Step aside, Ariel Atom. Spartan Motor Company -- a formerly unheard of Sydney-based niche manufacturer -- has conjured up a stunning two-seater that uses Ducati V-Twin power to match (at least on paper) any feat the barebones Brit sportster can achieve.
The stunning looking Spartan V is billed as a four-wheeled superbike, and state-of-the-art construction suggests it's not an idle boast. The car's curvaceous carbon fibre bodywork is cloaked around a tubular spaceframe chassis, keeping weight down to "less than 300kg" -- not a huge amount more than a Ducati 1198 superbike (171kg).
The speedster-style Spartan derives propulsion from a 127kW 1198cc Ducati V-Twin engine mated to a six-speed sequential gearbox, and this combo allegedly enables it to sprint to 100km/h in a claimed 3sec, putting it within striking range of the awesome Atom 500, while top whack is said to be around the 280km/h mark.
We're always a little sceptical about such ventures, but its makers say the Spartan V is not yet another pie-in-the-sky sportscar project, and plans are allegedly afoot to sell 300 examples at $90,000 a pop.
The Spartan's spaceframe chassis was designed to mimic a Ducati motorcycle frame design, while the carbonfibre panels are equipped with quick-release fasteners. It rides on double-wishbone suspension with fully-adjustable racing shock absorbers, while stopping power comes from beefy Wilwood brakes housed within 17-inch alloys.
Its makers say the Spartan V's low centre of gravity and racecar-inspired design makes for "one hell of a drive" -- a claim that doesn't sound too hard to fathom. In our opinion, the car also looks the biz, and the Duke V-Twin engine undoubtedly endows it with a tasty and unique exhaust note.
Befitting its moniker, inspiration for the car reportedly comes from the Spartans. In the words of its manufacturer: The Spartans are "the most superior fighting machine the world has ever seen" and the supercar was "passionately developed to exude their very principles".
Says the company's blurb: "With a dedication and passion for perfection, two brothers embarked on a journey that commenced as far back as 1983 when they built their first motorcycle powered buggy."
"This proved to be the seed for inspiration and the desire one day to develop a supercar combining a body to rival Ferrari and the pulsating throb of a Ducati V-Twin engine with the handling to surpass most supercars and best of all, a price tag that anyone can afford."
The company says the car was "designed and developed for the purist wanting the ultimate driving experience" and says it wants to make drivers feel just like "the ancient Spartans when they strapped on their armour and turned from men into machines with a mystical air of invincibility."
It all sounds like its creators may have watched 300 a few times too many, but we're still happy to give the Spartan V a preliminary thumbs-up.
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