Supercar mystery solved (2007): it's a Spectre!

Published: 23 October 2007

A mystery supercar? What's all this about?

A few weeks ago, CAR Online's spies spotted this phantom prototype testing at a Leicestershire test facility in the UK - and we were left baffled. It wasn't a supercar we were aware of and so we asked for your help to identify it. We've followed up your suggestions with every specialist sports car maker under the sun, in a bid to establish its real identity. What did we find? Well, on paper at least, this is registered as a Spectre. But the story's not as simple as that. The paper trail has led us as far afield as Germany, America and around all the usual British sports car suspects - and it's raised further questions about this car's provenance. We now know exactly what this car is, what is definitely isn’t. Click ‘Next’ to get the full lowdown…

So how do we know it’s a Spectre?

The registration document. We, like many of you, ran a registration check on the car, and found out that way. That document also declared that the car is running a 6996cc engine. But it's not as simple as that. A statement on Spectre's website says ‘Spectre Cars Limited currently has no products in production. However, new vehicles are under consideration for development. Product information remains confidential at this point and so no details are available for release at this time’. However, Spectre's engineering partner is C2P Automotive. It's based in Milton Keynes, which matches the phantom car's registration document, so it’s to C2P that we turned next.

So what did C2P have to say for itself?

Not a lot. Most of our questions were answered with ‘no comment’ (many journalists interpret this as, 'yes, it’s ours' but we'll let you make your own minds up). Spectre appears to be a dormant company and so C2P could be using that name to cover up the real identity of the car. A company spokesman told us that it was definitely not a Spectre - suggesting that it will in fact reach the market under a different badge. That leaves two options: it is either developing the car for a client, or it's C2P’s own model, in much the same way that consultancy Prodrive dabbles in its own branded models. Engineering sources in the UK have confirmed that this car is currently running a GM-sourced V8, the same 7.0-litre (above) that you can find in the Corvette Z06. So the registration document isn't lying.

What else do we know?

The styling was done by Motorcity Europe (MCE). A statement on MCE’s website says that it has ‘been working since June 2002 in cooperation with C2P Automotive Ltd (UK) on a number of sports car projects. MCE responsibilities extend to full exterior-interior styling and design. This includes not only concept generation, but also progression of the designs through to production-ready models components and features. As the projects have not yet been launched, no images are currently available'. There's even this teaser shot (above), which looks remarkably similar around the nose and cabin to our mystery car. No one at C2P would confirm what car is under the cover, but we can make an educated guess… MCE are the same people who helped style the now defunct Ford Focus RS, and the current Mustang. Judging by that pedigree, the wedge-shaped profile of the car in our photos, and the reaction of many of you, this car is going to look very good indeed.

What else do you know about the mystery car?

That’s it’s got Brembo brakes, Koni shock absorbers, and scissor doors, and whoever is behind the project has the financial backing, and patience, to fully develop the project before releasing any details. Most potential British supercar manufacturers pop up with a styling buck and some sketches, then disappear, never to be heard from again. This company appears to be an altogether different set-up. From what we’ve gathered, they have significant backing, and will only launch the car when they’re ready. What we’re looking at could be a significant attempt on the supercar market.

So will it have a ‘Handling by Lotus’ badge?

In our previous story we reported that this mystery supercar was spotted with Lotus paperwork outside the Koni suspension factory in Holland, but that it wasn’t a Lotus. Since then a Lotus spokesman has confirmed this car categorically isn't a Lotus, but wouldn't comment on the paperwork. Which he wouldn't to protect client confidentiality. So it's definitively neither the Espirit replacement (inset), nor the 2+2 nicknamed ‘Project Eagle’, which we believe will take a bow at the 2008 British Motor Show.

And it’s not the new McLaren either?

No. Why? Because we know that the McLaren P11 has being going around dressed up as both a Ferrari and as an Ultima and this is neither of those cars. CAR has seen detailed engineering sketches of this car, and it varies substantially from the mystery car we've spotted. It’s not the latest Noble, either. Although its latest car will now run a V8, a company spokesman told us that our mystery car was definitely not theirs - it hasn't even left the factory yet. So that rules out that.

Here’s a long shot, what about Arash Farboud and his AF-10?

Good one, as the AF-10 was due to run a 7.0-litre Z06 Corvette engine. Farboud is the same man who originally created the Farbio GTS, but he went on the record to deny this is his car. Unveiled at the British Motor Show as a styling buck in 2006, the AF-10 was originally due towards the end of 2007 with 550bhp. The AF-10 and our mystery car share a few design cues, like the scissor doors, but are otherwise too different. So it sounds like we'll have to wait a while longer to learn the true identity of this newcomer. Expect the mystery supercar to be unveiled towards the end of 2008.

And it’s not the new McLaren either?

No. Why? Because we know that the McLaren P11 has being going around dressed up as both a Ferrari and as an Ultima and this is neither of those cars. CAR has seen detailed engineering sketches of this car, and it varies substantially from the mystery car we've spotted. It’s not the latest Noble, either. Although its latest car will now run a V8, a company spokesman told us that our mystery car was definitely not theirs - it hasn't even left the factory yet. So that rules out that.

Here’s a long shot, what about Arash Farboud and his AF-10?

Good one, as the AF-10 was due to run a 7.0-litre Z06 Corvette engine. Farboud is the same man who originally created the Farbio GTS, but he went on the record to deny this is his car. Unveiled at the British Motor Show as a styling buck in 2006, the AF-10 was originally due towards the end of 2007 with 550bhp. The AF-10 and our mystery car share a few design cues, like the scissor doors, but are otherwise too different. So it sounds like we'll have to wait a while longer to learn the true identity of this newcomer. Expect the mystery supercar to be unveiled towards the end of 2008.

By Ben Pulman

Contributor, former road test ed of this parish, tallboy