welding, no hammering. If you read and follow the instructions carefully, the K-1 Attack will be ready within two or three weeks. You will need to use only basic mechanics' tools – including the 10 mm socket – for success.
The kit prices start from $9,900. However, in this case, the box will contain very few car parts. The bare shell (chassis), actually. I advice you to invest a bit more and cross the $20,000 point. For this money you will get almost the whole car, from the front lip to rear spoiler. The only thing remaining would be to buy the drivetrain, which can come as cheap as $500 (if you opt for Honda's parts).
Surely, you can have the K-1 Attack as a turn-key roadster assembled by the maker. But this will cost you more money. Not to speak that assembling the car yourself will make you feel more related to it. The car will embrace your sweat, tears, blood and dreams. Assembling K-1 Attack also may turn out to be a good business! You order the kit for $20,000, spend two or three weeks in a garage and sell it as the turn-key car for $60,000. Look at the proofs:
Personally, I think that the K-1 Attack is a proper car for the demanding petrolheads who have no money for Ferrari or Catherham. Even for the used. And who like racing their cars, not keeping them in a fabric in the garage. Finally, the K-1 Attack may become a proper first car!
Looking deeper into the topic, I found on one of the US forums that the owners complained on the K-1 Attack consumer support in 2010s. Assembling instructions came in all languages, but not in English. The maker did not respond on the E-mails in time. To check whether this is true, as well as to get some extra details, I decided to write Petr Beneš, Production Department boss (CEO?) at the B-racing company by myself. The response was immediate. It also came in a proper English. After a couple of mails, Petr agreed for a short interview.
—Hi Petr. Can you tell me where all the K-1 affair emerged from?
—Hi Ost. The K-1 Attack idea originally belongs to Dick Kventansky, the head of K-1 Styling and Tuning. He co-developed the design and launched production of the first kit cars in the early 2000s. His company was stationed in Slovakia. I started as one of his customer by purchasing the K-1 kit many years ago. As the time passed, we became friends with Dick and decided to set cooperation. At its first stage, my company, B-racing, became the K-1 dealer (distributor). Since 2014 my company became the only official manufacturer. This means that the production moved to the Czech Republic. When I look back into history, this was a milestone for B-racing.
—How many people work for B-racing today?
—The core of the company is made of six enthusiasts who love cars. But we wouldn't be able to work without suppliers who manufacture the K-1 parts. Suppliers are scattered all over the Czech Republic. As a rule, they are the leading motorsport companies in our segment. Thanks to this we are able to provide our customers the highest quality products.
—So, you are not the big multinational automotive corporation.
—No, we are not.
—Why did the K-1 emerge as a roadster (not a family saloon, for example)? Why was it branded “Attack”?
—Family saloons are boring and the K-1 creators sought for originality and exceptionality. The design was supposed to be eye-catching. No surprise that it all ended up with the roadster. The brand “Attack” was chosen in the time when the attack word had a different value and was not that often used in the world as it is today. The brand “Attack” was supposed to evoke ingenuity and extravagance. To stir – or attack – the kit cars market.
—What is the philosophy behind your company? What makes do craft the K-1 as it is?
—I would characterise our car with two key words: originality and fun. We want our customers to enjoy the feeling of uniqueness in the car with the perfect driving qualities. We want our costumers to be happy and smile while driving. Also, we aim to reach all interested people and projects, notwithstanding of their budgets. We never regarded the K-1 as a toy for the richest social groups, racing companies or elite drivers.
—What are your plans for the future? Will there be Attack Mk2?
—The K-1 Attack Mk2 is a very distant concept at the moment. The first Attack model, which is currently on sale, has yet to fulfil its potential. Therefore, we are currently preparing a new showroom. It will be opened in the first months of 2019. Above all, we decided to improve the communication with our costumers. We want to provide them with new levels of service, support and care.
—How many K-1 are there in the world and what countries do they drive in?
—I can only estimate that there are about 350 K-1 Attack's in the world. Majority of them hit roads of the US, Canada and the UK. But honestly, our cars can be found almost everywhere. As the company, we are also open for exploration of new countries and markets.
—When did you start racing the K-1 and what are your successes in the motorsport?
—For me personally, motorsport – specifically racing – is a time for relaxation. I'm not doing it professionally. For my company, racing is a dare necessity to test new components in extreme conditions.
The car we see great potential in is the Attack GTR racing version (powered by the K20 Honda engine). Unfortunately, it undergoes a major fix now. A collision with a competitor on a closed circuit undermined our ambitions for this year. But I believe we will achieve some good results in the 2019 season.
My personal success which I'm very proud of is the best 10,9 sec time in the quarter-mile drag race in my new K-1 (powered by the 3S-GTE Toyota engine). That race took place on a “conventional” airport with no special surface. The car competed on the street legal tyres. The time was recorded by a professional timekeeper. It's a tremendous feeling to drive a car that you build with your own hands and which is faster than a stock Nissan GTR!
—Petr, thank you for your time and answers.
Now, mates, if you think that I wrote this article for your sole entertainment – you are wrong. I wanted to share the information which you can make use of and buy yourself something fast, bright and beautiful.
At least, I have already started saving money. I want this pocket-rocket!
Here is the configurator:
And here's the judgement of a professional designer on the K-1 exterior:
Want to know how the hero image was sketched? Check out this:
Finally, the answer why the K-1 Attack is better than Mazda Mx-5:
P.S. Matt Parsons can be reached here: www.behance.net/Matthew_Parsons_SA