A New British Company Has Unveiled A £40,000 Lightweight Manual Sports Car, Called Wells Vertige

by AutoExpert   |  8 July, 2021

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This week at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, a new £40,000 mid-engined sports coupé, produced in total secrecy and now ready for the roads and production, will make an appearance.

The two-seater, limited-run Wells Vertige weighs under 850 kg and comes with a 208 bhp 2.0-liter atmo four-cylinder engine. Wells Vertige was created to be beautiful, easy to obtain, and enjoyable to drive. It's Robin Well's idea, an entrepreneur who started in 2014 to purchase the sports car of his aspirations. 

“I had a lot of options,” he recalls, “but nothing appealed to me, so I ended up building my own car.” It's been a long road, but I've enjoyed every minute of it.” Vertige has a composite body built on a super-stiff steel monocoque chassis, topped by a tubular steel roll-cage, with manufactured tube frames at either end to carry the bespoke cast-aluminum double-wishbone for front and back suspensions. 

The 205/45 R17 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires on the car's unique Speedline alloy wheels are another reference to Wells' simple ownership credo. Dihedral doors like those found on McLarens provide access to a cramped but pleasant cockpit, with excellent space management allowing the two-seater to carry a full-sized spare wheel and have a practical boot size. 

The automobile is 4.0 meters long, the same length as a Ford Fiesta, but it is 1.75 meters wide, thinner than many modern cars for better maneuverability. The Ford-sourced engine is a transversely mounted, normally turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder producing 208bhp and running through a six-speed manual transmission in standard form.

Wells Vertige weighs 850 kg when fully loaded for the road, therefore acceleration is quick. The base engine (which may be easily improved if buyers desire) can accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than 5.0 seconds and reach a top speed of more than 140 miles per hour.

In April 2022, the first series of seven cars, all sold to "friends and family," should be available. Since exclusivity is another of Wells' criteria, he aims to produce automobiles in batches of only 25 each year in the future.

Vertige marks the culmination of a collaboration between two men named Robin: Wells, whose success with a Middle East-based insurance company has allowed him to self-fund the project, and project engineer manager Robin Hall, whose Northamptonshire-based firm, Hall Engineering and Design, has been associated since 2016. While a new factory is now being established in Bishop's Itchington, Warwickshire, Hall Engineering will produce the first seven automobiles.

Hall, who began his career as a chassis engineer, worked on a number of Rover, BMW, and Jaguar Land Rover projects before launching his own “small and real” specialty engineering firm eight years ago, with Vertige as his key project. Wells had been working with a Birmingham glass fiber expert for more than a year by the time the two met, optimizing a design that was appealing and compact enough to satisfy his preferences.

Wells conducted an extensive study, purchasing numerous historic and modern sports cars in the target area to inform the Vertige's style, which, while completely unique, pays homage to some of the world's best sports cars.

Q&A with Robin Wells, founder of Wells Motor Cars

Why would you want to make your own car? “I suppose there's a part of all of us that desires to create our own car. Even in rental autos, I construct a mental checklist of ways to improve the vehicle. Then, a few years ago, I set out to find the perfect sports car – and nothing piqued my interest.”

You designed the chassis after you finished styling the car. Why? “Yes, we purposefully did the reverse of what the majority of people do. I was dead set on having a truly stunning automobile. Then Robin [Hall] developed his chassis to give us ideal proportions.”

Although the design is yours, you never actually sketched the car completely, did you? “No, I decided that everything would be done in full scale. We'd make a shape and then stand there staring at it for a while. That allowed me to do things like fine-tune the spoiler lip so the car's extremities could be seen from the driver's seat.”

When did you build your first vehicle? “Not until early 2018, because we first did everything in CAD to make sure everything would fit. That turned out to be one of our better decisions. As it were, the automobile appeared completely formed. In November 2018, it passed its IVA test for the first time.”

Didn't you benchmark a large number of vehicles? “Yes, and I purchased a few to support us as well. Robin had a Caterham, which came in helpful, and the Porsche Boxster/Cayman was frequently mentioned. Robin's Mini experience was also factored into the steering. We even used a tape measure to test the Mazda MX-5's gearchange throws.”

What is the origin of the name Vertige? “That was my suggestion. Vertigo is a French word that means dizziness. I predicted that the thrill of driving this car would make drivers dizzy.”

 

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