Remember SECMA Vehicule, the French outfit devoted to the production of fun, quirky cars? No? Perhaps you'll better recall Unique Motor Company, the firm set up by none other than TV's Noel Edmonds to import its wares to the UK? Still no? Thought as much.
Even Wikipedia doesn't seem to know all that much about SECMA, its entry for the manufacturer containing just two sentences on its history. These confirm that the company was founded in 1995 by Daniel Renard - the erstwhile owner of French microcar builder Automobiles ERAD, creator of the ever-fabulous ERAD Junior, - and that its factory was destroyed by fire in May 2009.
Between those two dates, however, it managed to produce a quite startling array of vehicles - and still does. Machines like the cutesy Fun Lander pick-up, beach buggy-style QT 440 and mobility scooter-cum-golf buggy Fun Family having enjoyed sufficient success that over 30,000 SECMA and ERAD-branded 'vehicules' have been churned out of its factory in Northern France.
As for today's Spotted, well the ad reckons it's a Fun Buggy, but PH isn't so sure. Searches for the Fun Buggy return far more results relating to the firm's F16 roadster, a machine described by SECMA's official UK distributor as offering a "fusion of Ariel Atom's aggressiveness and Lotus Caterham's thrills at a fraction of the cost." Weighing in at just 560kg, it's currently available in both naturally-aspirated 1.6-litre and, for €31,250, turbocharged 2.0-litre form, an indication that even a company as eccentric as SECMA has a serious side.
Today's Spotted seems instead to have been marketed by its manufacturer as the Fun Quad 340, better known in Britain as the Q Pod Sport. Which is where Blobby-baiting blast-from-the-past Noel Edmunds comes back in. With the more reserved 'City' variant of the Q Pod promising 100mpg and a top speed of 45mph, it was billed as the ideal city car, a turn of the millennium Sinclair C5, if you will. A tricycle version of the single-cylinder 340cc machine was made available too, although its two stabilisers undoubtedly detracted from whatever cool-factor its curio status bestowed upon it.
Unfortunately for SECMA and Edmonds, the British public's response to both was a resounding No Deal. That isn't to say that a niche for the Q Pod/ Fun Quad doesn't exist, though, the model having been resurrected by SECMA following its discontinuation, such was demand. And what is that niche, you ask? Well, farmers and landowners looking for a sportier (or safer) alternative to a quad bike, of course, but campers and caravaners as well. They can easily tow the diminutive machine with them before taking advantage of its road-legal status to do whatever it is they go places to do.
For just £2,595 our Spotted is described as being "tricked up", although aside from the Renthal roll bar pads and BMW M Performance stickers (which do admittedly add 5hp a piece) its spec seems to be pretty standard. But no matter, because while the Q Pod may not have been the answer to the 21st century's congestion woes, it's sportier sibling ought to be plenty of fun with a little more room to explore its limits. With 10hp and 18lb ft of torque being sent directly to those knobbly-tired rear wheels, it's sure to be Fun Quad, Fun Quad by nature.
1 / 3