Ascari KZ1 finally goes on sale
17 June 2004

The Ascari KZ1 will become the second-most expensive British-built car on sale, after its makers performed a U-turn and finally decided to put the supercar into production. Priced at £235,000, it will certainly be exclusive, with Ascari hatching a business plan to cater for just 50 of the 520bhp two-seaters. The Banbury-based company claims it already has a number of promising prospects, with the first deliveries scheduled for October.

First revealed at the British Motor Show in 2000, the KZ1 was originally due to go on sale in autumn 2001. That date was steadily pushed backwards, until the beginning of 2004 when Ascari said that it wouldn’t sell the car at all.

Instead, it planned to offer the KZ1 as part of a timeshare-style package for the exclusive Ascari Race Resort under construction in southern Spain. That decision has now been reversed and the KZ1 will be put on general sale. Buyers will qualify for discounted use of the circuit.

The KZ1 is powered by a 4.9-litre BMW V8 from the outgoing M5, although it has been substantially tweaked by Mountune to raise output by 120bhp from the standard 400bhp. That gives the car a 0-60mph time of 4.0sec, and a top speed in the region of 190mph.

‘It’s an extremely credible bit of kit, and will be an extremely useable day-to-day sports car,’ said an Ascari spokesman.

And there’s more. Ascari has revealed the KZ1R, a stripped-out race version with stiffened suspension, a carbonfibre splitter, Sparco race seats with five-point harnesses and a big rear wing. The R stands for Rebel.If all goes according to plan, the KZ1 could be joined by a second car. Still in the planning stage, it looks likely to be a cheaper, less extreme model, although it will still have a mid-engined layout.

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