Sylva Autokits is a kit car manufacturer based in Lincolnshire, England. Sylva was founded in 1981 by Jeremy Phillips and has developed and produced a number of small and lightweight sports cars. Sylva cars have proven very successful in competition, winning a number of 750 Motor Club Kit Car championships.
Sylva has sold many of its older designs to other kit car manufacturers, such as selling the Fury to Fisher Sportscars, the Stylus to Specialist Sports Cars, and the Striker to Raw. By doing so, Jeremy Phillips and Sylva have been able to focus on newer designs and ideas, such as the current Sylva Mojo 2 and R1ot.
The first Sylva car launched in 1982. The Sylva Star kit was based on a purpose built two seater chassis using the front subframe and the rear axle from a donor Vauxhall Viva the car was most often powered by 1300 and 1600 four cylinder Ford Kent crossflow engines, though other engine options were available. The Sylva Star was the first in a long line of small, agile two seater open top cars designed by Jeremy Phillips and built for fun and economy.
The Sylva Leader was an evolution of the Sylva Star retaining the two seater, open top, layout but with improved design features. The two piece fiberglass body consisted of a front hinging bonnet (hood) and low sided passenger compartment. Engine options were Ford Kent Crossflow and Fiat Twin cam engines. Some Sylva Star owners replaced the front with the narrower and more curved Leader front body piece.
The manufacturing rights for the Leader were first sold to Nials Johannson who continued to make the kits under the name Swindon Sportscars.
The most enduring of the Sylva models the Striker was a radical evolution of the Star and Leader dropping the Viva donor car in favour of purpose built suspension and lighter bodywork. The car was aimed at two markets, the home car builder that required an economical kit that could be built using readily available mechanics tools and the more demanding race car builder who favoured good handling and simple design.
The Phoenix was a built for race version of the Striker. The core chassis was similar but the fiberglass bodywork was developed for race purposes with a curved and lowered front and wheel covering outer edges. Used extensively in the kitcar race series the Phoenix is still a popular choice for less expensive end of clubman motorsport. The design was sold by Sylva to Stuart Taylor Motorsport who have since sold it on again. It has recently found a new home with Raw Engineering who also own the rights to the Striker.
Launched in 1991 and sold to Fisher Sportscars in 1994. Currently owned by Fury Sportscars who recently purchased the rights from BGH Geartech., based in Kent UK. The Fury has been very successful in competition with cars currently racing in many championships, including the 750 Motor Club's RGB (Road-Going Bike-Engined Kitcar) and Kitcar series. Many different engines can be fitted to the Fury, including all manner of car engines from the Ford Crossflow to Rover V8 and Cosworth Turbo. Motorbike engines have also been fitted and are popular for track cars due to the low weight, high power and built-in sequential gearbox for relatively little morey. There are two versions of the Fury rear suspension, the Live Axle version uses the Ford Escort rear axle located using two trailing links in conjunction with a Panhard rod. Coil over shock absorbers are used to give good ride comfort combined with excellent handling and grip. The Independent Rear Suspension version uses the Ford Sierra rear hub assembly in conjunction with purpose built hub carriers forming the uprights between upper and lower wishbones. Once again, coil over shock absorbers ensure a refined ride quality and excellent traction.
Launched in 1994 and sold to Specialist Sports Cars in 1996.
The first Styluses used a modified Fury chassis, afterwards a purpose built chassis was made to accommodate the lowered doors. The front rocker arms were upgraded with needle bearings and the front lower arms got redesigned to prevent the lower ball joints being damaged. As with most Sylva models, various engines can be fitted.
In 2003, the Stylus RT was launched making it a modern looking sportscar.
The Stylus RT (Road & Track) uses the SSC standard chassis, but with wider front suspension, & use wheel spacers at rear or if De-Dion this can also be made wider. The rear wing was developed at Swansea University in there motorsport dept. The RT also has a full front splitter and a rear diffuser. These 3 aerodynamic aids are optional extras. SSC fitted quad style lights. A standard Stylus can be modified to RT specification.
Specialist Sports Cars sold the rights to Stylus Sports Cars in 2004, based in mid-Wales, but this company ceased trading in 2008.
As of 2014, the Stylus returned under new ownership, located on the UK south coast. A promised MX5 based SDV version of the Stylus remains in development and is expected to appear in time for the Stoneleigh show in 2017.
Mk 1 Fiesta based fun car now produced by Harlequin Autokits.
The Jester Kit has recently been bought by Stingray Motorsport in Ripley, Derbyshire. Working with Jeremy Phillips, Stingray Motorsport has taken the Jester through a full re-development process, the Jester now uses a more modern and easily available donor, the Ford KA. The new Jester is now available, it's simple to build and with adjustable AVO shocks and Cobra seats it should be possible to build a complete car for under £5000.00.
The Mojo was launched in 2000. It was originally designed around the front-wheel-drive engine and gearbox from a Mk2 Fiesta, but with the whole setup fitted at the rear to give a mid-mounted transverse setup. The Ford CVH engine was standard, but other engines such as Ford Zetec, Toyota 4AGE and Renault 5 GT Turbo were also used.
The Mojo used a de dion rear suspension setup combined with another variation on the Sylva inboard front suspension design.
The Mojo 2 is a redesigned Mojo with independent double wishbone rear suspension. The body was redesigned at the rear, and 2 new nose designs introduced.
A further development of the Mojo 2, which took the rear chassis design of the Riot SE to give a slightly longer wheelbase to accommodate a wider variety of engines. The rear bodywork was redesigned to accommodate the extra length behind the rear bulkhead.
The Riot is a motor cycle engined version of the Mojo 2. The original version used a Yamaha R1 engine and was called the R1ot. Later it was redesigned to take a Ford Zetec SE and was called Riot SE. It went on to become "Kit Car of the Year 2005".