Barn built machines are something we will thankfully always have. Some lunatic locks himself away with a smorgasbord of tools, a significant amount of money, and endless hours of machine work all in the name of creating something instead of buying it. That’s exactly what Alex Kelsey has done, but he has taken it to a level that is almost unbelievable.
I’m going to go ahead and say that those New Zealanders are outright crazy. First you have Burt Munro, who built his incredible record breaking Indian. Then you have this bloke, Alex Kelsey, who is essentially a ‘shade tree mechanic’ learning as he goes. He started rally racing at a young age, before building his first Impreza rally car while still in Highschool. Now when I say he built his Impreza, I don’t mean that he bolted a handful of purchased products onto the stock chassis and called it a day. No, I mean he built it. Constructing his own suspension components from scratch. It was this process that he credits a lot of his learning too.
But then it came time to do something radical, something truly unique. So like a true New Zealander, Alex decided to build his own rally car completely from scratch. The final product would go on to be called the MC2, an absolutely bonkers Rally Cross car. Being a self-taught suspension wiz, Alex elected to create a new double wishbone suspension instead of the tradition Mcpherson struts. Like the Impreza before it, Alex created and built all the pieces in his monstrous barn, a trend that would continue throughout the build. Alex designed and built his own tube chassis, and somehow managed to keep the weight extremely low.
Fully built, the MC2 only weighs 2200lbs, which is astonishingly light when you consider it’s a 450hp monster. It’s the power train that has set the MC2 apart from the pack. Alex, being the maniac that he is, sourced a Formula Renault engine for his creation, because a boosted inline-4 is too mainstream. The 3.5 V6 has more than enough power to haul this little jelly bean around the dirt like no one’s business, while also providing an exhaust note that is to die for. At its 8,500RPM redline, the MC2 is what I imagine an angel’s voice would sound like, if not better. The engine has then been mated to a SADEV 6 speed sequential transmission, with a custom gear set specifically for the MC2.
With this incredible drivetrain, the MC2 is capable of sprinting to 60 in a neck snapping 2.6-seconds. The MC2 keeps on that charge until it hits 120mph in 7-seconds flat, which happens to be the cars overall top speed. The acceleration is absolutely ferocious, and a top speed of over 100mph is more than enough for any rally stage. Because Alex is presumably not made of money, he did have to be conscious of where and what parts he got. If he couldn’t make it, he found a deal on it. Pretty much the best bang for the buck strategy. Using the brakes for example. They came off of a Subaru Rally car that didn’t make it past the Homologation stages, resulting in a less than demanding price. That doesn’t mean they aren’t any good, they happen to be a full prototype and feature water cooling. How cool is that?
Alex used a Peugeot Rally Cross body as the jumping off point for the exterior. He then went through and created his own molds, reusing only the roof panel when it came to the final product. The interior is equally fitting. Alex wanted that classic WRC feel, so he went with a simple design that showcased the MC2 as a racing machine. That meant a nice basic dash and a slew of switches in the center console.
The end result is a home built rally car that is so fast it’s illegal for certain events. Either way, it drips of cool, making me wish that we had a lot more Formula powered rally cars. Now, before anyone freaks out let me make this clear. Alex didn’t build this all on his own. He did design majority of it, and easily put in double the work as any other person that has touched it. But things like the body design, suspension, transmission, and engine have all had some type of input at the very least. Even if it was a team of people that built this car it would be spectacular, let alone a 20-something in his barn all because he can.