Motoring past influences new Norfolk sports car

The Zenos sports car. Chris Weston, head of development drives reporter Kate Scotter in the Zenos sports car.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEY The Zenos sports car. Chris Weston, head of development drives reporter Kate Scotter in the Zenos sports car. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Thursday, July 31, 2014
6:30 AM

It may look like an ultra-modern sports car but if you look beyond the gleaming carbon fibre, it is car manufacturing of yesteryear which has helped shape the design of Norfolk’s newest speed machine.

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Fast facts

• The E10 costs £24,995.

• The car can go 0 to 60 in less than five seconds.

• It weighs 650kg.

• The car is suitable for drivers between 5ft 3in and 6ft 4in.

The history books of how sports car used to be made were reopened as Ansar Ali and Mark Edwards transformed their plans for the newly launched E10 into a reality.

Their aims were to create a lightweight sports car which was fun, affordable and left drivers with a “grin on their face”.

And with a price-tag of just £24,995, they say the new kid on the sports car block fulfils those ambitions.

It has taken two years for Mr Ali and Mr Edwards, who left their positions at Lotus Cars to set up Zenos Cars in Wymondham, to take their vision from the drawing table to the prototypes at their Wymondham Business Park factory - but they already have 70 orders in place for when they start production in January and are confident they will be able to sell between 150 and 200 of the model next year.

The Zenos sports car. CEO and partners, Ansar Ali, left, and Mark Edwards with their Zenos sports car at Wymondham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Zenos sports car. CEO and partners, Ansar Ali, left, and Mark Edwards with their Zenos sports car at Wymondham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mr Ali said: “We went back to old history books to see how cars were made in the old days, looking at Lotus in particular.

“It is a no frills car, that’s not what it’s about, it’s about driving purity and for £25,000 you can have that driving purity.”

The cost of the car has been driven down by the use of recycled carbon fibre - said to be nearly as strong as new carbon fibre but at 10pc of the cost - and at 650kg, the lightweight machine is said to offer economical benefits.

“We knew the market we wanted to target and started at the £25,000 price point and worked backwards,” said Mr Ali. “It’s been a challenge but it is achievable.”

The Zenos sports car. Chris Weston, head of development drives reporter Kate Scotter in the Zenos sports car.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Zenos sports car. Chris Weston, head of development drives reporter Kate Scotter in the Zenos sports car. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The E10 is the first of three models the team at Zenos Cars plan to produce over the next five years. The second in line, the E11, will be an equivalent version with doors and a windscreen and the third, the E12, will be a coupe hardtop.

Zenos Cars has been supported by a £240,000 grant from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership’s Growing Business Fund and private sector investment.

What do you think of the car? Tweet your views to @EDP24 or write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, NR1 1RE.

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