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2002 Birmingham: Microbrands Rule! Page 2


The new model came at the same time as a complete modernisation program for the tiny factory in the quiet market town of Malvern, and at Birmingham Morgan announced the result of this make-over – that cars could now be delivered within 12 months of the order being placed. To customers used to waiting up to five years for a new car, this was earth-shattering news. The fact that it was combined with the announcement of four new distributors in the US and a program to make the Aero 8 comply with U.S. Federal legislation show that the company is serious about expanding its sales.

2003 Noble

2003 Noble

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Another British company that seems set to prosper, thanks to a policy of putting quality ahead of growth, is Noble, a small firm that started as a producer of build-it-yourself kit cars. It came to prominence when it came out that one of the kits had been sold to racing car builders McLaren, which was preparing to create the fastest and most expensive road car ever, the F1. In order to get some experience with a road-going ‘mule’, McLaren built a Noble, fitted it with development versions of the BMW engine that was going to be used in the F1 and used it for proving purposes. The job did Noble no harm at all, and the company started to build complete cars, using racing technology in the chassis and tuned versions of European Ford V-6 engines. Road testers have said the Noble is among the best-handling cars in the world, and the company has just delivered its 100th complete car. It used the Birmingham show as the launch pad for a new open-topped model that looks as though it could have come from any of Italy’s top performance specialists. Noble, it seems, is in it for the long run.

2003 Invicta

2003 Invicta

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Among the other limited production cars shown in Birmingham were the Invicta, a sports coupe powered by a Ford Mustang engine that looks good and revives a name from British sports car history; the Census, a little car with a big engine that has style going for it, and the Spyker, which is built in Holland but has a body that’s made in Coventry.

 

 

2003 Spyker

2003 Spyker

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Carrying a name that has a long history in Holland, Spyker is backed by a group of wealthy Dutch enthusiasts. Launched at Birmingham two years ago, it’s still around, after running well at Le Mans this year until it was put out by the failure of a $5 part. It’s available as a coupe, a convertible and as a road-going version of the Le Mans car, and there are plans to sell it – at around $250,000 – in the U.S. next year.

These small manufacturers are always gathered together in the same area of the vast Birmingham exhibition halls, and for the enthusiast, it’s an area that’s not to be missed – because there’s always the chance that this is the only time they will be seen in public.


 
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