su­per­car pro­to­type

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE -

The car will be built by Alan Jones Sig­na­ture Ve­hi­cles with a fourth busi­ness part­ner, New Zealand busi­ness­man Tony Richards. And Wil­son says they are con­sid­er­ing a pub­lic float.

The car has been shown at the Gold Coast V8 Su­per­cars event and the inaugural Fes­ti­val of Speed in Perth last month, and will be on dis­play at the Clip­sal 500 in Ade­laide in March.

Jones says he has tested the car on road and track and had ‘‘in­put into ev­ery­thing’’ in­clud­ing sus­pen­sion, de­sign, fit-out and pow­er­train. But he ad­mits there is still a lot of work to do.

‘‘For a start the roof needs to be higher so you sit up a bit more,’’ he says.

‘‘I have to ad­mit, it’s not an easy car to get in and out of.’’

Jones says they will also in­ves­ti­gate al­ter­na­tive pow­er­trains, in­clud­ing a two-litre twin turbo, elec­tric mo­tor, hy­dro­gen and even a mag­netic en­gine be­ing de­vel­oped on the Gold Coast.

Driv­ing

Cars­guide was priv­i­leged to have a short drive in the pro­to­type, but Jones stressed that the ve­hi­cle had teething prob­lems and was only a pre­pro­duc­tion model with the wrong en­gine.

Like other con­cept cars, pro­to­types and pre-pro­duc­tion ve­hi­cles that I have seen at mo­tor shows and driven, the ve­hi­cle doesn’t stand close scru­tiny.

The trim is slightly rough, the noise damp­en­ing is limited and it feels un­fin­ished.

But it still feels like a pur­pose-built ma­chine des­tined for pro­duc­tion, even in limited hand­built num­bers.

Bar­nett says there is an oil leak prob­lem and we are limited in revs on the short drive, but the clutch feels light, the gearshift pos­i­tive and the steer­ing light and re­spon­sive for such a high-pow­ered, low-slung su­per­car with wide tyres.

It seems to de­liver on Jones’s in­ten­tion that the AJF1 is a su­per­car you can use ev­ery day.

But he’s also right about the roof. It’s too low, mak­ing it al­most painful get­ting in and out. Once in­side, the seats are raked back too far, yet your head still scrapes the ceil­ing.

While there is sparse noise damp­en­ing ma­te­rial in­side, the glo­ri­ous roar of the V8 just be­hind your head is de­light­ful and there is only a slight rum­ble in the seat.

Sus­pen­sion feels stiff and al­though there is 140mm of clear­ance, we take it cau­tiously slow over the speed bumps.

With limited revs it is dif­fi­cult to vouch for its per­for­mance, be­sides the en­gine will be re­placed.

How­ever, Jones says it is ‘‘ al­most cer­tain’’ that the car will have some motorsport in­volve­ment. Di­men­sions (mm): 4170 (l), 2150 (w), 1030 (h) Wet weight: 1220kg

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