Project Avocet returns
29th May 2015
The Avocet sportscar programme, including designs, datapack, production and intellectual property rights, is to be marketed for sale internationally as a now fully developed market-ready product, with defined, wide scope for future variants, options and alternative componentry.
MMI, the privately owned automotive enterprise behind the marque, took the very deliberate decision to use the recent past flat market period to advantage, by undertaking substantial further development and testing, auditing and proving the car’s bill of materials and commercially benchmarking the project.
MMI Founder and Managing Director, Martin Miles says: “We have done everything we set out to do – and more. The result is that Avocet is now a highly competitive car which combines a stylish, ultra-lightweight two-seater body with exceptional chassis dynamics and awesome performance ... and we have achieved that whilst still retaining our base model price ambition of sub-£30,000 OTR (on the road).
“But now is also the right time for the project to move on – so that a new owner or leadership, with or without our help, can fast-track its own potential plans for early entry into a recovered market, because we have done all the background work and development already. Development delays are what typically put product introduction plans behind, when companies are trying to respond quickly to an upturn in the market. The Avocet is ready to go – now.
“Throughout the programme, we have been able to work with a range of people recognised to be at the absolute pinnacle of automotive design and engineering. These include names such as Reynard, Ray Mallock, Chapman’s Trevor White and Colin Spooner, formerly Technical Director of Lotus Cars. Roush, subsequently Revolve, were involved with the powertrain, whilst Caterham Technologies have advised us on the build and bill of materials. International designer and stylist Mike Reeves of Claydon Reeves has created what is an absolutely stunning looking current car – and has developed some new concept designs already for what the next generation Avocet could look like,” says Martin Miles.
As part of the development process, MMI has looked at alternative powertrains and componentry, plus the possibilities of hybrid drive – and all are practical. The modularity of the car’s design, which incorporates an aluminium honeycomb chassis, centre tub, subframes and sub-assemblies, left hand drive or even centre drive position variants would be relatively straightforward. In addition – and because the design platform and data pack for the car is so versatile, MMI has undertaken a radical study to test the viability of creating the complete car or just the bodyshell using 3-D printing technology.
MMI has completed a pre-production run of the car, which features a doorless, one-piece moulded bodyshell and utilises some of the latest lightweight composite materials to provide remarkable strength combined with low weight. The standard car features a steeply inclined windscreen, although a very attractive low-line wrap-around aero-screened ‘Spyder’ version is included in the range.
The current vehicles use selected Ford standard and performance parts, which give the cars a mature component inventory that is fully tested and proven in the market.
The standard powertrain incorporates a Ford 2-litre engine developing 150bhp. An up-rated 225bhp version, developed by Mountune, has been included as a special order option. An all-up weight of around 700 kilograms, in power to weight terms, positions the Avocet alongside the quickest – and, with a 0-60 time under 5 seconds, it makes the car extremely competitive.
The car is designed for sale as a fully equipped, fully homologated road-going sportscar. Throughout, MMI has sought strenuously to differentiate the Avocet from the cluster of kit and track-day cars which have visited the market over recent years. A high degree of ‘customisation’ is offered – and extras for the car include a removable roof and exclusive detachable, ‘pannier’ fashion-styled travel luggage, which clip into special cradles behind the cockpit.
The Avocet was originally revealed at an Autosport International Show at the NEC in Birmingham and subsequently at the RAC Club in London’s Pall Mall, following MMI’s acquisition of the former Strathcarron sportscar business. MMI is fully confident that the latest car fits a defined niche in the market for which its research has demonstrated that there is now a significant and growing demand.