A British sports car firm has placed its company up for sale, offering a fully designed and engineered car that is ready to go into production.
The sports car in question is the Avocet, a sub-£30,000 lightweight model powered by a 150bhp 2.0-litre Ford engine. The car is the work of private automotive enterprise MMI, but Martin Miles, the founder and managing director of the company, has placed the Avocet up for sale.
The Avocet started life more than a decade ago under the name Strathcarron. Miles was a backer of the original enterprise but the company failed, so MMI took over and set about extensively redesigning and re-engineering the car.
It was last seen in public in 2012. Miles has worked on other projects since then, but around nine months ago he picked up the Avocet project again and worked on a business case to look at its potential position in the market and what it would cost post-recession.
So advanced is the Avocet’s development that all that is left is for it to be placed into production, something which Miles believes he is too old to undertake. He is now open to offers from those who can take the project to the next level.
Miles didn’t put a figure on what he would like for the Avocet project, but did say it had been entirely self-funded to this point.
He has built five pre-production models, three of which are road registered and one of which is a spider, and undertaken thousands of miles of testing all over Europe. Design and engineering work is all complete, the tooling is ready to go and he has sought the help of Caterham Technologies to ensure there is a supply of materials with which to build the car.
Miles said the Avocet is a road car with the ability to go on the track, rather than the other way around. The 150bhp Ford engine that powers the sub-700kg model can be specced up to 225bhp with a Mountune performance kit.
So versatile is its chassis that Miles said an electric drivetrain could be fitted to the model, opening up even more future opportunities for the Avocet.
The Avocet can be driven without a body, making updates to the styling easily achievable. 3D printing technology opens up plenty of new opportunities for the production of different parts and bodies, Miles revealed, before adding that he saw this “as the future for low-volume sports cars”.
The Avocet was only advertised for sale from the end of last week so as yet Miles has had no expressions of interest, but he is open to offers from the UK or abroad. Buyers would be getting a project that is commercially viable with a lot of the risks already taken out. Miles and others involved are happy to stay on under new owners, but would also step aside if that is what would be best for potential buyers.
He has had interest in the firm before, but has not been willing to sell until now. Miles made his mind up a few weeks ago to sell the company, saying it would benefit from “younger people with the energy to do it”. He added: “If I was younger, I would do it myself."
Production of the Avocet is budgeted for 150 units per year over two years. “We are realistic on volumes,” he said. “We have sourced suppliers, Caterham Technology has done the materials for us, it’s designed for production and we have the tooling. Once you answer how much, how many and the materials, it is very simple.”
Read more: Below is Steve Cropley’s story on the previous most recent Avocet updates from 2012
The £25,000, Reynard-designed, mid-engined sports car which started life nearly 10 years ago under the name Strathcarron, is about to reappear in heavily re-engineered and updated form powered by a 2.0 litre Ford Sigma engine, and renamed the MMI Avocet after its backer, retired industrialist Martin Miles.