A proud PHer presents the only road-going example on the, er... road
PHer Mark Roonan (aka inspectre) tells us a bit about an extremely rare piece of British kit - one of a pair of 4.6 litre Ford V8 powered Spectre R45s - that's parked in his garage:
"I have always had a soft spot for something a bit different (Fiat Multipla, Triumph Dolomite etc...) and visited the Spectre factory at a time when they were considering selling-on their family jewels. Having had a good look round the R45 and admiring the well-proportioned, mid-engine layout with ample rear,I shimmied my way into the driver's seat. Honestly, once seated in inside it felt so fabulously good I did not want to get out. Alright, alright, too many kebab and burger van visits may have played their part too...
PHer Mark Roonan - Spectre owner
"Once out on the road a factory test drive proved to be every bit as intriguing, and a thrash around Milton Keynes sealed the deal. So later on that week I was booted and suited pleading, and with the bank manager that I had a cracking investment opportunity. Luckily for me he knew nothing about cars, but had enough fashion sense to agree that yellow was a great colour choice for a man with a ginger mullet.
"The Spectre R45 was launched by Desmond Llewellyn, better known as 'Q' from James Bond, at the London Motor show in 1997 as a design study to test the reaction from customers and press. The response was good enough to encourage Spectre to go ahead with development of the follow-up to the R42, with a simple design brief; to create a lighter, sleeker, more aerodynamic and powerful successor. After the 1997 Motor Show the plan was for a full production R45 to be ready for the 1998 Motor Show, however in the meantime Spectre fell into bankruptcy in late 1997...
"In time Spectre was rescued, but only two R45's were ever built, the original Motor Show car and the later and presently only road going example here, which was developed through a number of prototype stages to re-engineer the concept using all new parts including a full carbon fibre body and a development programme to tune the ride, handling and performance. In 2003 the R45 project was put on hold (the economics suggested that the target price of £90,000 would not be profitable) and this R45 was retained to benchmark further prototype supercars until 2009, when it was sold direct from the factory.
"So what I got for the bank's money was a very high standard, sorted, unique motor, but one in the fine tradition of fettling and playing around with has been honed over the last couple of years (shout out to Southway Automotive PHers 'Paul.B' and 'Steve_D'), with the addition of new sturdier doors and working a/c and ventilation system - the latter as a result of the improved sealing on the doors creating a new furnace like ambience. I do like the idea of open top motoring though..."
(Pictures by AndWhyNot and missjkr)