Kelvin Odartei: The 18-Year-Old Ghanaian Who Built His Own Car Using Scrap Metals

This 18-year-old kid from Accra, Ghana named Kelvin Odartei created his own car from scratch using scrap metals with an estimated cost of around 8,000 Ghana Cedi (US$1383)

The 18-year-old student of the Chantan M/A Basic School in Accra, Ghana, who just completed his Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), came into the limelight after videos of him driving in his Lamborghini-like car to school on the last day of his BECE examinations went viral on social media.

In an interview with Face2FaceAfrica, Kelvin said: “I saw a moving plane passing by and something told me to build a plane so from that day I started building an aeroplane. It led to a stage, when it reached that stage, how I wanted the aeroplane to fly, I couldn’t have it like that so I decided to build a car.

“Then I started building a car for exhibitions, for showing to people, and one day I got friends who are very excited for it, and they came part so we all work together. So one, I day started building this big project.”

Kelvin’s teacher has been supportive of him since day one. His teacher, Mr. Patrick Yaw Adeji said: “I will say that Kelvin is the type of student who is very…I mean he always wants to explore with every opportunity that comes his way. When you give him something to do, he wants to do and do it very well and even do it extraordinarily.”

Kelvin learned how to build the car on his own. He collected scrap metals from the scrap yard and sometimes went to car dealers’ shops to look at some cars and how they are built. “I learned how to build the car on my own, and if I find any difficulties in it, I go to one of my friends to solve my problems and also get the functions and names of the other car parts,” he said.

Kelvin and his mom

Kelvin’s teacher, Mr. Patrick Yaw Adeji said: “Most at times, we train these kids in school, they do very well and they write their BECE and their WASSCE, they do very well but actually the skill on the ground, we are not able to develop them,” he said.

“We always want our kids to be doctors. We always want our kids to be lawyers, accountants…but I tell you, what this boy has produced, I can see that there is such a very very bright future for him, and that is why I want to encourage everyone out there.”

The car looks like an SUV with how the height is designed but with a short wheelbase. It can seat two people with no windows configuration. Kelvin shared that he built the car for three years. Initially, it was just him doing all the work. And later, his friends joined him.

Looking at the front end, Kelvin’s car does come with a sports car-like appeal. It resembles a Lamborghini Sian hypercar with the way the headlight housings are shaped and it even has a rear wing for added sportiness. The hood is even designed with air ducts to probably cool the engine.

Under the hood, Kelvin shared that his car is mounted with a motorcycle engine. The shock absorbers are from a motorcycle as well. The invented car doesn’t come with features that add weight such as an air conditioning system and windows. As such, mounting a proper car engine would be impractical.

Inside, there’s nothing much going on. It does come with cup holders and a dial knob for the radio which seems to be inaudible as of the moment. Those who wish to enter Kelvin’s car will be greeted by falcon-wing doors usually seen from the Tesla Model X or the time machine car from the Back to the Future movie.

Kelvin has a dream to manufacture cars not only in Ghana but also all around the world. Without a doubt, he is off to a good start considering he has built a car under Php 10,000 at the age of 18. He wants to motivate especially the youth to build something just like what he did and to follow their dreams.

According to his mother who is known as Maame Abigail, His son started to be innovative when he was in primary school. He was so much into toys whereby he also learned how to use cans to make his own toys.

“My son started to do Airplane toys with cans but he later gave up and switched to cars because his plane couldn’t fly. Indeed, I was against him because he never focused on his studies but was rather spending time doing this”. She lamented.

“I never encouraged him because I didn’t believe in the future of his dream due to how pessimistic I was. Even when he started to do his Lamborghini with cans, I was mimicking him and nagging him to focus more on his studies. But like a joke, Kelvin proved me wrong and to be honest I shed tears after I see the car moving”. She averred.

“Now my son Kelvin Odartey has become a headline in Ghana and will surely make it if Ghanaians believe in him and support his dream. My husband is dead so I am the one taking care of him and his other two siblings”. She concluded

Kelvin’s mother advice to African parents was that they should support their children in any positive talent they portray because book studies are not for everyone and technology is now ruling the world so if possible, they should let their wards enrolled in Technical Schools if they are good Technical.

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