Cars of 1996 UK’s se­cret supercar

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - The Way We Were -

It was the supercar that was meant to of­fer McLaren F1 per­for­mance at a tenth of the price. The Light­ning had the tan­ta­lis­ing com­bi­na­tion of Yamaha en­gine tech­nol­ogy – es­sen­tially two FZR1000 su­per­bike en­gines com­bined by an alu­minum crank­case to make a 305bhp, 2.0-litre V8 – and a slip­pery roadster body that helped keep the weight down to just 500kg.

This 600bhp-per-tonne car was not the re­sult of am­a­teurs work­ing in a shed. Among the team be­hind the Light­ning – which starred on the cover of our sis­ter mag­a­zine CAR in July 1996 – was LCC Rocket cre­ator Chris Craft and Lotus Elan M100 de­signer Peter Stevens.

The Light­ning had a pro­jected £50,000 price tag, which would have put it into the same ter­ri­tory as the TVR Cer­bera 4.5 and Lotus Esprit V8, but pro­duc­tion never took off. Debu­tantes you def­i­nitely could buy that sum­mer in­cluded the five-door ver­sion of Peu­geot’s 106 and a four-wheel drive sys­tem for Volvo’s ven­er­a­ble 850. It was also the sum­mer that Brits had their first chance to sam­ple the Lotus Elise, fol­low­ing its mo­tor show un­veil­ing the pre­vi­ous au­tumn.

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