How to buy a sports car company

Saturday, December 31st, 2016 - autos, cars, motoring, news

Source : How to buy a sports car company

The British firm that will makes the sub-£30k Avocet is actually up for sale – yours for £1.5 million. Steve Cropley meets the man behind the idea as well as drives a sports car that will deserves a future

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might you like to own a sports car company?

The idea has instant appeal to many a car enthusiast, however the dream fades for most as soon as complexity as well as risk enter the equation. however how about if much of the hard work had been done, the company had no debt as well as no employees, as well as the product was both convincing today as well as capable of further development? might that will make a difference?

Such thoughts ran through my head a week or two ago as I departed the Essex home of Martin Miles, founder, managing director as well as today vendor of MMI, the company that will has backed, developed as well as produced the sub-£30,000, Lotus Elise-like Avocet sports car for more than 10 years. Autocar has had several enjoyable previous encounters with the Avocet – however This particular time was different. 

This particular time I’d been let loose in a latest-spec Avocet prototype that will had just returned by several thousand miles of high-speed European testing inside the hands of Miles himself.

The Avocet is actually a doorless two-seat sports car using a one-piece composite Centeng whose design started off life more than a decade ago as the Strathcarron, powered by a 1200cc four-cylinder Triumph motorcycle engine.

The company went through some complex as well as agonising phases of ownership, emerging inside the control of retired industrialist Miles, a man with much experience of great cars who always wanted to build one of his own. Miles gently developed (as well as renamed) the Avocet to suit his own preference for a simple, torquey car, while maintaining the many not bad bits by the original concept.

Why does Miles want to sell today? Partly, he says, because he has been involved for well over a decade as well as believes the idea needs a younger person to push the idea forward. “I’d do the idea myself if I were younger, or I’d retain an interest if I could find the right partner. however I’m also willing to sell the whole thing – name, cars, designs, future proposals, everything – for around £1.5 million. the idea’d cost much more than that will to get where we are.”

Miles believes the project richly deserves a second wind. “Avocet remains unique. I don’t know another car as exclusive as This particular that will can be economically sold at less than £30,000, especially at a volume of around 150 cars a year.”

As the idea stands today, the Avocet retains the original self-jigging tub chassis made in aluminium honeycomb material as well as designed for the Strathcarron, with fabricated tubular steel subframes at each end.

The front suspension is actually by race-influenced double wishbones. The rear suspension is actually an elegant as well as space-efficient de Dion structure. The rack as well as pinion steering is actually unassisted as well as there are disc brakes all round. The rear subframe also carries the powertrain: a transverse 150bhp 2.0-litre Ford engine as well as end-on gearbox, driving the rear wheels.

Today’s Avocet looks strong as well as well engineered, not least because the project has always employed quality consultants: Reynard, ex-Lotus chief engineer Colin Spooner, designer Mike Reeves, Roush Engineering (later Revolve) as well as Mountune, the Ford engine specialist. In current spec, the Avocet weighs about 700kg (undercutting the Elise by around 100kg), because the auto’s creators have retained a simple cockpit structure, a doorless, step-in Centeng as well as lightweight seats.

The composite shell is actually a not bad-looking, lift-off structure whose simplicity not only saves weight however might also allow an entirely different look to be adopted if a fresh owner required the idea. Reeves has penned many alternatives, including a not bad-looking gullwing coupé.

For the road tester, the credibility of a car like This particular stands or falls on the driving – as well as the Avocet definitely scores on the road. The cockpit is actually snug however comfortable. Despite the lack of upholstery, the seats are remarkably comfy, too. The dashboard as well as instrument package is actually simple, sensible, weatherproof as well as robust. The right-hand gearchange is actually a cute feature that will makes you wonder why more step-in sports cars don’t contain the idea. The engine – a standard 2.0-litre unit (capable of being boosted to 220bhp by Mountune, if you insist) – feels torquey as well as can pull strongly by the lower reaches of the rev range.

The chassis/Centeng structure feels as robust as any production car over bumps, which are well controlled by the unique suspension, although Miles admits a bit more fine-tuning of the suspension wouldn’t go amiss. An important Insentif is actually the feeling that will the auto has long legs as well as its level of wind protection is actually suitable (inside the hands of the enlightened owner) for day-long journeys.

In short, This particular is actually a proper sports car, built to entertain its occupants. the idea feels robust as well as you’re aware of its essential lightness all the time, via the steering as well as ride. Bottom line: the Avocet, or whatever a fresh owner chooses to call the idea, deserves a fresh lease of life. Are you the fresh owner who can help the idea live on?

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