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LKA (Lohikäarme Autojen)


#1

Here, with the CEO of LKA, Enska Lykäas, for an interview, telling the story of this company, that become one of the sleepers of the last decade. The finnish company started now to open its market to all the world, getting the first steps on the hypercars world with a secret project.

Enska:- Now, i start to sing about how we started right?

Laughs overall. He seems to be a very simple man, opposite to how his father was.

Enska:- Well… Ok, my dad started this company with some kind of dream. He was a metallurgical during the 60s. Lothar Lykäas, and his friend, Mirko Onred, always love to plan stuff. They make the company, they planned to do planes… Don’t ask… But they first step in this world was in the year 1972. The Wolfang was a kind of muscle car. This technically wasn’t the first car of the company, because it was made for another company, Amerbach, now out of business

LKA Wolfang - 1972


The car was a big ol’ V8. Strong, loud, everything that a V8 of the year was, but, terrible. Terrible car. It has 284 HP with 340 NM of torque at 5300 RPM. It was heavy, hard to drive and very wild. But it was cool at that time. The heads of Amerbach love it, and in the same year, the want it a “Special” version of it…

LKA Wolfang RR - 1972


They took the same car, and kind of tune it. The RR stands for “Race Ride” They put a bigger engine iniside, with 462 HP. But this was even worse. The wheelspin was out of this world. The engine was not really good cooled, even with the bigger vents and stuff. Still, the car was kind of successful in sales, but unfortunally, the Amerbach closed in 1975 due financial and structural problems…


#2

Enska:- Then, like 6 years later, the company officially runs by the name that it has today. They have a lot of problems. Not enough workers, not enough space for tests. They even have a rat problem in the “Factory” if i can call it that way. But, they were happy. My dad was happy, his friend, even the people working there. So they started simple, they make a simple car, nothing fancy, nothing like super sporty…

LKA Äiti Type 1 - 1978

Enska:- Simple car, for simple people. Not to big, not to hard to drive, but a technical mess really. It was really really cheap for its time. It has only 63 HP, too lacking for that small V8, and that makes a lot of problems in climbs. The weight of the car was too much for the engine on those situations, but its low consume and really low price was the reason this car was a kickstart for my father’s dream.

LKA Äiti Type 2 - 1978

Enska:- The Type 2 was a little more “Luxury”. It has a better interior that the Type 1. The engine was a little better too. It has a small turbo, taking the power to 103 HP. We manage to save one of this cars. Still working and i have it like a toy on a box on my garage so… Yeah, a good piece of my history if i have to say it. This one was a little worse in terms of sales. It was cheap, but it has so much less to offer than some of it’s competitors at the time. Also, this one wasn’t nice with the fuel consumption, making it a little more expensive.

LKA Äiti Type 3 - 1979

Enska:- The Type 3 was more Mirko’s hand than anyone else there. He was a racer, not a professional racer, but a racer. He always love the power on the cars and that kind of things. So he decided to make it more “Tasty” than the other two versions. The turbo of this one its bigger, reaching 130 HP with 200 NM of Torque. It has wider arches and a little spoiler, for some aero. A bit useless taking in consideration the shape of the car, literally a box, but they were dreamers after all. The car was very well recieved. The sales were really good, even with the expensive price of this one.


#3

Enska:- After that first step, the company started to grow little by little. In 1892, they released a second car, the Koti. This one was more polished, with more development and stuff. They really put their hearts on every car.

Koti Yksi - 1982

Enska:- The Yksi was the first try away from the V8. They use a bigger platform from the Äiti. More of a “Family” car than it. The V6 they use for the Yksi was a 3029CC with almost 200 HP, 199.7 to be exactly. The car was rough, but light. Also, it was the first car with automatic transmission of the company. It was… primitive, but functional at least. Maybe, one of the first dad’s “Babies”

Koti Kaksi - 1982

Enska:- The Kaksi on the other hand, was the “Bussiness man” car. They don’t have much differences. It has more HP (232), more luxuries on the inside, and more chorme to put a more stylished “Face” on the car. This one was like a shadow. The sales were like complete 0. I think, there’s only 20 sales of that car in all the registries.


#4

Enska:- At the end of 1982, my father and Mirko decide to try again with the compact style cars. This time, they took everything learned with the Äiti, fixed some mistakes here and there. By the start of 1983, Kolme was born.

LKA Kolme - 1983

Enska:- I really don’t know what was on their minds when they designed the back of the car. It was really ugly… But, for some reason, the car was a blast on its time. People loved it. It was cheap, it was really easy to drive. With its 117 HP, its small V6, really fuel friendly and almost toylike looks, the first Kolme sales was amazing. It was the most successful car of that era for the company. This is when they hit the nail.

LKA Kolme Erityinen - 1983

Enska:- Months later, after the big success of the Kolme, and taking some advices from the people on the streets, Mirko decided to make another Kolme, but better. They maintained the economy friendly stat of the platform. With some little tweaks on the engine, they manage to put 10 more HP, getting a good 127 HP from it. It was a little more heavy than its little brother, but with some more luxuries. The reworked back make it more appealing to the eye. The most notorious feature of this version its the chromed details and more fancy wheels, clearly aimed to the young ones of that time.


#5

Enska:- The same year, they launched a heavy duty van, the Vauhko, their first big car in bussiness. The market was filled with those, and, my father and Mirko didn’t want to lose that chance. They worked almost in secret with the Vauhko. There’s only a 3 draws of it, and nothing more. I don’t know if they’re lost or that this is the only stuff they used to make it. But anyway, this was the first step of the company on the cargo market.

LKA Vaukho - 1983

At this moment, the door opened and a man stepped in. Mirko Onred Jr. designer and an chief engineer of the company, really close friend of Enska. The two mens hugged each other. After the greetings, Mirko takes the word.

Mirko:- The Vauhko was a challenge at that time. They know little to none about vans, or even trucks, so they worked blinded. This big boy has a V8 powering the rear wheels with 250 HP at 5000 RPM, creating almost 380 Nm of torque at 4000 RPM. It was more like a muscle car but with a big chassis over it. With a 4 speed automatic gearbox and almost 1900 KG of weight, it reaches a top speed of 130 MPH. It was fast, but it has a little problem…

Enska:- It can’t turn… The suspension was really hard to put in place. The van was big, and the lack of knowlege about this created a big problem with it. With some tweaks, the Vauko worked better at corners but, it was a lot of time of trial and error. Companies didn’t like it so much because of that, at least, big companies. Small ones really love it. All the cars of that time were really cheap in comparsion with the other more renowned companies, so, the van was kind of a success…

Mirko:- The technical problems with the engine afterwards kind of killed it. They took too long to fix some problems, so my father decided to just lay the Vauhko to rest.


#7

Enska:- After the not so good run of the Vauhko, the company worked on a sedan. This one needed to be kind of a success, being the first “True Sedan” of the brand. By 1985, the Matkaaja finally saw the light. 2 years of work witout rest, to bring this one to life.

LKA Matkaaja Sedan - 1985

Mirko:- This one… Oh boy this one… This is one of my father designs. He was always a flamboyant dude. Always getting into the edges of the conventional and wacky stuff. The rear of the car worked like a radiator for the engine. It had 2 special tubes connected all around the car to the front, to give an extra cooling to it. But, people seemed to like it. It was rare, and that was some of the “mystic” this car brought to the table…

Enska:- Techwise, the car was pretty standard. Nothing out of this world for that age and time. It has a 3.5L V8 with 175HP. Its FWD, with a 4 auto gearbox and the hydraulic powersteering make it really confortable to drive. This one has a slight fuel problem. The engine was a little too big for what the car was supposed to do. But in sales, it was decent. Nothing to big or failure. It was pretty neutral. But this one was the starting point from our fathers to a good renown. This one the first car of the brand that actually had an TV spot. I think, a great portion of the sales came directly from there.

LKA Matkaaja Coupe - 1985

Enska:- With all those spots and stuff, my father decided to make a more “Exclusive” model of the car. The coupe version was really more expensive than the sedan. Almost double the value. I don’t know what was he thinking. But the car was really better than the Sedan. 5.5L V8 with almost 300 HP. They used a modified version of the same gearbox, slightly lighter and with more closed gears.

Mirko:- The idea behind it, i believe, was to attract more rich guys to buy this one. With all the chrome and those interiors. Premium leather on the seats and handmade dashboard. It was really good at that time. Also, the wide rear tyres make the car looked really like a race car.

Enska:- I liked this one, we manage to save one from a junkyard 2 months ago and restore it almost completly with the original parts, except for the suspension and some of the dashboard parts. We have it down in the museum from time to time, but i like to use it to some fun drives around the test track.


#8

Enska:- When the year 1987 finally hit us, we’re completly empty handed. We had like millions of sketches, drawings, ideas, even notepads with tons and tons of ‘what if we put this’ onto older models, but nothing of those make it.

Mirko:- In late September of that year we put togheter a lot of concepts of those and the Hevonen was born.

LKA Hevonen Typpi A - 1987

Enska:- The Hevonen was kind of a surprise, even for me. We were wandering without anything done for months, and, out of nowhere, this one was going out of the factory door like, ‘Hey, i’m actually a product right now’. It was really a lifesaver. Spec wise, its engine was a complete redraw of the Matkaaja engine, redone from the ground. The V8 was worked, re tune and lift it up to 180 HP and placed on the mid. With a RWD and 4 gear transmission, the car reached 230 KM/H. It was really fast, but kind of unreliable at those speeds. The aero wasn’t meant to go that fast. We almost ripped the roof of one of those at that time.

LKA Hevonen Typpi B - 1987

Mirko:- The Typpi B was a reajustment of all the stuff wrong with the car. The suspension was completly redone in less than 4 weeks, the V8 was massively improved, to the point of reaching almost 281 HP. We switched a lot of materials and stuff from the body of the car. We use lighter materials on the engine too. It really was a big improvement. We almost put this car on a race track, but we can’t match all the requeriments at that time. We can’t also deliver cars to some teams because of the production process and the time they needed to actually put the car in condition. So, that was our first No No on the circuit.

LKA Hevonen Typpi C Spesiaalinen - 1987

Enska:- By the end of 1987, a famous leather and luxurious stuff brand contacted us. Those guys from Helsinki wanted to put their hands on some high end costumers. They wanted rich people to have their fine leather on a expensive car. Why they contacted us? LKA wasn’t a luxury brand or anything like that.

Mirko:- The owner of that brand was a really weird guy. Weird clothes, weird stuff always around him, and he owned some of our cars, but tunned, painted, or reworked with weird stuff, like chorme colors, or some crazy things on the wheels. The guy was really a clown, but with a good eye for bussiness. He wanted a Hevonen, but a fierce one. He wanted a huge engine, massive power, massive speed, he wanted a huge race car on a luxury body, with premium interior. We ended up with a 422 HP engine. Our engines never reached those numbers, so we have aid from a german car brand, that we can’t name here (Laughs). They helped us with some points, like the compression system, the turbo, cam profile setups and more. We just made 100 of this Hevonen, and they were sold the same week. It was glorious…

Enska:- I think that we never sold a model so fast on that time. We finished the production of those Typpi C on the last week of november i think… And by the half of December, they were gone already. The Typpi C was really our first ‘Kind of supercar’ for the specs that we used on it, and the results we got from the test tracks and dynamo tests. It was really amazing.


#9

The front-end styling is actually too new for something introduced in 1987, and makes it look like a bottom-dwelling fish. At least it’s fast, and in its final form, it handles well to boot.


#10

Enska:- We ended with that design by luck, if i must said it in a way. For this one, we based our vision on some european giants, and in some asian new cars. There is some little american DNA here and there. Personally, i think it’s too round, i don’t like the format at all, but that format was the reason why we got funded to make the Typpi C.


#11

Enska:- Then, by the 1990, my father launches his last car on the head of the company. He was tired, with his health really going for worst by that time, but happy, as i ever saw him. This was his ‘true baby’

LKA Wyvern - 1990

Mirko:- Mr.Lothar really loved was he created on the Wyvern. It’s like he puts all his soul and joy on it, on every edge, on every corner of the car. He really wants this to be his magnum opus. The engine was the most worked aspect of the car, a V8 producing 318 HP, with a 327NM of torque at 7000 RPM. It was the first aluminum engine built in house. 4.0L naturally aspirated, it really was a good piece of work.

Enska:- Dad love it, he even BUYED 2 of them, he BUYED THEM. That much love for the car he had, that one of those, even had a name of it’s own.

Mirko:- The car was really a huge success, even with just one trim. I don’t know why, but they never wanted another trim, or even use it as a race car. Some teams from the GTR really wanted one, but, as far as i know, no car from the factory was used in a race team. I don’t know if someone get one from other source.

Enska:- Even after all these years, the car still brings a lot of attention on the streets.


#12

Enska:- After my dad left the company, the next project was launched and finished in no time. It seems that this one was expected to be finished in 1988, but some creative problems with it stopped its production until 1990/1991

LKA Henki V1 - 1990

Mirko:- The Henki was really a challenge. First of all, the engine. We worked with a boxer6, something REALLY new to us. With 270HP and a 3000cc, we manage to make a really sporty car, helped with the turbo mounted. It was a blast. The chassis was really hard to put in line, the space frame chassis was a challenge again. It was really the hardest car to work with in our history in those times.

Enska:- We opted for a 5 manual gear transmission, it was sporty looking, it had to be sporty too. We shipped a ton of this models out of the country too. It was cheap, really reliable sports car. Not the fastest, but the most durable indeed.

LKA Henki V1 Cabriolette - 1990

Enska:- The cabrio version on the other hand…

Mirko:- The Henki was our first really big project that time. We even manage to create 2 groups for 2 different versions of it. The V1 was more of a trial version. The first team worked really hard on that V1, that the second team just needed to put a targa on it. But they decided to tune it, to put their own little spice on the car. We didn’t rejected that, in fact, we pushed them to do it. The Cabrio was indeed, more powerful, 280HP with the same 3L layout, but, it weights more. It suspension was stiffer too, with a taller ride height, and a more stiffer hydropneumatic setup. It doesn’t have the same success tho. The coupe V1 was more sporty looking, even if this one was faster on a straight line, the targa kind of push it down.

LKA Henki V2 - 1990

Enska:- By the end of 1990, a revision of the Henki was ready. The V1 had a problem. It can’t turn very well at high speeds. That fantasy of sport car kind of get killed with that problem. The V2 however, had that problem resolved. We manage to squeeze every single HP of power that the engine can offer, pumping it’s power to 326HP. We also pump up the bore and stroke, reaching 3500cc to make it more roaring, but we messed a little the fuel efficency of it. It was fuel hungry…

LKA Henki V2 Cabrio - 1990

Mirko:- The cabrio version on the other hand, was really realiable with the fuel. The 330HP reached by the second team really take us by surprise. The manage to fix every problem with the engine, and the fuel consumption, but putting some more weight on it because of that, reaching almost 1600kg against the 1400kg of the original V2. The switched the brakes too, from 2 pistons, to 3 pistons. We don’t know the reason behind this, but they seemed really confident on that change.