You've got just shy of £100k to spend on car to keep you safe during the pandemic. You could opt for a nicely specced-up new Defender, which - as Nic discovered in Namibia - can take you deep into a virus-free wilderness. But with so much space aboard you'll have potentially infectious family and friends wanting to come with you. No, what you need is a solo chariot to get you as far from the viral hot zone as possible, as quickly as possible. What you need is something like a BAC Mono.
Ok, so leaving loved ones behind on a self-isolating voyage is not going to be high on anyone's agenda, but as far as transport to keep you clear of germs goes, this has to be one of the best. For starters, it requires a helmet, because attempting anything remotely quick without one will see you force fed a variety of insects for lunch. Then, of course, there's the fact that very few things can hang onto the back of a BAC Mono.
Make no bones about it, this is a machine built to offer the rawness and speed of a racing car in a road legal package. The stats for the first-gen car remain mind-bending: 532hp per tonne, 2.7 seconds to 60mph and a top speed of 170mph. Hypercar-esque performance with a footprint smaller than a Fiesta's and a Cossie-tuned 2.3-litre engine at its core. Around that, the Mono comprises a steel safety cell wrapped in carbon composite; so integral is the driver to the machine that the seat is formed straight from the tub itself.
Later versions were given a small power bump following a mid-life update, but rest assured all Monos are stupendously fast, no matter the year. They've been properly proper since arriving back in 2012, with a Formula 3-spec Hewland sequential gearbox and single-seater driving position that places your feet up at hip height and straight ahead. And they're pure, because there's no active aero or complicated chassis hardware to rely on. Mechanical grip is king with only a top-up of aero performance at high speed from the low-set rear wing and the car's underfloor design.
If you've ever seen a Mono at a track day, you'll know they are rapid things both in a straight line and around corners. And as PH has found out on numerous occasions, they're immensely rewarding machines to pilot, with copious amounts of feedback passed from car to driver - at all speeds. Thanks to that inherent lightness, they're not particularly troubled by tricky road surfaces either, so real world point-to-point pace on the tarmac is just as impressive as it is on the asphalt. And there's even space for some toilet roll, with a front boot and storage pockets in the cabin itself.
Its successor, the Mono II, is actually waiting for the pandemic to fade so that it can be launched, meaning that the first-gen car is being given a slight extension of life due to the UK's part-lockdown. That surely helps to make those listed on the classifieds even more appealing, especially when you consider that some come with huge savings over their original list price. The last of the line Mono One went on sale recently for just shy of £160k, but today's Spotted - a 2013 model with 4,400 miles on the clock - is up for £93-grand. As a car for the times, few will mix entertainment with self-isolating ability as well as this one.
SPECIFICATION - BAC MONO
Engine: 2,300cc 4-cyl
Transmission: 6-speed sequential, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 285@7,700rpm
Torque (lb ft): 207@6,000rpm
MPG: 35-40mpg (est)
Recorded mileage: 4,400
First registered: 2013
Price new: c £100,000
Yours for: £92,995