PetrolTed takes the wheel of this mighty road-race car
The roads are winding, relatively narrow and a squirrel just darted across the tarmac. The sun is shining through the thick green foliage and the tranquillity of the Surrey woodland is broken by the bark of an American V8 and the scream of a motorbike.
Straddling the centre line, two 12-inch wide tyres scrabble for grip on the crusty tarmac. Tearing the tarmac apart, the bark becomes a roar and wildlife scrambles for cover as the blue beast carves its way down the road scaring all before it.
Masked by the roar of eight cylinders at full stretch is the scream of a bike engine. This is no two engined hybrid - that scream is from a motorbike trying to keep pace with the monster in the woods.
More empty tarmac greets us around each corner. It’s a big car on a small road. It’s a race car bouncing across a surface far rougher than it was designed for. It copes well though. Each cats eye sends a light thump through the cabin but the beast remains good natured. In 'road trim', the Mosler retains all of its rage but wrapped in a thin veneer of comfort.
Torque is delivered in a long smooth gush. There’s enough there to send us into the trees at the merest flick of an ankle, yet the chassis inspires confidence. Respect is mutual – it’ll look after us if not provoked.
We ease up for a few photos to find a gobsmacked biker ripping his helmet off and demanding to know what it was that he was following. “It sounds awesome,” he yells at us as we emerge from the gull wing doors.
Much discussion continues, the crux of which is that the two of us have emerged from a machine capable of matching the performance of some of Japan’s finest two wheeled insanity.
Just 75 Mosler MT-900s will emerge from the Norfolk factory for use this side of the Atlantic. Many observers have accused the Mosler of being nothing more than a race car with carpets. That’s not an entirely unfair accusation but it doesn’t do the car credit. The car is comparable to an Ultima – another “race car for the road” – but one that plenty of people are quite happy with.
Performance-wise, there are few cars to match it. In standard trim, it comes with a mighty 435bhp and torque to die for. Coupled with a kerb weight claimed at 1,000Kg, it’s a potent mixture. The huge tyres will help deliver that power and the wide, race-bred chassis will keep you glued to the road unless you’re very reckless.
Despite the race car origins, it’s a comfortable environment without race car rattles. Further tweaking will be done on the car - kick plates, possible a carbon dash in place of the alcantara, etc, etc. It’s a good interior though – airy and comfortable. Access into the car is pretty easy and thanks to the expanse of glass it doesn’t feel claustraphobic or as snug as an Ultima.
Visibility is also good on the whole. It’s got a fairly large blind spot behind over your shoulder but with a bit of bowing and stretching it’s manageable. Vents in the engine cover give enough visibility behind although the only reason to look behind will be to see if you’ve lost your pursuers yet.
This car was left hand drive (RHD is available too) and the unfamiliarity and sense of width does make for a slightly nervous driving experience. A belief that every oncoming wrinkly in a Fiesta will catch the side of the Mosler does create a sense of unease!
Turning lock is good though and despite no power steering, it’s relatively easy to manouvre for a big car. The slick gearbox and torquey engine make low speed driving a breeze too.
Who will buy...?
It’s a curious car though. The most obvious competitor is the Ultima which is a bit smaller – easier on UK roads – cheaper, and speccing one as quick isn’t a problem. The Mosler’s larger cabin and greater exclusivity will win some fans though. The majority of Ultima owners also take the pleasure – and challenge – of building their own cars. Buying a Mosler off the shelf is therefore a somewhat different proposition.
I suspect most owners will – in no small part due to the £100,000 price tag – be collectors, or just very serious enthusiasts. There aren’t many scenarios that call for “I’m just nipping out in the Mosler”. Whilst the same could be said of F40s, they do benefit from a badge with more history than Mosler.
I don’t doubt that buyers will emerge for these 75 cars though. Finding an excuse to drive one won’t be difficult, so expect to see Moslers on the road soon with dozens of otherwise sane people popping out for 50 mile drives to get some milk…
Thanks to Racing Green TVR for the photos