What is it?
If every new sports car project that came along succeeded, we'd need to double our server capacity just to keep up. Sadly, most new projects don't succeed, but you could see the Zenos E10 S was special when it first arrived; that there’s something about it, something credible, that the people in charge had a plan: make a car people want to buy, not just the car you want to build.
By the end of the year, then, 80 Zenos E10 Ss, lightweight, two-seat sports cars with no roof, will have exited the factory gates at Wymondham in Norfolk, with founder Mark Edwards – co-founder Ansar Ali has taken a back seat but remains a supporter and shareholder – predicting that 120 cars will be sold next year.
Currently production is sold out until April, and by the end of January’s Autosport International Show he’d like orders for well over half of the year.
So who’s buying E10s? And what do they come out of? Edwards says there is no typical buyer. Some have had motorbikes but now have families, some flit between other lightweight brands with no particular loyalty, some have big collections.
But what has surprised Edwards is that the E10 S, a 2.0-litre, 250bhp car with no weather gear, isn’t necessarily the preserve of track-day enthusiasts.
We’ve found it rides pretty well, with a flow and lightweight agility not unlike an early Lotus Elise. Maybe that’s part of the appeal for road-based drivers, but ditto too the fact, I suspect, that it’s priced from an entirely attainable £29,995 – the purpose of the Zenos exercise in the first place being to bring a new but also relatively affordable car to market. It’s possible that track enthusiasts want something a little more hardcore and are prepared to pay for it.
As if by magic, then, here is one, the Zenos E10 R. At least, a development prototype. It’s the “fastest, most focused and most thrilling model yet”, according to the press release and, you suspect, a car that Edwards and the team just quite fancied building. They think that perhaps 20 or 30 of next year’s production will be this R model, which features a 2.3-litre Ford Ecoboost engine and significantly more power than the E10 S.