OCT 23rd 2014
Exclusive: 23 year‑old plans new British hybrid supercar
Could Goodwood get its very own Koenigsegg? If 23-year old Nick Thomas fulfills his ambitious plans over the next four years, yes. A lifelong petrolhead and ex-soldier, Nick became a personal trainer after leaving the army. But he has every intention of changing career as soon as possible; every spare moment he has is consumed in the drive to build his own car company. ‘I’m inspired by Christian von Koenigsegg,’ says Nick. ‘He has given me the drive to say it can be done.’
One of Nick’s first ports of call was David Hilton at car design and styling consultancy Motor City Europe. ‘I went to him with my ideas, but he’s heard it lots of times,’ says Nick. ‘It took a couple of months to convince him I was serious.’ Through his new contact, Nick was put in touch with Mike Dickison at Coventry University. He has access to a 2002 Spectre supercar prototype which is to be used as a basis for the as-yet-un-named supercar, albeit with thoroughly overhauled aesthetics and new technology.
With things progressing from idea to reality, Nick established a company – Sabre Automotive Group – in May of this year. Negotiations with potential investors are also under way.
Following discussion with Mike, Nick agreed that tackling the establishment head-on with a big V8 or V12 engined supercar is too risky a strategy for a start-up supercar maker with no heritage. So instead, Sabre’s offering will have hybrid technology with the goal being to offer LaFerrari level performance at 458 money. Like we said, ambitious plans…
At present, there are CAD drawings and mechanical concepts on paper. Talk is of a 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged engine with over 550bhp, boosted to more than 600bhp with an electric motor. But there is a necessarily pragmatic side to the project: everything under the skin will be proven, off-the-shelf technology. The idea is to have a simple sales message that says you can have the performance of x and the economy of y for the price of z.
Another thing that Nick is very clear on is the car’s all-British manufacture. ‘We’re looking at 80 per cent of sales being overseas, and they like British products,’ he says. And the location of that factory? Definitely the south east of England, and possibly within the Goodwood estate. ‘I grew up around Goodwood, and there’s something very different about the place. It’s very special.’
But there’s a long way to go before factory foundations are built. We’ve seen a lot of wannabe supercar-makers come and go over the years and there are many potential pitfalls. However, there’s a sense of measured consideration and long-term strategy in Nick’s approach to his embryonic company which gets you on-side. He reckons it will be 2018 before we see a production car. ‘At the moment, we’re keeping it low-key,’ he says. You read it here first…
All images: Motor City Europe