Zenos seemed like it was going to be one of the rare sports car start-ups that made it. All the ingredients were there - ex Caterham and Lotus people running the show, a clever but cheap to produce recycled carbon tub underpinning the cars, and engine supply from Ford.
Prices were thoroughly reasonable, with the naturally-aspirated, entry-level E10 weighing in at £24,995. Sure enough, the Norfolk-based firm soon progressed to building customer cars. Vapourware the E10 was not, but sadly, the company wasn’t able to stick around. Following a string of cancelled orders, Zenos went into administration in 2017.
AC Cars stepped in and bought the assets, pledging to provide support for those who’d bought an E10 during the vehicle’s short life. There was talk of shifting production to South Africa, but after a couple of announcements in 2017, news on that front seems to have gone awfully quiet.
If you still want one, we’ve good news. One of around 35 E10s sold in the UK is going under the hammer via Silverstone Auctions on 22 May, with a thoroughly reasonable estimate of £15,000 to £18,000 given.
It’s the E10 S, which uses the same 250bhp inline-four turbo engine as the previous-generation Ford Focus ST. Tipping the scales at around 725kg, it’s about half the weight of a Focus, making for a 0-60mph time of four seconds dead. Power goes to the rear wheels via a quick-shifting six-speed manual gearbox and an open differential - Zenos claimed there was little to no benefit in fitting one.
We tried one of these many moons ago and found it to be mostly very impressive, a little like a modern-day Caterham Seven. The aforementioned carbon tub sits on an extruded aluminium backbone, with aluminium subframes front and rear. Double wishbones feature at both ends, with the front-end setup using a motorsport-style pushrod damper arrangement.
The cabin, if you can call it that, was inevitably basic, but neatly designed. A windscreen was optional, and thankfully, the original buyer of this E10 S specced that. There’s nothing to protect you from the almost obnoxiously loud wastegate noises coming from the head-level intake though - best invest in some good earplugs.
The E10 S has covered just 2287 miles since being registered in 2016 and has an MOT until April 2022. If the guide price turns out to be accurate, this could be one hell of a track day car bargain.