Posted: 28 March 2014 | Story by RaceMasteR J | Photography by: Chevan Davids


< back

So 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 thing!

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 mark.

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 the judges?

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 today!

Should you wish to get hold of the Spartan Automotives team you can visit their website at: www.spartanautomotives.com

< back

Report feedback to info@raceweb.co.za
All content on www.raceweb.co.za is copyrighted.
Web Hosting sponsored by CIRCLE Hosting