Looks weird, but contains the seeds of a talented flyweight
15 August 2008

What is it?

The Jetstream 250 is the first product of Cornwall-based manufacturer Jetstream. It is a 700kg rear-wheel drive mid-engined sports car, and it is not pretty. But it is intriguing.

John Donnelly, the man who created the company, used to work for the Brabham and McLaren Formula One teams. The man who used to tune suspension for one Mr M Schumacher set up the double-wishbone suspension. And the engine comes straight from the Vauxhall Astra VXR.

What’s it like?

The Jetstream has engineering pedigree and plenty of poke, but a first glance into the engine bay doesn't inspire confidence that it will actually deliver the dynamic thrills promised by the lightweight construction.

The transverse-mounted 2.0-litre engine sits high and is located almost over the rear axle, while the 33:67 front:rear weight distribution is worrying, until you realise that's more or less an identical figure to the Elise, the car that Jetstream benchmarked for ride and handling.

Climb aboard and you’ll begin to forget the odd looks. The interior is simple, with clean lines and a spot-on driving position. This early car is also amazingly well screwed together. It feels at least as solid as an Ariel Atom.

The good work continues on the road. There’s traction and grip in abundance and the weighty steering - which initially feels leaden - comes alive when you press on, writhing in your hands without kicking back and allowing you to place the car accurately on the road. The suspension flows with twists and undulations nicely, too.

But the Jetstream doesn’t feel as rapid as you'd expect from a turbocharged lightweight. The motor delivers plenty of torque, while whoosh and twitter from the turbo and wastegate provide amusement, but the blown Vauxhall motor isn’t the most tractable motor.

Should I buy one?

The Jetstream's big problem is its rivals. For the same money you could have the tried-and-tested Caterham R400, or the insane supercharged Ariel Atom. But although the Jetstream is a funny-looking thing, it shows plenty of promise. Don't forget that Noble's first creation, the M10, was an ugly duckling too - and look what that turned into.


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Matt Rigby

Join the debate


17 August 2008

I'd just like to correct a couple of points regarding the detail contained in the article:

  1. The price is £29,495 not £29,995
  2. 0-60 is under 4 secs not 4.5secs
  3. Top speed is 165mph not 130mph

Andy Goodman

Jetstream Sportscars Ltd

17 August 2008

Sounds like a bit more of a cracker if your performance figures are correct Andy, I'm afraid if you regularly read Autocar they get a lot of their figures wrong, mainly things like MPG but hey this site is free.

I can't help thinking that a bit more spent on a stylist would have helped but it may not take a good photo.

Best of luck with it.


17 August 2008

How did that 'Fold along the dotted lines' styling ever make it?

I love lightweight, agile cars but I'm afraid that this falls at the first hurdle of the 'I want one' factor.

The Strathcarron SC5-A was a beauty but failed for other reasons. A car with that styling and resolved handling could be succesful in todays market.

Also, the best current Lotus Elise is probably the base model with a paltry 134bhp. We don't need more sub 4 second cars that can 'allegedly' top 160mph. However good that makes the 'Headline' figures sound. After all, how often can you really use an Atoms 300bhp on the public road? Even seasoned road testers find it scary.

A real shame but I wish you well with your evolution of what could become a viable and desirable purchasing proposition.

18 August 2008


Your right with regard to the photo as it doesn't do the car justice, the nose is actually longer than it looks and it definitely looks even better "in the flesh". The car was originally styled by Brian Rossi in the States and he used to work for Ford and designed the Retro Thunderbird in 2000/1 and he forecast that the flat panels and harder lines would be a popular by the time we came to produce the car and in fact if you look at a lot of the newer models or concept cars they are now starting to have this look to it.

The beauty of this car is that it is fully road legal and you can drive it to the track! We are also producing a hard top which will hopefully make it a car you can drive in our "British Summers"!

Thanks for your comments.



18 August 2008

Sorry Jetsteam, the SC250 might go like it has sat on a wasp, but it looks like one of those cheap 24-volt Chinese shopping scooters that elderly people use!

18 August 2008

I'm not a great fan of the styling, but I just had a look at their website and it looks a lot better in the video that they have looping on the homepage.

18 August 2008

Andy, you state:

"The beauty of this car is that it is fully road legal and you can drive it to the track!"

Hardly revolutionary given the plethora of road legal track biased lightweights available at similar or less money.


Not forgetting that your pricing isn't too far shy of a base model Boxster.

I have enormous admiration for anyone brave enough to follow their passion and produce a vehicle from scratch but fundamental analysis shows that desireable aesthetics often triumph over dynamic capabilities. Marry the two, market your product correctly and you're on to a winner.

Sack the stylist, restyle the bodywork and you may just pull it off. Guffaw at this suggestion and you'll sink.

I wish you very well.


18 August 2008

Honest Paul, you're comments are unjustified. I have seen it in the flesh during filming for the promo video at the Top Gear track in Dunsfold, it looks great.

Go get 'em Andy!

Graeme Burton

18 August 2008

[quote Burtonez]Honest Paul, you're comments are unjustified.[/quote]

Why Graeme?

Style is a subjective matter. Am I only to heap praise regardless of my true feelings?

On this occasion I find it challenging at best and plain ugly at worst. And I believe I'm not alone. Sales figures will be the acid test.

Take a look at the KTM X-Bow for a well resolved take on flat panel styling.

I'll reiterate my sentiment that I wish the Jetstream crew the very best into the future.

19 August 2008

First of all, apologies on the incorrect pricing – hands up on that one. By the time this post publishes, that should have been rectified.

However on the day we tested it you had no verified performance figures for acceleration and top speed, so the figures are a ‘best guess’ that I agreed with you guys at the time, when I was also told that the car had not yet gone over 120mph.

If you look at the figures in the magazine, we have taken pains to point out that both acceleration figures and top speed are estimates.


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