Ghanaian prodigy's $3,000 DIY car made mainly out of scrap metal parts

DIY mechanic Kelvin Cruickshank told IE he soon hopes to have a bigger team as it "wasn't easy" building the Kelsus P1 alone.
Chris Young
Kelvin Cruickshank sat in Kelsus (left) and the front of the vehicle (right).
Kelvin Cruickshank sat in Kelsus (left) and the front of the vehicle (right).

kelvincars_gh 

Inventor Kelvin Odartei Cruickshank, from Accra, Ghana, discovered his passion for making cars at age 10, long before he was legally allowed behind the wheel.

In 2021, we reported that roughly a decade after he discovered his calling in life, Cruickshank had successfully built a working car dubbed the Kelvin Mobile. It was built mostly from scrap parts at a total cost of roughly $3,000.

Most Popular

The self-taught inventor began working on his DIY car when he was 15, having previously built remote control prototype vehicles, including planes, from age seven.

We caught up with Cruickshank to learn about the progress he has made since 2021 and the projects he has taken on in the interim.

Unsurprisingly, given the incredible ambition he has shown at such a young age, he is still hard at work. In fact, he revealed that he is now working on several projects besides the ongoing improvements to his car, which he has since renamed the Kelsus P1.

Ghanaian inventor's $3,000 DIY car gets new shocks, structure, and paint job

In 2021, when we first reported on Cruickshank’s car, the vehicle was an impressive piece of DIY engineering, though it looked a little rough around the edges.

That has now changed thanks to the work the inventor has put into the vehicle's aesthetics. It now has a more sleek design topped off with a sky-blue finish.

Ghanaian prodigy's $3,000 DIY car made mainly out of scrap metal parts
Cruickshank's updated Kelsus P1 includes a new outer structure and paint job.

"For the past few years, I've been working on the car to make sure it has the required finishing, so l remodeled the structure to make it look good," Cruickshank told IE over email.

The vehicle is no longer called the Kelvin Mobile. In a bid to highlight the changes to the car, the young inventor renamed it the Kelsus P1. According to Cruickshank, "the name was derived from the combination of Kelvin and Jesus, the first three letters of Kelvin (kel) and the last three letters of Jesus (sus)."

Ghanaian prodigy's $3,000 DIY car made mainly out of scrap metal parts
The Kelsus P1 is an impressive upgrade over the original version of Cruickshank's vehicle, the Kelvin Mobile.

It's not only the name and outer structure that has changed, however. Cruickshank explained that he also changed the front two shocks as he had previously used a motorcycle model. He replaced these with car shocks.

Aside from those changes, the vehicle still features a dashboard made from wooden panels as well as a 300-hp motorcycle engine. It is made up largely of scrap motor parts, shipping container panels, and iron rods. These were sourced mainly from local dust bins and scrap yards.

Ghanaian prodigy's $3,000 DIY car made mainly out of scrap metal parts
The rear of the Kelsus P1.

Now, he said, he is “looking forward to having a bigger team of people who are experienced in different fields to reduce the time of production.” He also explained that the past year saw him “do everything on [his] own,” and “it wasn’t easy". The DIY mechanic said he has taken up several jobs to help fund his projects, including as a street hawker and selling drinks on the roadside.

The video below shows the workshop Cruickshank currently uses for his vehicle. He said his mother allowed him to use the space to work on the Kelvin Mobile and Kelsus P1, but he's looking for a better space from which he can work "without any worries."

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Kelvin Odartei Cruickshank (@kelvincars_gh)

Despite the challenges Cruickshank has faced, he said he is aiming to see his car on the road one day. Ultimately, he said he wants “to be able to produce more to sell," though he's looking to design an electric car for the market eventually.

New projects include a self-balancing motorcycle

The promising young engineer didn’t only work on his car this year. "The next project for this year is the self-balancing motor vehicle," he explained. "It is a very complex project, but l have completed the prototype, and it is working hopefully; this year, if l get some good capital, l will start with the original model."

A video on Cruickshank's YouTube channel (below) shows the prototype for the self-balancing motorcycle, which uses a gyro system to remain upright without any added support.

And that isn’t the only other project he’s been working on. He has also worked hard on a three-tire vehicle and a food truck chassis. However, all of these are works in progress, he explained, and the Kelsus P1 is his only finished project to date.

In his interview with IE in 2021, Cruickshank said, "from the beginning, when I started with the project, many people thought l was going mad. They were saying how can a young Ghanaian boy build a car, this was madness to them." Now, the 21-year-old inventor has built a name for himself as a promising young talent with a bright future ahead of him.

Cruickshank's impressive talent has led to comparisons to Elon Musk. Though Musk was born into a wealthy family, the SpaceX, Tesla, and Twitter CEO has posted on social media about how he couldn't afford to pay for car repairs as a teenager, so he fixed "almost everything on [a] car from parts in the junkyard."

Cruickshank told IE the comparisons to the Tesla CEO make him proud and that he dreams of one day becoming "a renowned engineer as well as a car manufacturer."