Britain has a rich heritage in niche sportscars, but unfortunately for American customers, few of them end up making it over to the Colonies. The oddly-named Zolfe Orange, however, stands as a unique exception. We first reported on the Zolfe Orange two years ago, when it was set to enter production under Suzuki Hyabusa power. But a lack of space and other concerns sent the lightweight GT back to the drawing board, finally to re-emerge, and all the better for it.
The revised Zolfe Orange now incorporates Ford-sourced engines, starting with a 2.3-liter Duratec driving an entirely respectable 185 horsepower to the rear wheels via the Mazda MX-5's five-speed manual. More powerful engines, a six-speed manual or an available automatic, and a limited-slip differential will be offered, promising to deliver strong performance from the composite body draped over a spaceframe chassis that weighs 1543 pounds. The project is lead by Nic Strong of British Midlands plastics manufacturer Spatz Arlon and former Caterham engineering chief Jez Coates, benefiting from additional input from other cottage automakers through the Niche Vehicle Network. AP supplies the brakes, Avon the tires and the interior ergonomics were benchmarked against the Audi TT. Best of all, the first year's run of 30 vehicles are almost all earmarked for the American market, so if you've got £27,500 (approximately $42k in greenbacks) on hand and are looking for something a little different, the juicy little Orange may be your kinda squeeze