7 December 2006

Project Kimber, the British venture that plans to revive the Smart Roadster under the AC name, has released the first images of its new car. The consortium plans to build the car at a site in the UK and has said it’s “in the final stages of assembling a £65m investment package.” But Kimber chairman Lord James of Blackheath admitted the plan was behind schedule. “It is taking longer to achieve than we originally hoped,” he said. “We have a number of significant investors who are close to commitment and require at least one more to do so before we close the book. We expect to be able to announce that this has been completed in the near future.”

Kimber negotiated the rights to the defunct Smart Roadster and Roadster Coupe earlier this year. It has now agreed with Smart about the equipment it will take from Smart’s factories to build the cars. The cars will not be exact copies of the Smarts with AC badges (see Smart, right). Kimber intends to redesign and re-engineer the vehicles, and will give them a new look. However, judging by the sketch, there will be commonality between the models in componentry like their doorhandles, and apparently in some of their panels. Interestingly, this sketch shows a car with vertically-opening scissor doors; there’s no confirmation from Project Kimber that they’ll make the final version though.

Production of the car should start next year.

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