Much like TVR, Morgan, AC and the like, Trident Performance Vehicles has been building eccentric British sports cars in near obscurity for many, many years. Although many of these tiny automakers stick to a "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality, innovation is what can keep them alive. Trident's new Iceni R is a good example. This new model has been raced in non-R form for a couple of years, testing the limits of GM's 6.6-liter diesel powerplant in the process. The company even ran it on biodiesel.

The Iceni R offers a few tweaks to the styling of the regular Iceni, and a big change under the hood. It's a unique front engine, rear wheel drive two-seater that uses a fully folded stainless steel chassis that not only provides great safety and stiffness, but promises to be rust-free for a very long time. That's a big bonus in the UK. The total package should tip the scales at around 2,700 lbs. That's not a lot for the powerplant to push around, but this mill would be capable of pushing something twice as hefty with ease.

The engine is a 375-hp GM turbo diesel V8 mounted up front but behind the front axle like in the Ferrari 599 GTB. Being a diesel, torque is abundant with 520 ft-lbs. available at a barely-over-idle 1800 rpm. Add in the fuel economy and durability of a diesel motor and this is an attractive package for low-end lovers in the States, although that destination doesn't appear to be in the cards for the Iceni R. The power is routed through a rear-mounted 8-speed AUTOMATIC gearbox with paddle shifters, so just about anyone can hop in and make the most of that motor.

0-60 in less than 4 seconds, the quarter-mile in 12 seconds flat and a top end of nearly 230 mph, all the while returning somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 mpg! What's not to like? Well, there is the matter of pricing. The 2007 Trident Iceni R should start around £60,000, so it will remain out of reach for many of us.

[Source: Trident via New Car Net]