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Technology The Jannarelly Design-1 Is a Bare-Bones Throwback Sports Car That Works

22:46  14 february  2020
22:46  14 february  2020 Source:   msn.com

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a car parked in a parking lot: What would a slightly more modern, mid-engine Caterham Seven look like? The Dubai-built Jannarelly Design-1 gives one tantalizing answer.© Jannarelly What would a slightly more modern, mid-engine Caterham Seven look like? The Dubai-built Jannarelly Design-1 gives one tantalizing answer.

Cars are fast these days. So fast that some can help lose you your license, twice, in fewer than 15 seconds. They come with massive numbers that’ll make people around you emit funny noises, and your friends will all be very jealous. Then one chum will ask: "Yeah, but can you actually use it?" And you’ll feel like something of a fool. Yeah, you can use a billion horsepower on track, but unless you’re a racing driver you won’t be able to use it effectively.

This is where a car like the Jannarelly Design-1 comes into play—you can actually use it without worrying (too much) about having your license replaced with a bus pass.

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a car parked on the side of a road: Jannarelly Design-1 Is a More Modern Caterham 7© Jannarelly Jannarelly Design-1 Is a More Modern Caterham 7

The Design-1, from the mind of car designer Anthony Jannarelly, wants you to use its grunt. It wants to be driven with glee and without fear. Jannarelly, the man on the other end of the pencil that created the W Motors Lykan and Fenyr, has form when it comes to forms, but the big-power W Motors creations aren’t what you’ll find in his driveway. He drives a Caterham Seven, an amazingly tactile car, raw, exciting, and... pretty awful 95 percent of the time. Cramped, hard to get into, and not exactly dripping in natural beauty. What Jannarelly set out to build is a car that drives like his Caterham, but looks a little less dated. It would be a fond look back at the '50s and '60s, when design was more about pencil strokes than CFD renderings. As such, the Design-1 looks like something you'd expect to see at a classic GT race meet, or on a lawn somewhere at Pebble Beach.

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Originally, the Design-1 was penned as a barchetta, a roofless slice of pretty for the style-conscious to cruise along in. But those in cooler climes wanted something a little more enclosed, to be able to enjoy their cars not matter the weather. Jannarelly devised a smart lift-off roof deal to add not only winter comfort, but some extra drama when you’re getting in and out. The Design-1’s tiny doors can't open when the roof is closed—you must first lift the roof up, then pop open the side door. It’s not as simple as a conventional setup, but it’s very, very cool.

a passenger seat of a car: The entire roof flips forward on hinges at the base of the A-pillars, allowing you to open the minuscule doors. © Jannarelly The entire roof flips forward on hinges at the base of the A-pillars, allowing you to open the minuscule doors.

The cabin isn’t what you’d call "large" by any means, and there’s not much by way of creature comforts either. You can hook your phone up to the car’s Bluetooth system for music and navigation, and charge it via USB, which means there’s no head unit to worry about. Air conditioning controls are hidden under the dash, keeping the whole thing nice and clean. It gives you the chance to enjoy the pretty, minimalist dash without any ugliness in the way.

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The pretty, however, is only part of the puzzle. The car may have the long-hooded proportions of a front-engine sports car, but the 3.5-liter Nissan-sourced V-6 engine sits behind the cockpit, driving the rear wheels through a six-speed manual. With 325 hp and 273 lb-ft, it's good enough for a 0-62-mph run in fewer than four seconds and a top speed of 135 mph. Adjustable dampers mean owners can fiddle with their ride and create the perfect set up for their favorite backroads, too.

a car engine: Jannarelly Design-1 Is a More Modern Caterham 7© Jannarelly Jannarelly Design-1 Is a More Modern Caterham 7

Seeing as Jannarelly wanted a car that would match his Caterham’s on-road prowess, the Design-1 is light, 2094 lbs with the standard fiberglass body panels. Take off the roof, spec the optional carbon-fiber bodywork and a few more things, and your Design-1 sits at a ludicrously low 1873 lbs. There’s no ABS, and traction control is an option, too. Purity is king.

On the road, that V-6 sends loud, raw noise through its twin pipes. Hearing it makes you realize how sterile cars can sound today. Where a managed pop and bang can make a hot hatch sound "exciting" at exactly the same point on every drive, this V-6 is like being sat in an old race car. It’s intoxicating all the way from idle to redline, and addictive to hear as well.

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a car parked on the side of a road: Jannarelly Design-1 Is a More Modern Caterham 7© Jannarelly Jannarelly Design-1 Is a More Modern Caterham 7

The steering isn’t power assisted, which means it’s a bit of a nightmare doing a low-speed three-point turn, but on the road you feel everything through the wheel. You can place the front tires easily, fingers tingling with feedback on where they are and what they’re doing.

Swapping cogs is done via a short, pleasingly heavy shifter. The clutch is light enough that your left leg won’t end up hilariously oversized, too, so you end up snicking the Design-1 from ratio to ratio just for the fun of it. Each pleasing thunk into gear elicits a grin that you rarely find these days.

a car parked in a parking lot: Jannarelly Design-1 Is a More Modern Caterham 7© Jannarelly Jannarelly Design-1 Is a More Modern Caterham 7

As you’d expect, the gas pedal is a little lively—response is instant and millimeter perfect, so your inputs need to be careful lest you provoke the back end. Unless that’s your goal, in which case, fill your boots.

The ABS-free brakes work on a short pedal, and, like the throttle, need to be treated with caution while you’re getting to grips with the car. They can, if the weather’s grim and the roads are manky, lock up if you’re not careful. The tolerance is thin in the wet, but in the dry they’re easy to modulate and work really well.

Jannarelly’s idea of creating a retrofuturistic take on a Caterham could have been a mere pretty thing with a terrible setup, but it works. There’s visual and mechanical drama there in spades. The only snags? Only 499 will be built, and it’ll set you back well north of $100,000 before you start putting options on board. The Design-1 is a car for someone with a collection, but a collection they actually drive, not just one that sits in a heated garage appreciating in value. For a first go at his own car, Anthony Jannarelly has made a good'un.

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