Ant Anstead is best known by car people as Wheeler Dealers‘ former full-time mechanic. And for non-car people, as Renée Zellweger’s other half. But he was an established player in the automotive world long before taking over Wheeler Dealers spanner duties from Edd China, helming various car TV shows and founding his own company - Evanta Design Limited, now known as the Dowsetts Classic Car Company.
Anstead’s firm made various ‘evocations’ of cars like the Aston Martin DBR1, and also fresh designs like the Barchetta. What you see here is the Comet, a coupe version of the latter.
It’s (perhaps inevitably) built around a steel spaceframe, sitting on which is a curvaceous, retro-styled bodyshell made from Kevlar-reinforced GRP. To add a dash of modernity to proceedings, the panels are finished in Porsche Crayon Grey. The finishing aesthetic touch comes from a set of Dowsetts-designed wheels.
Further sticking true to the typical low-volume sports car MO, power comes from a General Motors LS3 V8, which drives the rear wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox and a limited-slip differential. The 6.2-litre pushrod V8 provides 430bhp, making for a 0-62mph time of 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 150mph.
Ensuring the crate engine doesn’t look too incongruous after lifting the front-hinged bonnet, Dowsetts added some bespoke and nicely shiny rocker covers. It’s similarly spangly in the cabin, with silver and chrome detailing to go with the quilted red leather. Inside, you’ll also find four-point harnesses and a wood-rimmed Moto-Lita steering wheel.
Described as a “one-off” (there is one other Comet we know of but in a very different spec), the car has covered a mere 2,500 miles. Its current owner is parting ways with the Comet due to a back injury.
Silverstone Auctions expects it to go for “around half its build cost”. Originally, Dowsetts had these cars priced at £140,000. For reference, Silverstone sold an Evanta Barchetta in 2017 for £38,250. The Comet will go under the hammer at the NEC Classic Motor Show on 13 November.