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The most challenging and gratifying experience of my late twenties was closing a successful photographic business and embarking on a dream to manufacture a line of innovative vehicles. These ranged from Electric City Cars to single seat Inner-Urban mondules to redesigned vehicles on existing British chassis. The GT project began with the purchase of a McLaren MK l chassis and a Rover Buick 3.5 engine as research showed these to be the best combination for this project. My search for a coachbuilder led me to Charlie Williams, one of England's foremost craftsmen. I knew at our first meeting that our relationship would be heartfelt and productive; out-of-the-box creatively.

Charlie, a gracious and wonderful guide, undertook the building of Ikenga from my clay mockups and drawings. In our three years of collaboration the Ikenga GT went through three design changes. Ikenga's body was hand rolled aluminium bonded to the McLaren tubular chassis. The completed vehicles were a mere thirty-nine inches high and weighed a less than eighteen hundred pounds dry. The interior was cozy due to the wide sills of the mid-engine McLaren racing chassis but this was not a deterrent for a proof-of-concept vehicle. Ikenga GTs were styled/designed as a contemporary African mask-on-wheels that faced skyward to Spirit. The nose enclosed a ducted radiator behind the cockpit and a closed circuit camera for rear vision. The mouth, the rectangular panel in the photo, served as both an entry into the luggage area and as an airbrake.

Ikenga's acceleration was awesome and its handling all that one would expect from a McLaren—precise with double wishbone and anti-roll bar setup at both ends. The Ikenga MK l, pictured in its green reflective-paint for nightime safety, was our first big design test! Five other inner-city and recreational concept vehicles were under development while work on the Ikenga GT series proceeded.

Ikenga MK l   1967

Built by Charles Williams
One of England's Greatest Coach Builders
Designed by David Gittens . . .

. . . With the support of talented friends, artists, and engineers, during the very exciting mid-60s while on a creative sojourn in London. The Ikenga GTs went through three stylistic improvements, each of which incorporated the most advanced technlogy of the era - Closed circuit TV for rear vision, electronic accident warning systems, and electronic sensors for parking. Rubber moulding was incorporated in the bumpers and side trim, fluorescent lighting was used for inner-city night driving, and reflective paint was featured in the MK l GT.