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Unusual cars with interesting histories

The Zenvo ST1. Can a supercar be TOO powerful?

Zenvo ST1

Denmark doesn't have a huge car industry. What they do have is Zenvo Automation, a manufacturer of almost completely handbuilt cars, with a maximum production of about five a year. The ST1 was their first one.

As a country without a car building tradition it would be reasonable to expect that anything they produced would be fairly amateurish and based mainly upon imported components. Nothing can be further from the truth. Yes they may use a few imported parts but the ST1 was 100% Danish designed.

The ST1, launched in 2010, was a mid-engined, rear wheel drive two-door sports coupe with a blistering performance. A 6.8 litre twin charged V-8 powering through a seven speed panel shift or six speed manual gearbox was reported to propel this car from 0 to 100 km/h in just three seconds then on to 200 km/h in just under a further six seconds. Top speed was claimed to be 233 mph.

Weight is kept down by use of a carbon fibre body to give both lightness and rigidity, and the chassis is of steel and aluminium for the same reason. There are large air intakes to keep the engine and brakes cool. How did they design them to be so big and yet retain an attractive appearance? If you watch the 'Star Wars' series and look at uniforms that the storm troopers are wearing then this is what Zenvo claim inspired them!

The engine is mounted amidships to give optimum weight distribution and improve handling, and the huge power output, aided by a combination of turbocharging and supercharging is potentially in excess of 1100 brake horsepower. Indeed the top speed is said to be limited, in order to avoid tyre destruction!

The very small numbers that can be manufactured make this a car that is very rare indeed and quite possibly collectable; a maximum of 15 were made and sold. As expected these were not cheap, and the list price was around €660,000 each.

Is it worth the money? Mad car tester Jeremy Clarkson thoroughly thrashed one in 2014 and succeeded in burning out the clutch; he reckoned that at very high speeds the car was almost undriveable. The same car, when it was returned after the clutch had been fixed, caught fire as a result of a fault in an intercooler fan which had been manufactured by another company. Another one, however, caught fire the following year at the Copenhagen Grand Prix, this time as a result of a faulty fuel line. To be fair these problems do not necessarily mean that the car is a bad one; it perhaps it more illustrates the fact that, with such small production runs, every car is virtually a prototype and prototypes are made principally to iron out faults like these.

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