With styling said to have been “heavily influenced” by the Bjork video ‘All is full of love’, with a bit of F-22 Raptor jet fighter thrown in for good measure, the BAC Mono is one of the most extreme road cars you'll come across. But the team behind it is convinced there’s a small but perfectly formed market for such a machine.
The fact that there’s a queue of people wanting to buy the 50 cars BAC will build a year would suggest that the team knows what it is doing. As would the knowledge that BAC's Project Director Neill Briggs was the main consulting engineer on the original Focus RS, and has been involved in the development of “quite a few Stuttgart-based cars” in recent years.
The Mono is powered by a 305bhp, 227lb ft version of the four-cylinder, 2.5-litre Mountune engine, a brave move foregoing the 2.3-litre Cosworth unit that’s used by, among others, Caterham. This is attached to a six-speed Hewland gearbox that’s lifted straight out of an F3 car, with paddle-operated hydraulic shifts. So although there are three perfectly placed pedals down in the surprisingly roomy footwell, changing gear merely requires a gentle flick on one of the carbonfibre paddles.
A big, green neutral button on the removable steering wheel enhances the ‘F1 car for the road’ impression, as does the fully adjustable Sachs pushrod suspension and a set of specially developed Kumho tyres. While the Mono has no roof, BAC hasn't compromised on the interior with waterproof leather and suede furnishing the cockpit.
And boy, does it all gel together beautifully on the move. Merely climbing into the Mono is an event in itself, but once you’re ensconced, the lack of compromise in the single-seat design becomes immediately apparent. You press a centrally mounted button on the steering wheel and the digital screen comes to life – and, from that moment onwards, the driving experience has an impossibly strong whiff of F1 about it.
You wonder if it’s actually legal to begin with, so obvious is the connection to the competition world, right down to the fact that you have to wear a crash helmet, like it or not, seeing as there’s no windscreen whatsoever. Yet once you get going, the intimacy of the driving experience and the immediacy of its responses are such that you become totally immersed in the business of driving it.