300 roadsters built and new coupe nearly ready
Specialist car companies may flourish in the garages and sheds of the UK, but in Germany strict regulations and the demands of the tough TUV tests make specialist production almost impossible.
There is one company breaking the mould though - Wiesman. The company was formed back in 1985 by the Weisman brothers, Martin and Friedhelm. They worked on a number of projects and after market products - mainly hard tops for convertibles - to get the money flowing in and then set about their real dream - fast, rear wheel driver sports cars.
The first car rolled off the production line in 1993 powered by a BMW straight six and they've not looked back since. Production isn't huge, but it's certainly beyond the 'will they succeed' stage with 300 cars finished to date.
By all accounts they're no randomly assembled kit cars either. German engineering pride dictated that these cars needed to be built well and drive well. Expertise was sought from Bilstein and Eibach to ensure handling was up to scratch. The company logo is a gecko - symbolic of the grip available.
The 3 litre straight engines are bought in from BMW and two states of tune are available - 225bhp and 336bhp. There's even an option to use BMW's SMG gearbox.
Performance is brisk with 60mph being reached in 5.9 and 4.9 seconds respectively. Weight is just over 1000kg. That's achieved using a glass fibre reinforced composite body and a space frame chassis (including side impact protection).
Prices for the roadsters are a shade over £50K for the 225bhp version and about £55K for the more powerful version. Used cars are available for as little at £25K.
Wiesmann have recently developed a coupe too. Developed on the race track as well as the road (Nurburgring 24hours race included), the new car will go into production later this year.
Built on an aluminium space frame chassis, the GT makes use of BMW's 4.4 litre V8 and six speed manual gearbox. 325bhp is available as standard but the motor has a lot more potential.
The coupe has obviously put on weight over the roadster, but it's still a respectable 1190kg allowing it to get to 60mph in 4.6 seconds and on to 173mph.
So now we've whetted your palate, where can you get one? Wiesmann have dealerships in Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Monaco, Austria and Italy. Sadly none in the UK yet, but they are looking for outlets here. The quicker a British dealer starts brining these cars in the better!