top of page

The First Riley Kar-Kraft Continuation of the legendary MkIV Completed



MOORESVILLE, NC (February 16, 2024) – Riley completed the first Kar-Kraft MkIV (chassis J-20) of their continuation car build plan. Taking on the Kar-Kraft assets including tooling, fixtures, molds, and engineering drawings, Riley has produced the authentic and period-correct MkIV for those looking to own a part of history.


The MkIV is an iconic car, it won the famed Sebring 12 hours in 1967 with drivers Mario Andretti and Bruce McLaren as well as the historic LeMans 24 hours in the same year with drivers AJ Foyt and Dan Gurney.


The original MkIV, known as the “J-Car”, was the first race car produced with an aluminum honeycomb chassis combined with a steel roll-cage with the goal of creating a lighter, yet stronger car. This type of design, born from the aerospace industry, became the basis for motorsports chassis construction until carbon-fiber tubs emerged many years later. Kar-Kraft, an independent Michigan-based race constructor and automotive prototype company, was commissioned by Ford to develop the GT40 MkII and then subsequently build and develop the MkIV.





In the 1960s, a young design engineer named Bob Riley was working for Kar-Kraft in Detroit. Ford had commissioned Kar-Kraft with a top-secret project that eventually went on to win Le Mans. Since those early days, Bob, and eventually his son, Bill, would go on to design, engineer, and build cars that have been dominant forces in nearly every major racing series, including NASCAR, IndyCar, Grand-Am, IMSA, and Trans-Am. Add in the fact they are responsible for thirteen overall 24 Hours of Daytona victories and more when including class wins, and you realize why Riley is perfectly suited to carry on the continuation of the MkIV project.


The partnership between Bob & Bill Riley and long-time friend and customer, Jim Matthews.

“It is amazing and somewhat humbling to even have the chance to be involved in continuing the legacy of such an iconic car. For sure, this has always been one of my favorite race cars, and to be able to continue producing it makes me very proud.” – Bill Riley





“The original MkIV was developed by a group of individuals who wanted to win. We all would stop everything to get something designed, fabricated, and tested quickly. We were not afraid of the hard work and the enthusiasm to achieve those successes with the MkIV was without question. That is the same philosophy that the Riley staff has had from the beginning and that same enthusiasm will go into each MkIV continuation that leaves here.” – Bob Riley


From the original blueprints and castings to the exact locations of the rivets, the Riley | Kar-Kraft MkIV is a true continuation of the legendary MkIV from start to finish. The Riley engineering team has already spent countless hours taking authentic paper documents and drawings, original castings, fixtures, and molds and converting them into current design software to aid in refining the build process.





“Going through all the original designs and drawings brought back some great memories. This was absolutely the cutting edge of race car design. Back then, everything was all new and it all had to be drawn by hand. We have had to take special care to re-draw it all correctly. Besides improvements in alloys and improved consistency of the manufacturing process, the MkIV continuation will be true to form.” – Bob Riley

 

When it comes to ensuring the authenticity of the MkIV, the continuation of MkIV is a result of very close attention to detail in both design and the materials used. Apart from improvements in alloys and safety, the team at Riley has taken considerable time reviewing each document, drawing, and component as well as interviewing those involved with the original MkIV project. All the components will be made using the original designs and authentic production methods, resulting in truly legendary pieces of history.


“We had some original parts and designs to work from. This car was built from those designs, and we captured every part to put it into CAD. When we needed more detail on some element of the car, we had access to cars, so we were able to scan or measure a component that we needed more detail on. Every piece of the MkIV continuation has been accounted for.” – Bill Riley





About Riley: Riley is family-owned and based in Mooresville, NC. Dating back to 1960, Riley has been a mainstay in North American automotive design engineering, manufacturing, assembly, and race team operations. Riley designed, operated, and built cars that have won the 24 Hours of Daytona 20 times in addition to countless other motorsport races.

2 Comments


Bill, all that hard work has paid off. Very happy to see the first of many I hope. Running the four built by Kenny T up at VIR on a freezing January morning in 2012 was an unforgettable experience. 4 big block 7 liter V8's all talking to us at the same time. It just made perfect sense! Looking forward to see more. McLaren yellow Sebring winner and Mario's copper one are the lesser known but I love them all the same.

Like

Stunning, I worked for Caroll Smith at Watkins Glen in 1989 Reunionas as a crew member on the MK2B and The MK4 we had Jackie Ekes and Brian Redman in the MK2B and Sir Sterling Moss and Bob Bondurant in the MK4 we Finnished 3 rd to an illegal Lola T70 and Bib Stilwell in a really Fast Wide Body MK1 that was in a another time zone I believe Adrian Newly might have been the crew chief Sterling was driving the MK4 coming up though the S when we had transaxle failure on the T44 great times and great memories 👍🇺🇸🏁

Like
bottom of page