Three automotive designers from Coventry University have, as part of their professional enhancement year, chosen to break away from the norm and formed their own company with the vision of reinventing the British sports car.
The Concept Climax concept has been under development for 18 months and the group is close to completing the concept prototype. The working prototype will be unveiled in the summer of 2007 at one of the major motor shows.
The student said they believed the current trend towards environmentally friendly vehicles does not have to include dull designs or small city cars. They have created a two-seater sports car that can run on ethanol fuel and offers performance figures similar to a Lotus Elise.
The car is all about the driving experience - the deliberate lack of doors means that climbing into the car will evoke memories of classic, Le Mans type race cars, complete with flip up aero-screen. They see it as a British designed mid-engined sports car for the twenty-first century.
The Climax is not intended to be a retro-car but a modern sports car designed with the discerning enthusiast in mind. It is purely a driver's car -- a stripped out racer with ample weekend away space. The car is designed around its users - and ergonomics played a vital role in the interior design stage.
It includes F1-style technology such as the ability to programme the fuel intake via a laptop and make adjustments to the car's ECU using the Climax Control and a USB key.
Other features include low emissions from the ethanol powered flat four engine offering 270bhp at 6,500rpm as standard. Its light weight -- we don't yet know how light -- means better efficiency and acceleration, and more precise handling.
The Climax draws on Britain's vast motorsport heritage while keeping a firm eye to the future. The Climax team has sourced components from the Midlands auto parts industry, including Koni (shock absorbers), Alcon (brakes) and DyMag (carbon wheels). All have been involved since the early development stages.
"We wish to bring Coventry back into the automotive limelight by reinventing the car of the future," said Concept Climax MD Simon Long. "The inspiration for the car came from the need to decrease our dependency on oil while at the same time offering the motorist an eye catching, realistic alternative to existing sports cars. By allowing the driver to adjust the ECU with their USB key they can control the intensity of the driving experience," adds Long.
"Inspiration for the design came form the legendary Cooper Climax F1 car of the 50's," said Long.
Full-scale production is not far way, said the team said the car will cost about £35,000. Expect around 50 units a year from the Coventry factory.
We think it looks fab and wish the guys the very best of luck.