OF AN EMPIRE: SPARTAN AUTOMOTIVES
28 March 2014 | Story by RaceMasteR J | Photography by: Chevan
I've been noticing this new Automotive company who popped up
on Facebook a few months back and as with anything new on the
car scene I was very curious to check what they were all about.
The company in question is called Spartan Automotives and they
are based out in Strand. A local car manufacturer, wow! That's
brilliant! We at Raceweb always love things local and lekker!
So what do they actually produce? What kind of vehicles can
a local company from “up the road” make? Well, they
produce Austin Healy replicas, which are very stunning examples,
but I'll think about those in another 20 years time maybe.
For now, the two particular vehicles that caught my attention
were these, the Spartan 7 and the Spartan Trike. Yes people,
a reverse trike with 3 wheels! Don't think Reliant Robbin, think
more Morgan 3 wheeler. But this one is a lot more spicier than
that dated looking Morgan.
On closer inspection of the Spartan Trike I noticed a combination
of 3 things. A Lotus 7 type shape in front, an Arial Atom styled
vehicle in the middle and a Yamaha R1 at the rear. An R1 you
say? Yes, the crazy boys at Spartan Automotives strapped or
should I say bolted on a Yamaha R1 engine to the back of this
So what does that mean? Well, for one, lots of revs, 12 000RPM
there about. A proper sequential bike gear box, 2 wheels and
seats up front with only 1 wheel at the back! What a combo!
Not to mention the Trike weighs in at a mere 350kgs! That's
some serious power to weight ratios right there!
The Trike is perfect for someone like myself, I love bikes,
but can't ride properly yet. This vehicle gives me the closest
sensation of opening up a 1000cc R1 motor, but with the comfort
of being in something rather than on it.
As exciting as the Trike is, the car that really tickled my
fancy is the Spartan 7. Reason being is because to me, I see
it being a potential threat to the usual track day bench mark,
the Lotus 7.
Whether it be Lotus replica, Birkin or Caterham, they all have
similar set ups in terms of chassis and suspensions. Power always
varies but an average power output would be around the 120kw
The Lotus shape and platform is tried and tested, for the last
50 years or so. So the Spartan 7 has a very tall order to deal
with. So the reason I was so curious to check out this Spartan
7 was because I wanted to compare it to the Birkin that drive
on a very regular basis at Fantastic Racing.
There's a new kid on the block, does he have the moves to impress
For starters, the Spartan 7 is a welcomed new design. It’s
very futuristic looks attracts plenty of attention where ever
it goes. Modern design, check!
Ergonomically the Spartan has a way more spacious cockpit compared
to the extremely cramped Birkin. There's room to move your hands
and legs, room to stretch even. Comfort - check!
Turn the key and the 2.0L 16V 4cylender Ford Zetec engine bursts
into life. Pulling away everything feels soft and comfortable
just like a normal car. Reason being is, most of the parts on
this car are from a stock standard Ford Focus. The beauty about
the Spartan 7 is even though it’s a toy to have fun with,
reliability is always there due to tried and tested, from Ford,
off the shelf readily available parts. If anything brakes for
whatever reason, you can pop down to your local Ford dealership,
heck, even your local spare shop and 10 - 1 they will have it.
That's the deal with this particular car. Should you purchase
one your options are almost limitless in terms of customization.
From power upgrades to colours and wheel options. But for the
average guy who's looking to have some fun on the weekends this
car is ideal.
Driving the car on track I started off easy to get the feel
of things and eventually I picked up the pace. With about 110kw's
on tap it's very nippy in and out of the corners. Weighing a
mere 550kg's it also has a very high power to weight ratio,
but at the end of the day the numbers don't lie and I could
of done with at least another 50kw's especially down the straights.
Though I must admit, the day we tested these vehicles the weather
wasn't playing ball clocking close to the 40degree mark. Not
great temperatures at all to be testing.
The car feels very darty and agile in the slower corners. In
the higher speed corners the car initially feels as if it wants
to wash wide but once you learn its characteristics and traits
your confidence will rise and sure enough the car will pull
itself back in again.
Brake pedal feel is good with almost no brake fade at all after
a good couple of laps, even in the souring heat. The brake bias
is a little too much on the front for my liking but once you
get used to that you can use it to your advantage, like I did
coming into turn 2, sideways.
Truth be told these are kit cars, as Top Gear would say, cars
made in a shed. These are not cars that have taken teams years
and years to develop with billion dollar budgets. These are
local boys! And I say job well done!
The other thing we need to mention is that today was the first
time these vehicles actually saw track time. So we are proud
to be the first to have track tested them. There were a few
small teething issues which will be ironed out, as is the case
with any new project. We hope that we provided the Spartan team
with sufficient information and hope they can improve their
vehicles even more from now.
We would like to thank the Spartan Automotives Team, Mr Prinsloo
and Mark for allowing us to take their babies on track. Thanks
to Paul Simon and his team at Killarney
Raceway for affording us our precious track time
Should you wish to get hold of the Spartan Automotives team
you can visit their website at: www.spartanautomotives.com