A car for grampa, yee ha!

The new Mav­er­ick X3 boasts fea­tures that read like po­etry for petrol heads

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - AL­WYN VILJOEN

GO­ING on cur­rent trends, I ex­pect most of my smarter grand­chil­dren will scoff at the very idea of own­ing a car.

All that de­pre­ci­a­tion! All that look­ing for park­ing! And es­pe­cially all that park­ing!

In­stead, they will hop onto a ver­sion of the small ro­bot buses be­ing tested around the world (five at the last count) or rideshare an elec­tric scooter sim­i­lar to the ones Go­goro is test­ing with Coup in Ber­lin, Ger­many.

But I do hope there will be at least one grand­child who takes af­ter his ole grand­pappy, with a yen to be barely in con­trol of a pow­er­ful con­veyance while try­ing to chase down the hori­zon.

It is for rebel grand­chil­dren like these that Va­lene Mo­tors built the Black Mamba, a roll cage bolted to a three­wheeled, elec­tric su­per­car that does zero to 100 km/h in 4,2 sec­onds and whips around cor­ners too.

My prob­lem as a fu­tur­is­tic grand­dad is this pow­er­ful trike has only two seats. Where to put the grand­kid­dies?

In the back seat of our new Mav­er­ick X3, says Can-Am, which re­cently re­leased a four-seat ver­sion of its pop­u­lar Mav­er­ick X3. Pretty this four-seater ain’t. In fact, it is so ugly it may just de­throne my beloved Fiat Mul­ti­pla as the fugli­est car ever. Can-Am calls this look an Ergo-Lok cock­pit with “un­mis­tak­able, fu­ture-for­ward ex­te­rior de­sign”.

Ba­si­cally, its a light, strong race car built on the prin­ci­ples Gor­don Mur­ray pre­dicts as the fu­ture of car mak­ing — start with a solid roll cage, bolt on your choice of off-the-shelf driv­e­trains, sus­pen­sion and seats, and add per­son­alised steer­ing. Wind­screens and cladding for the cage to keep out the el­e­ments are op­tional and — frankly — a bit sissy. If you want to avoid the weather, take one of those ro­bot buses.

The off-the-shelf good­ies Can-Am chose for the X3 four-seater in­clude a new turbo-charged and in­ter­cooled Ro­tax Ace en­gine that jumps the car in un­der five sec­onds from zero to 100 km/h. A small QRS-X con­tin­u­ously vari­able gear­box keeps the revs in the op­ti­mum range and a four-link TTX sus­pen­sion with about a foot of travel keeps the rub­ber aimed at the ground, how­ever far down it may be. When the X3 does land, class-beat­ing Fox 3.0 Podium RC2 HPG shocks “are spe­cial enough to star in their own stu­dio photo”, says Can-Am.

Other boasts read like po­etry for petrol heads — un­par­al­leled power trans­fer, vir­tu­ally no bump steer, pre­cise steer­ing re­sponse and no turbo lag — ev­ery­thing a su­per car prom­ises. But the real beauty of pipe cars like the X3 is their price — some R386 833 be­fore taxes and Zu­mas­parked de­pre­ci­a­tions to the rand. Even Neil Wool­ridge Mo­tor­sport, where they build the rac­ing Ford Ranger bakkies in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg, will be hard pressed to beat this price.

PHOTOS: CAN-AM

Both the Can Am Mav­er­ick X3 two- and four-seaters have the ex­cep­tional class-beat­ing Fox 3.0 Podium RC2 HPG shocks to en­sure sus­pen­sion that will en­able grandads to take the kid­dies for a jump (inset).

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