History of the Birkin Sportscar
The name ‘Birkin’ first found fame in the hands of Sir Henry ‘Tim Birkin’. This Legendary British racer was responsible for the development of the famous supercharged 4.5litre ‘blower’ Bentley, which he drove to victory in the 1928 Le Mans 24 hour. Birkin’s flamboyant racing career is recorded in his book ‘Full Throttle’ written to inspire young enthusiasts whose interests lay in the motorsport.
The Birkin company was founded in 1982, by John Watson to manufacture performance cars and components. Birkin swiftly earned an enviable international reputation for craftsmanship and quality. In 1983 the Birkin S3 was born out of a love for the legendary Lotus Super Seven and has been widely acclaimed as one of the finest quality classic reproductions in the world — quite an accomplishment for this small but dynamic company based in Pinetown, South Africa.
The history begins in the back yard of a service station in a small workshop of not more than fifty square metres. The South African Lotus dealer heard about the vehicle and arranged to view it. Based on their observations they offered a contract to John to build cars.
The Birkin S3 made its debut at the South African Grand Prix at Kyalami in 1983. The high profile launch, staged by the RSA Lotus distributors, was attended by Hazel Chapman, the widow of the late Colin Chapman and the Lotus Formula One Drivers, Nigel Mansell and Elio de Angelis.
The Birkin S3 was an instant success and an initial build of 12 limited edition cars, finished in Team Lotus ‘JPS black and gold livery, was commissioned by the Lotus dealers.
Nearly 8000 Birkin S3’s have been produced worldwide since 1988 with numerous awards and glowing endorsements in kit car magazines and web rings. Birkin Cars have turned their attention to the requirements of the driver, recognizing that the customer of today demands the ultimate in performance. Following on from the successful development of the Birkin live axle cars; the incorporation of IRS and the all-new ‘XS’ is the result of the evolution of Birkin product technology to create a new generation car with a classic silhouette.
Birkin Cars has an ISO9001 standard production line with a production capacity of 300 cars per year.
Birkin in Australia
The Birkin marque has been strongly represented in Australia with local distributors working with the Birkin Cars factory to ensure the ownership experience is second-to-none.
From 1999 to 2005 PRB Australia distributed the Birkin S3 kits as the ‘PRB Birkin S3’ with over 150 being built in the 6 year period.
In 2006 Birkin Sportscars Pty Ltd was established to give the marque its own identity. Meridian Motorsport and later Motowest both contributed to further development with Birkin S3’s becoming known as the best ‘clubman’ style kits available.
In July 2017 after many years as the ACT Sales Agent Bryn Koning has stepped up to lead Birkin Sportscars Pty Ltd into an exciting new direction.