For the last few months the team at Elfin have been working late nights, long hours and every weekend to get the first production run of the Type 5s on the road for the upcoming Australian International Motor Show (AIMS) hosted in Sydney from the 9th October.
Elfin plans to officially launch the Type 5 at AIMS and is holding all the media back until this event…except us. We were lucky enough to get an exclusive look at the first batch of Type 5’s being assembled.
If you live in Victoria you might even be lucky enough to spot the Type 5 development mule driving around Melbourne racetracks, as it completes testing at the Broadford and Winton circuits.
Gary Beer the Elfin Marketing Manager and Spokesman greeted us outside the factory next to the Clubman MS8 that we would later go for a spin in. Walking into the factory we could hardly contain our excitement knowing that we would be amongst the first in the world to lay our eyes on the upcoming sports car.
The assembly line is split into different areas, the Type 5 chassis is constructed from pre cut tubular mild steel, is spot welded, quality checked and then fully welded and checked again. The welds are cleaned up and then the chassis is taken to be powder-coated. Two Type 5’s were being assembled; these were the very first press cars right in front of our eyes, both in different stages of completeness.
The first Type 5 chassis had its engine, transmission, diff, electrics, suspension, wheels and brakes already assembled. The body panels had been fitted previously, but were removed again for further evaluation.
Although we can’t yet provide many images indicating what to expect, look forward to an aggressive, agile, and swift design. The bonnet bulge is angular and shaped almost like a diamond. It has an open wheel set-up, similar to the Clubman MS8 with exposed suspension. The snug driver and brave passenger are protected by a curved windscreen and roll bar. The side mirrors are more modern and aerodynamic than the rest of the family. The headlights are compact and appear to be a projector beam setup.
Under the bonnet lives a GM sourced 2.0 Litre four cylinder turbocharged engine capable of a whopping 194 kW. Ok, you might think we’re talking it up, but consider this; we’re told the Type 5 is to weigh about 750 kg, which equates to 259 kW per tonne. A Ferrari F430 – which is no slouch – puts out 248kW per tone – impressed?
The engine will transfer drive to the wheels via a 5 speed manual gearbox, however, in development Elfin toyed with a number of gearboxes including one with 6 cogs.
Next to us was a pile of aggressive 17 inch alloy wheels, a 5 multi-spoke triangular design which matches the lines portrayed in the body’s design. The tyre size on the wheels was 215/45 with a Z speed rating, which limits the tyres to a top speed of 240km/h.
Whist the focus at the moment is on the standard vehicle, the team at Elfin ensured us that a wide variety of go fast options will be available for those enthusiasts wanting more from their vehicle.
The production name for the Type 5 is still in the cone of silence; we even threw out a few names to gauge a reaction but got nothing. The MS8 and Streamliner were code named Type 4 during its development; ‘Type’ refers to the chassis number in Elfin’s history book.
The brand has moved away from traditional advertising methods and has decided to focus on getting bums in seats, and selling the Elfin ‘drive experience’. After the upcoming Australian Motor Show launch, Elfin will commence its track focused media activity where this car is promised to impress.
Whilst we did push hard to nail down a figure, Elfin was reluctant to comply, saying the target range is still around the mid 60K mark, however this is yet to be finalized based on the variety of options available. That said, there is nothing in this country (and most others) that will touch with respect to bang for buck – early testing indication a formidable track weapon.
Buyers will most likely come from existing 4 cylinder ‘track car’ roadsters such as the previous Elfin Type 3, PRB Clubmans, Lotus 7s & Elise and Caterham 7s. Owners of these cars may well see Elfin’s Marketing Manager Gary Beer demonstrating the Type 5 at various club meets and hill climb events.
We’ll bring you more news later this month on the Type 5 as we get closer to the official launch.
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