RAC Cars News


Introducing Zenos Cars

By raccars Published

With their old firm currently going from strength to strength, Caterham alumni, Ansar Ali and Mark Edwards, have turned their attention to a new venture. In a clear case of playing to their strengths, the pair has launched Zenos Cars, a start up dedicated to building compact, basic and super light sports cars. Sound familiar? Lotus founder, Colin Chapman, imbued Caterham with the very same DNA, one that Ali and Edwards believe is still relevant in a modern automotive industry dominated by regulation and an inexorable drive to complicate and sophisticate.

There are three models on the slate for Zenos at this point, due to be rolled out in the coming five years. In each case, the brief focuses on awesome handling for supreme driving pleasure, achieved using the most up to date construction methods. It's an age old goal that should be ably assisted by modern engineering techniques.

Next year should see the debut of the vehicle code named Project E10. The Lotus Elise inspired two seater sports car will be, in effect, a road legal track racer. Slightly larger than a Caterham Seven, it weighs only 650kg and its 200bhp will be driven through the rear wheels by a centrally mounted, transversal engine. The 2.0 litre engine is driven by a five speed manual transmission, while performance statistics include a 135mph top speed and 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds. Basic equipment is generous while various performance upgrades will be available. Unsurprisingly, there are a number of sporting enthusiasts sniffing around the project already.

Automotive start ups rarely attract much confidence at this stage, but such is the experience of the Zenos team, that the usual concerns appear not to apply. Ali and Edwards are using modern techniques such as aluminium and carbon fibre construction for strength and lightness, while keeping costs down with recycled source material. Their philosophy was sound enough to earn them an investment grant by the Niche Vehicle Network, supporting smaller automotive set ups.

With headquarters in Hethel in Norfolk, Zenos is anything but a provincial firm, calling upon a huge network of high level contacts to achieve its goals. Multimatic contributed to the chassis engineering, Ford had a hand in the powertrain and components have been sourced from a variety of big names.

With a very clearly identified target market, Zenos confirms that it has set a price for Project E10 but will not be releasing details at this stage. More information will be forthcoming as the launch approaches.

After the initial offering, the company is planning a roadster for 2016, with its companion coupe to follow in 2018.

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