The Murray-Craft show
The Rocket certainly lived up to its 'Light Car' billing, tipping the scales at just 370kg. Even today, I don't think any four-wheeled road car has gone below that. The Vanwallesque 1+1-seater shape was uber-cool, too.
Then there was the Yamaha FZR1000 superbike engine, mounted amidships and forming part of the chassis. Bike engines in cars were a total novelty in 1991, and the 12,000rpm rev limit seemed insane. And the sequential gearshift, using a tiny lever on your right, was another revelation for car folk. Was any car ever so coolly named as the Rocket? And has any ever had such a cool badge? The owners' club ('The Rocketeers') even had a Beatle as its chairman - the late George Harrison.
This was an awfully expensive toy in 1991, costing all of £38,800, so very few were sold, even after a 2007 relaunch (when the price had risen to £46,412).
Are you a Rocketman?
Originally painted yellow with a yellow chassis, 'RO18' was resprayed blue with a white chassis when it was converted to road-legal spec in 1995. Chris Craft bought the car back in early 2006, after which it went to his nephew, Charles Craft, and it's since been overhauled by two other Craft family members, Luke and Andrew.
It's had a few upgrades, the most significant of which (in 2014) was a six-speed close-ratio gearbox to replace the original five-speeder. RO18 also has a unique Gordon Murray-designed race dash, plus additional roll-over protection at the front and chopped bodywork to house a battery isolator switch and fire extinguisher pull (unique to this car).
The engine in RO18 is also slightly bigger than standard (1,049cc versus 1,002cc), and has uprated internals featuring Carrillo rods, so it's good for 145hp, 0-62mph in 4.0 seconds and a top speed of 140mph. Celeb Rocket owner, Jay Leno, reputedly said his Rocket is quicker point-to-point on narrow twisty roads than his McLaren F1.
With its Avon CR28 tarmac-spec rally tyres, grip is reportedly "huge" while the early 1990s F3 Brembo brakes "ensure that this car will still ou- brake just about anything on the road."
Want level: 11+.
LIGHT CAR COMPANY ROCKET (RACE-SPEC)
Engine: Yamaha 1,049cc 4-cyl
Transmission: 6-speed sequential manual
Power (hp): 145@10,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 77@8,500rpm
MPG: 25 (est)
CO2: Quite possibly lighter than air
First registered: 1994
Recorded mileage: 20,000
Price new: c. £45,000
Yours for: POA
See the original ad here.