What is it?
It’s the Elfin MS8 Clubman. Elfin itself has quite a history: founded as a race-car company in Adelaide in 1957, it won 29 championships, including five Australian sports car titles, four Australian Tourist Trophies and three Formula Ford titles, before moving into road cars too, producing a few Lotus/Caterham Seven-alikes.
The car you see here is its latest Sevenesque car – though it gets the full Jessica Rabbit treatment: ludicrously large wheels, voluptuous interior padding and, mysteriously, a properly raked windscreen with thick A-pillars, despite the fact that there’s no roof to attach to it.
Under the bonnet, the caricaturing continues; instead of a relatively powerful small engine, the MS8 has a very powerful large one: a 5.7-litre small block Chevrolet LS1 unit putting out 329bhp at 5600rpm and 343lb ft at 4000rpm.
What’s it like?
Oh, you had to ask, didn’t you? It is, and I quote from one of Autocar’s contributors who has been testing for several decades here, ‘one of the worst sports cars I’ve ever driven.’
But see it statically, and it ain’t bad. Fit and finish is good. Body panel fit is by no means a true arbiter of quality, but panel gaps are reassuringly consistent. Sling open the bonnet and general construction seems sound too. And the interior’s quite well put together. The driving position’s a bit ropey – the seats are small, you sit too high, the steering wheel needs more adjustment, but it’s pleasing to look at and well finished.