In 1989 there was a complete change of track and Robin Hood started making the S7 a range of Lotus Seven inspired kit cars.
In 1989, a Triumph TR7 based Robin Hood was introduced with the affordable price tag of £995 + VAT. Motoring enthusiasts showed their support and several kits were sold, development of the new product was continual and feed back from customers was carefully analysed, a range of engine sizes were needed so that even the very young could afford to run such a vehicle. The Triumph Dolomite superseded the TR7 as donor vehicle, a popular choice with engines ranging from the purring 1100cc to the roaring 2000cc Sprint.
The path hasn't always been a clear one for Robin Hood, High Court action from Caterham almost stopped production, however good legal advise and a strong belief in what they were doing soon settled that problem. Even today Robin Hood are careful not to deviate from the strict guidelines set down as a result of the action.
The Monocoque style chassis (a structure formed from sheet steel without tubes) was manufactured using the Triumph Dolomite, Ford Cortina and Ford Sierra as donor vehicle. Although the donor vehicles and basic designs may have altered throughout the years, the main policy to supply value for money kits is as important today as it ever was. Whilst other manufacturers had customers trawling scrap yards for an assortment of components to build cars, the Robin Hood policy of "One kit + one donor vehicle = car on the road" has obviously been an invaluable selling point.
During 1996 and 1997 sales of Robin Hoods peaked at over 500 kits per year, larger premises and new machinery were purchased to maintain production. It was during 1998 that the first signs of change again began to show. With the much publicised introduction of the Single Vehicle Approval test the public were not so keen to embark on a build, preferring to wait and see what was going to happen. Implementation dates were put off several times by the Government and the whole of the kit car industry suffered.
This slack period enabled the owner to look carefully at Robin Hood Engineering's operations, and now in his fifties, ideally would have liked to have sold the business to allow him to concentrate on other interests. But with no offers forthcoming, the license to manufacture Monocoque chassis's about to expire and the recent heavy investment in new CNC machinery, the only option was to carry on with a brand new model.
With the assistance of a team of expert chassis designers, a revolutionary new chassis was conceived. Manufactured mainly from 38mm o/d round tube the chassis, even to the novice, is a very impressive engineering achievement. The tubes in the chassis take approximately five minutes to bend and then assembly and welding perhaps a further hour, the perfect recipe for a new budget kit.
The new style chassis was affectionately called the 'tubey' by staff and the 'Project 2B' (get it?) was adopted as the kit name. Between the bulk collection dates of 21st August and December 11th 1999, exactly 205 kits were collected. Bulk collections have always been successful at Robin Hood Engineering, the record being one collection day in 1997 totalling 125 comprehensive kits. The factory covers 30,000 square feet and is on a one and a half acre site.