Colin Chapman left quite a legacy with his "add lightness" philosophy. Lotus was founded on that principle. Caterham soliders on in that spirit as well. And now a new outfit has in turn grown out of Caterham. That outfit is called Zenos, and it's spearheaded by former Caterham chief Ansar Ali. The startup has three variations on a new project in development: the E10, an open-top speedster; the E11, a targa-topped sportscar; and the E12, a fixed-roof coupe.
With dimensions similar to a Lotus Elise, the project is being built around a new chassis design that incorporates an aluminum tubular frame with recycled carbon-composite bodywork that's said to be ten times cheaper to produce, repair or replace than the usual cost-intensive carbon fiber.
Power is set to come from a Ford Duratec unit, similar to what Caterham uses only a generation more advanced. We're told to think of it as an EcoBoost sans the turbo, but with direct injection and variable valve timing. Displacing 2.0 liters, mounted amidships and driving the rear wheels, the naturally-aspirated version is expected to deliver around 200 horsepower, with a supercharged version to follow.
Backed by British government funding, the Zenos E10 is set to target the likes of the KTM X-Bow and Vuhl 05 – not to mention the Lotus 2-Eleven and various Caterham offerings. Assuming that goes according to plan, the E11 should follow in 2016 and the E12 by 2018. We don't know whether they'll be street legal or imported to the US, but we have a feeling Chapman would be proud.