Frontline Developments was established in 1991 by Tim Fenna with a personal remit to improve the underpinnings and ultimately enhance the driving experience of classic MG cars. The key ethos however was to create this ultimate driving machine without losing any of the character or charm when sat behind the wheel of these iconic cars.
Almost 25 years on and the accolade gained through some of the world’s greatest motoring press, drivers and fellow design engineers is unrivalled proof that Tim’s vision, dedication and hard work have not only been accepted but hailed as some of the greatest creations of this decade.
Walking into today’s factory based at the Ex Benetton F1 facility just outside Abingdon-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, you can instantly see how things have progressed over the years.
Working on the philosophy that the only way to maintain quality and be able to offer the highest levels of customer service and satisfaction is to have all of the individual skill bases and operations under one roof. Here at Frontline you will find everything from paint, engineering, electrical, fabrication, assembly, development and even trim departments with a team of passionate and highly skilled craftsmen working in each trade.
For us, building cars is not just bolting bits together. It is realising people’s dreams and expectations before creating a bespoke, hand built car designed to deliver a smile each and every time the key is turned.
The Legend Ken Costello
In 1969, the now legendary Ken Costello installed British Leyland’s ex-Buick all-alloy V8 in his MGB. The result drew rave reviews from the press – and orders for over two hundred more Costello MGBs. This provoked Leyland to produce their own version, but Ken’s V8s still command a premium over the factory’s efforts, and the Costello range of high quality suspension, brake, and power train upgrades produced for those cars has remained available – albeit in very limited quantities. Costello conversions have been much imitated, but never surpassed.
Driving Ken’s demonstrator ten years ago, Autocar’s Steve Cropley was prompted to conclude: ‘This car is the latest evidence that Ken Costello’s original MGB V8 concept was a true tour-de-force’. And it’s been getting better ever since.
The key to this is Ken’s rare combination of abilities. Not only is he a skilled engineer, but he is also a driver to be reckoned with – even today. In 1966, he won the British Touring Car Championship in a self-prepared Mini Cooper, once holding eight lap records simultaneously, and was never beaten in the wet. Quite a track record.
Demand For Power
The products developed by Ken over the years add up to a comprehensive and coherent package which can completely transform your MGB in much the same way as do the products developed by Tim Fenna for the Sprite and Midget. Just as Ken used to say: “The aim is to produce cars with a classic soul and a modern heart”.
When Tim Fenna went racing in 1991, he became the victim of repeated gearbox failures in his well-tuned Spridget. Tim is also a talented engineer, and solved his problem by developing a rugged five-speed gearbox conversion. News of this successful upgrade quickly got around and it was soon in demand by other Spridget owners. There followed a range of equally popular upgrades for suspension, brakes and engine – in fact a parallel range to that produced by Ken for the MGB.
And as with Ken’s customers, the demand for more power was seemingly insatiable. The result, for Spridget owners, was an innovative installation featuring the acclaimed Rover K series engine. The Frontline K conversion was the first of its type and remains the best. In a head to head racetrack test for Classic Cars magazine it was good enough to see off a Lotus Elise!
Both product lines share a tradition of high quality, innovative engineering and are designed to improve and refine the classic cars to which they are dedicated, using the most appropriate components in a way which enhances rather than detracts from their original character.
You preserve those classic lines, but get leading edge performance as well. Our aim is always to provide top-notch engineering quality and high standards of service at realistic prices. Our Heritage approval is your guarantee that we will deliver.