Future classic: Wells Vertige

| 4 Apr 2022
Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Wells Vertige

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If there were ever such a thing as a guaranteed future classic, the new Wells Vertige gets close to it.

With the soul of a sports car, it’s all-British, it’s beautiful from every angle, it’s built as much for easy ownership as inspirational driving and there will only ever be dozens on the road, not hundreds.

And against many more venerable classics it’s pretty affordable, at around £40k.

Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Wells Vertige
Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Wells Vertige
Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Wells Vertige
Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Wells Vertige
The Wells Vertige has McLaren F1-style dihedral doors, a four-cylinder Ford engine and is all British

The Vertige already has a surprisingly high profile courtesy of stories in our sister organ, Autocar, and a successful ‘soft launch’ at Goodwood’s most recent Festival of Speed.

The first seven ‘Founders’ Edition’ cars are sold – construction is just beginning – and there’s a dozen more buyers waiting in line.

The Vertige is the brainchild of entrepreneur Robin Wells, who is the project’s financial backer and the designer of the body styling, and consultant engineer Robin Hall, who has used several decades of vehicle-building skill to create everything under the car’s elegant skin.

The original idea came from Wells, who set out to buy his ideal British sports car but couldn’t find what he wanted so decided to make his own. The Ferruccio Lamborghini route, if you like.

Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Wells Vertige
The Wells Vertige certainly has a shapely profile and can hit 60mph in under five seconds

The two Robins have worked on the project for more than five years but, unusually, preferred to produce something complete and credible before showing it to the world.

The Vertige (French for ‘vertigo’ – Wells reckons it will make owners dizzy with desire) is a two-seat, mid-engined coupé with a footprint similar to a Ford Fiesta’s.

McLaren-like dihedral doors give a strong clue to the thoroughness of its engineering, as does its space efficiency: the seats feel snug, even though the cabin can house very large people.

The determination to provide simple driving fun is evidenced by the fact that the car is only 1.75m wide, so you can ‘take a line’ through almost every corner.

Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Wells Vertige
The Wells Vertige’s two-seat cabin feels snug

Supporting the handsome composite panels is a rigid monocoque of folded, welded and bonded sheet steel, with tubular frames front and rear to carry the double-wishbone suspension, whose forged aluminium lower arms are all identical, for ease of repair.

There’s a healthy and bulletproof 2-litre, 208bhp Ford four-pot behind the occupants, driving the rear wheels through a stick-shift six-speed ’box, and a decent boot behind that.

It should hit 60mph in under five seconds and top speed is around 140mph.

Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Wells Vertige
Driving a Wells Vertige prototype, it feels ideal for British B-roads, with precise handling and good damping

We’ve driven prototype number two, which is very close to a production car but needs some refinement.

The Wells drives the way it looks: it’s quick, agile, grippy and precise.

Sensible ride rates with carefully matched dampers mean it feels comfortable on UK roads.

In short, it carries the traditions of classic British sports cars very well. With elan, you could almost say.

Images: Luc Lacey


Factfile

  • Engine dohc 1998cc ‘four’; 208bhp @ 6500rpm; 155lb ft @ 3000rpm (est)
  • Transmission six-speed manual, RWD
  • 0-60mph 4.6 secs
  • Top speed 140mph
  • Mpg 45mpg (est)
  • Price £40,000 (est)

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