Change oc­curs at Elfin

A new model is due next month, writes NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

THE count­down has started for the new Elfin sportscars. Holden Spe­cial Ve­hi­cles and Elfin owner Tom Walkin­shaw has con­firmed that two new Elfin sportscars are on their way. The first will be un­veiled next month and a coupe will fol­low sev­eral months later.

Apart from the race­track-bred model, the larger coupe will have im­proved in­te­rior room and a proper boot.

They will join the ex­ist­ing MS8 Club­man and Speed­ster, which have sold strongly in Aus­tralia, Bri­tain and the Mid­dle East.

Elfin will chase lo­cal sales, but a big ex­port push is planned. The cars have been de­signed with Euro­pean safety re­quire­ments in mind.

‘‘That will be a big mar­ket for it,’’ Walkin­shaw says of the new Elfin.

Nei­ther Walkin­shaw nor Elfin ex­ec­u­tives are talk­ing en­gines, but it is be­lieved to be the 2.0-litre tur­bocharged en­gine al­ready used in the As­tra VXR. It de­vel­ops 177kW and prom­ises light­ning per­for­mance like the light­weight $84,990 MS8 Club­man V8. How­ever, the new car should be about $20,000 cheaper than the MS8.

Walkin­shaw says the MS8 Club­man V8 and Stream­liner will still be avail­able, but the com­pany is fo­cus­ing on the smaller-en­gined cars for the Euro­pean mar­ket.

‘‘The new car does not have a V8 in it,’’ he says. Elfin has sold 50 MS8 Club­mans and Stream­lin­ers.

‘‘The fo­cus from the com­pany has been from the be­gin­ning to de­sign and de­velop the new car,’’ Walkin­shaw says. ‘‘We thought what we bought had a lim­ited life and re­stricted de­mand.’’

How­ever, he ac­knowl­edges there will still be core buy­ers who want the brawn of the V8 for track days.

‘‘There would al­ways be some peo­ple who wanted it and do track work, and that’s proven to be the case. But to get vol­ume we would have to de­sign and make a new car, which is what we’ve done.’’

De­spite the fo­cus on new cars, Walkin­shaw says ex­ist­ing mod­els would not be forgotten.

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