What is it?
According to its creator, Dubai-based Anthony Jannarelly, the Design-1 is a back-to-basics throwback to a time when sports cars were simpler, lighter, more engaging and, therefore, better.
Five years in the planning (during which time he has also styled the likes of the Fenyr Supersport and Lykan Hypersport for W-Motors), the £85,000 Design-1 comes to the UK with probably the new Morgan Plus 6 as its closest rival, both in concept and price.
And if you’re wondering whether Jannarelly is yet another of these 'here today, completely forgotten tomorrow' companies we see so often, with ambition far outstripping the ability to deliver, Jannarelly has already built 20 cars, has orders for 70 more and is putting the finishing touches to a super-GT, to be known, predictably enough, as the Design-2.
But back to the Design-1. It has a simple steel spaceframe chassis, a normally aspirated engine behind the driver, powering the rear wheels through an optional limited-slip differential and a six-speed manual gearbox. An automatic ’box be specified, but why you’d want to eludes me. Suspension is by double unequal-length wishbones at each corner, braking by large iron discs. There is no anti-lock braking and no airbags, although traction control is an option.
The list price buys you the car with a glassfibre body in convertible form, although it can be turned into a coupé in a matter of minutes by fitting a hard-top with its integral Perspex sidescreens. The top is made from carbonfibre and costs £7600, and if you’d like the rest of the car in carbonfibre (and save 40kg off the already fairly svelte 850kg kerb weight), it will cost an additional £12,700, taking the entire cost of the car into six-figure territory. Those who want to go the other way can detach the windscreen and turn it into a full fly-spitting roadster by fitting a full-width aero screen (£2000).
The engine is a Nissan 3.5-litre V6 developing 325bhp and sourced from a large Maxima saloon sold in the US, China and Japan, although it is related to the engine in the long-defunct 350Z sports car. As for creature comforts, the Design-1 is far better equipped than an Ariel Atom or even a Caterham. There is decent luggage space both in the nose and behind the engine, while it has air conditioning, a decent heater, speakers and a USB port into which you can plug your smartphone.