If a small British manufacturer came to me and said, "Look, we've got this car. It's 50 grand, it's got a V8, it's light and it'll do 0-60mph in about five seconds", I'd be more than interested.

After all, I'm always glad to see start-up companies coming up with new and inspirational products, or smaller manufacturers forging successful niches for themselves.

One that boldly claims its car can do 0-60mph in two seconds, all thanks to an eminently predictable combination of components and a conventional design, however, is dangerously close to being automatically dismissed as vapourware.

Even more suspicions are raised when you see quotes like 'space-age and lightweight materials', '0.5 mach (340mph)', 'unrivalled knowledge' and 'world-beating car' dotted with abandon through the press materials.

However, the car in question - the new Keating 'The Bolt' - certainly sounds interesting once you've cut through the chaff. Composite bodywork, a tubular chassis, the ever-dependable combination of a rear-mounted LS V8 engine and a six-speed transaxle, no driver aids and a claimed kerb weight of 990kg - all good things.

I appreciated the fact that it did indeed use a GM-sourced 505bhp 7.0-litre LS7 engine as well, because it indicated a degree of realism and dependability about the product. Here's a manufacturer who's openly not going for an unreliable, costly or unfeasible powerplant, instead sticking with a tried-and-tested unit.

Opting for an engine like that gives you a vast amount of future potential as well, as a few tweaks, or the addition of a couple of turbochargers, can soon see the car's performance figures rivalling that of much, much more costly alternatives.

So, it was with some apprehension that I attended the launch of the Keating 'The Bolt'. I wanted it to be good, a viable and marketable product. I wasn't expecting something with the fit and finish of a Porsche, and I was hoping for some sign that yes, someone might actually want to buy a Keating.

I was also ready to accept that it might command a seemingly unrealistic and unattainable price tag. Small volume cars like these are typically expensive anyway, but there are always people out there who have the money to spend on incredibly rare or noteworthy cars.

Before I even saw the car, however, I was handed a bit of paper that killed the whole thing stone dead for me. Keating said that its new car would cost £750,000.

Let's think about that. Seven hundred and fifty thousand pounds. That's almost £100,000 more than the recently announced Porsche 918 Spyder. Over £500,000 more than a Ferrari 458 Italia. A mere £688,505 more than the new Corvette C7.

Admittedly Dr Keating, CEO of Keating Supercars, did say that he hoped increased demand and a refined production process could bring the price of an entry-level model down to £150,000. That, while still expensive, was more within the realms of sensibility for a heavily customised and high-performance car from a small manufacturer.

Nevertheless, after having seen the car up close and in person, I can't imagine the demand will be significant enough to help him achieve his goal. The prototype is finished to a very poor standard and even simple elements - like the paint job - haven't been attended to in any great detail.

Underneath, there's a fairly basic and agricultural-looking tubular chassis. On top of that sits poorly fitting composite bodywork, replete with orange-peeled paintwork, shoddy weather sealing and amateurish detailing that reminds me more of Halfords than Hennesey.

Inside you'll find a cramped, low-rent interior with the obligatory pair of re-trimmed leather bucket seats, a tacky steering wheel and limited instrumentation. The high point? Probably the Alpine head unit. The low point? The bolt-shaped door handles. Not ergonomic, certainly not stylish. The interior mirror had fallen off as well, although it was quickly recovered and spirited away out of sight.

The fact that the doors drop a few centimetres when you open them tells you all you need to know, but at least with them open you can see the advanced 'space-age' composite panelling in its raw, unpainted form. Or what might actually be carbon fibre-effect sheet stuck over the orange paint.

You're probably thinking that, at this point, this sounds exactly like a car that's bolted, nailed and glued together by a handful of people in a shed on a farm. Which, unfortunately, is pretty much the case.

Mechanically there was nothing remarkable - not necessarily a negative point - about the car. But there was also nothing to suggest that it should command a £750,000 price tag, or even a £150,000 price tag. Even £50,000 seems steep, and you can pick up similar kits or complete cars for far less.

What was equally alarming was the lack of clarity surrounding the car. Virtually everything relating to it quoted different figures and specifications, while asking the people involved usually presented you with yet another different set of figures. Consequently you didn't know which way was up, nor what to take as a legitimate quote.

Specification sheet says a kerb weight of 990kg? Cool. Ask the engineer? Anything from 1100kg to 1200kg. I say go for broke, claim it weighs 700kg and watch Lotus rush forwards to find out how you've done it. Or how about suggesting its predecessor held a world record? Sure thing.

The fact that you could pick other holes in the presented information - Mach 0.5 is actually about 380mph at sea level, for example - rang further alarm bells and suggested that there were a distinct amount of fingers being stuck in the air for various figures.

None of this is likely to ever be a problem for anyone though, as in its seven-odd years of existence Keating has only made around 15 cars. Judging by previous reports, they've been finished to a similar standard as the new prototype of 'The Bolt'.

Dr Keating himself, however, is a friendly and affable gentleman who is clearly enthusiastic about cars. Whether he's simply indulging in his own personal supercar fantasy, or actually looking to establish the company as a realistic niche sports car manufacturer, however, I'm unable to ascertain - and that troubles me more than the car itself.

Ultimately it appears he's enjoying himself though, and he's not doing any harm to anyone, so I wish him all the best in his endeavours. He's also keeping a few people employed, which is no bad thing.

I just wish the whole project was more realistic and better executed, so we could be enthusiastic and excited about another new British sports car, rather than being faced with this rather unpleasant reality; one which could well do more harm than good to the British car industry.

As the evening drew to a close, I eventually managed to find someone who had driven the car and asked them, quite frankly, what it drove like.

They simply shrugged, looked vaguely disappointed for a moment and walked away. So, I suspect, would I.