Ascari Ecosse – 1998

The brainchild of Dutch racing driver and self-confessed petrolhead Klaas Zwart, Ascari was named after the great Alberto Ascari, the first Formula 1 double champion.

It all began in the mid-1990s when the company produced the FGT concept car that appeared at various motor shows and generated considerable interest. Designed by Lee Noble, this mid-engined masterpiece featured a big fuel-injected Chevy V8 and raced with some success in the British GT Championships between 1995 and 1997. Suitably encouraged, Ascari re-christened the FGT as the Ecosse, switched to a BMW V8 engine and decided to undertake a production run that delivered on Ascari’s mission to produce road-legal racing cars.

Okay, so in the end it wasn’t much of a production run — just 17 of these stunning two-door speedsters were built in the late 1990s and less than a dozen survive. But their performance is legendary and they are so much more interesting (and exclusive) than any old Ferrari. The comparison is valid: the Ecosse has a long, low body with a classically Italian look that wouldn’t look out of place if it came out of Maranello, and shares those essential racing genes.

The fibreglass body sits atop a spaceframe chassis with independent wishbone suspension. The cabin is set well forward, with the pedal box placed between the front wheels. The wheels themselves are located at the car’s extremities for super-adhesive roadholding and precise handling. The engine ultimately chosen for the road car was a 4.7 litre BMW V8, tuned by German specialist Hartge to deliver awesome power output.

Although so few examples of the Ecosse were built, they neatly encapsulate the aspiration that lay behind the company’s enduring supercar philosophy — ‘If we have the courage to pursue our dreams and transform our vision into reality, we invite magic into our lives’

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

UK

FIRST MANUFACTURED:

1998 (until 1999)

ENGINE:

4,722 cc V8

PERFORMANCE:

Top speed of 200 mph (322 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.1 secs

YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Andalucia in Southern Spain is home to the Ascari Racing Club — a private circuit owned by Ascari boss Klaas Zwart where lovers of performance cars can drive their own supercars to the limit, or sample the delights of others chosen from Ascari’s comprehensive fleet of speedsters.

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