C1 Autoworks is an independent workshop & performance engineering boutique located near Hexham, UK - specialising in the C1/107/Aygo and Toyota 1KR-FE engine.
Providing quality engineering solutions for fast road & competition...
We design & fabricate original C1 Autoworks parts in-house.
Our store features a choice selection of products to wring the best performance from your C1.
Bespoke anything; from hand-wired switch panels to ported cylinder heads.
We are proud to offer low-volume, high-quality work.
The first car I bought was a classic Mini with a 1275cc A-series injection engine - I fell in love with the C1, Aygo & 107 cars for much the same reason;
With it's humble impression, widespread appeal and accessible platform for motorsport, the 21st century C1 shares that essence of its 20th century predecessor.
Having owned a few over the years it didn't take long to realise there was something about it which made it particularly fun and unique. Everyone has their reason for liking these cars but to me the strength of its platform lies in its well-prioritised simplicity, lack of intrusive electronic control systems and the fact it doesn't try to be something it isn't. The compact dimensions offer an impressively agile platform and Toyota hit the nail on the head with the lightweight, revvy 1KR-FE engine. In the right hands, the pair make for a pure & entertaining driving experience with privateer rallying potential similar to the lightweight hatchbacks of yesteryear.
2017, I sought my opportunity to get into hillclimb and sprint racing; the humble 107 was undoubtedly the car I was going to do it in.
This journey has culminated in the quality work, products & knowledge you'll find here..
"Simplify and add lightness"
Performance is defined as excellence in efficiency
and its pursuit characterised by this philosophy -
most notably by Colin Chapman.
The C1 is a platform from which to work; one that adheres to the principle at a cost attainable by most people in a position to drive a car.
There aren't many cars you can drive flat out on the road and safely explore the limit - whilst you can comfortably do high speeds in larger vehicles, the C1 feels every bit as fast as you're travelling and rewards momentum in the corners. For all intentions it might well make for the best driving experience in the world; that really depends on your interpretation of what a 'driver's car' does and what you expect to gain from the experience.
At present the strength of the C1 platform is largely preceded by its image as a cheap shopping runabout and the ill-advised notion that bigger must be better. The reality is a hidden gem reserved only for the more astute individual.
The potential of the 1KR-FE has been demonstrated in the past by outfits like TOM's Racing, who elected to use it as a basis for their Japanese F20 series race engine. Toting a dry sump, formula-style ITB intake plenum and long-branch 3-1 exhaust manifold; the engine produced a claimed 120hp @ 6500rpm before the series was cancelled to make way for the current F4 championship format.
We'll never know what could have been but in a couple of low-res press images and a few lines of Japanese text, TOM's managed to create a legacy that captured my imagination and no doubt other's too.
Over here in the West at least, the legend of the 1KR-F20 lives on.
There are currently 2 spec-racing championships in the UK who offer an accessible route into endurance racing using the standard 1KR-FE equipped C1 chassis as their basis and similarly its had much success in the F1000 Rally Championship.
Motorsport provides a wealth of knowledge; these aspiring UK series have inspired some of the direction I've taken with the chassis. Simple things like shimming the rear hubs to adjust the toe & camber angle of the wheels are adopted in the technical regulations of both the C1 Racing Club and the BRSCC Cup. Their specification for suspension struts, spring-rates & bushing compounds are also worth noting. However, spec racing is always going to be limited by its regulations in what you can do with the engine -
There are areas outside the template to explore & improve on and that's exactly what I set out to do with C1 Autoworks.
The C1 Autoworks development concept succeeds in working with the car's existing strengths, ironing out its compromises and bringing the entire package up to a polished level of performance that wasn't feasible for the manufacturer.
With a keen eye for detail and an inherent engineering talent we're constantly developing and refining our output. Working with external outfits such as a world-renowned performance exhaust fabricator and precision manufacturer in Fort William, to consultation from a current Formula 1 aerodynamicist and ambassador of motorsport activities in the South as well as drawing on the vast knowledge of local machine works and manufacturing suppliers in order to achieve our goals. We adopt progressive techniques and innovative approaches in developing our line of performance engineering solutions for these cars.
In-house Fused Filament Fabrication processes, 3D CAD and simulation modelling for rapid prototyping, adaptable small-scale polymer resin casting, CNC milling on state-of-the-art equipment and good old-fashioned time & dedication with traditional hand processing -
We're incredibly fortunate to have access to the tools and expertise we need to produce outstanding quality components.
In addition, we aim to refine the solid technical platform provided by Daihatsu/Toyota in the 1KR-FE engine.
Our ported cylinder head, intake manifold & throttle body focus on blueprinting & reworking the original items to remove the flashes, the imperfections; the compromise left by the manufacturing process. Our blended contours reduce port turbulence, we reshape key areas to improve airflow and correct any misalignment in the assembly, our surface finishing not only looks stunning but promotes intake & exhaust gas velocity for improved volumetric efficiency. This approach ensures the car retains the function and reliability of a production vehicle whilst increasing its power, efficiency & response as well as avoiding the compounding costs that drastically changing one particular component for another can have.
The result of our subtle yet comprehensive refinement is an extremely well-sorted engine with reliability and performance exceeding that of the manufacturer's original specification.
Ultimately, I find these cars remarkably enjoyable to own - their economy, accessibility and engineering simplicity lend to that appeal - and my lust for performance drives our development to produce a fun and agile package for road & competition.
Welcome to C1 Autoworks; a bastion of the real driving connoisseur.
The aftermarket is full of bold claims and false expectations...
The much debated and wildly speculated topic of performance air filters is a good example of this.
Performance tuning, especially with these engines, requires a bit of finesse.
Our performance package is designed to work in unison. Just like a biological organism, ecological system, a successful enterprise or nature itself: You must consider the entire engine, intake & exhaust as a single entity constructed of many parts working toward a common goal. You can't expect to find 10hp in one place but if you can find 1hp in 10 different places - that's the trick.
It's also important to consider relative weights and outputs in your expectation of what 'faster' means on paper - this is great in our case - The C1 Autoworks sprint car has a kerb weight approaching as little as 700kg; that's less than half the weight of a 'normal' passenger vehicle. It is commonly said that finding 10hp is a notable gain for even the most heavy-handed driver. Well, finding 10hp in one of these things feels like finding 20-30hp in that respect.
Don't be fooled by figures and false expectations or the naysayers and in turn I'll try not to mislead you.
Starting with our induction system on an otherwise standard vehicle is going to change how that engine feels to drive for the better but to make more outright power you also have to remove the restrictions further downstream, draw more air through the engine, have an exhaust system that evacuates those gasses effectively in the required range and makes the most of the timing events and air mass flowing through that system. It's this unified and wholesome approach that achieves great results;
At the same time, you do have to make that first step and that's why I would implore anybody interested in eking performance from their car to start by simply swapping out the air filter for a performance alternative - It is a rite of passage and in taking that first leap, well, who knows where you'll end up...
"It aint what you got, it's what you do with what you have.
It aint what you do, it's how you do it." - Kenny Dixon Jr