A new British-built £40,000 mid-engined sports coupé, developed in secret and now ready for the road and poised for production, will make its debut this week at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Called the Wells Vertige, the car was designed to be beautiful, simple to own and fun to drive. It’s the brainchild of entrepreneur Robin Wells, who set out in 2014 to buy the sports car of his dreams.
“I had a pretty wide choice,” he says, “but nothing appealed so in the end I decided to make my own car. It has been a long journey, but I’ve loved it.” The Vertige has a composite body mounted on a super-stiff steel monocoque chassis, topped by a tubular steel roll-cage, with fabricated tubular frames at either end to carry the bespoke cast-aluminium double-wishbones for the front and rear suspensions.
Its bespoke Speedline alloy wheels are wrapped in relatively modest, 205/45 R17 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres – another nod to Wells’ easy ownership mantra. McLaren-style dihedral doors give access to a snug but accommodating cockpit, with clever use of space allowing the diminutive two-seater to carry a full-sized spare wheel and offer a sensibly sized boot.
The car is 4.0m long, the same size as a Ford Fiesta, but slightly narrower than many modern cars, at 1.75m, for enhanced manoeuvrability. The Ford-sourced engine is a transversely mounted, normally aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit producing 208bhp in standard form and driving through a six-speed manual gearbox.
The Vertige weighs 850kg fully equipped for the road, so performance is brisk. The standard engine (easily upgraded if customers wish) can deliver 0-60mph in less than 5.0sec and a top speed of more than 140mph.
The first batch of seven cars, all sold to “friends and family”, should be ready in spring 2022. Wells plans future production runs in batches, amounting to just 25 cars per year, because exclusivity is another of his criteria.