They say you can't get good Mexican food in Britain – but you can get a great Mexican sports car…
By Matt Bird / Thursday, 2 June 2022 / Loading comments
History is littered with examples of the lightweight British circuit car. We really, really do love a track day here. And driving something as close to a motorbike as is possible on four wheels. Some of the stripped-out superstars have been more successful than others – the sub-tonne sports car without a windscreen is definitely a niche with a critical mass of buyers – though it’s an easy subset of automotive to be very enthusiastic about. There really is nothing quite like wind in the hair. And flies in the teeth.
In 2013 a new car joined the fray, a 700kg flyweight with Ford power, a manual gearbox and an alluring £60k price that wasn’t an awful lot more than the Caterham 620S launched at the same Festival of Speed. This latest contender ticked all the right boxes for a British track car project, right down to the GoPro fitted between the seats to record your antics. Only the Vuhl 05 wasn’t British, of course – it was Mexican.
From the brains of the Echeverria brothers Guillermo and Iker, the Vuhl – ‘Vehicles of Ultra Lightweight and High Performance, apparently – showed a lot of promise. Your correspondent drove the car back in 2015, around the block at its appointed dealer in Hertfordshire and along Madeira Drive for the Brighton Speed Trials. Perhaps the Vuhl 05 lacked the true exhilaration of the mega lightweights, and the whoosh of a turbo Ford four pot was never one to stir the soul, but it really did drive beautifully, with tonnes of grip and plenty of feel. Looked a million dollars, too.
An even more focused 05RR followed, but it would seem that us Brits prefer our track cars to be produced domestically. Though Vuhl remains in business, it would seem its presence over here has been wound up. Which leads us to this particular 05, said to be the only Vuhl in the UK and one of just two in Europe. While it’s a shame that more success didn’t come the way of such a sorted sports car, what an opportunity for somebody else – even the most expensive hypercars have more than two examples in the whole continent.
V7 UHL is the first car shown here back in 2013 at Goodwood, complete with carbon seats, quick-release wheel, Schroth harnesses and Esteban Gutierrez’s signature after he drove the car up the hill. It’s been subjected to a few upgrades since then, too, with a rear spoiler from the RR, some ECU work to free up 310hp and Toyo 888R tyres with OZ wheels. Time has certainly done nothing to dull the 05’s impact, with wheels shoved right out to the extremities, gaping slats to channel air where it’s needed, and, for this one at least, a spoiler so huge it looks pinched from a much larger racing car. Caterhams, Lotuses and Ariels all tend to blend in after a while, even in the lairiest colours – there’s no chance of that with a Vuhl 05. As the seller suggests: “This is not the car for you if you want to be discreet. It gets people’s attention all over the place.” Which sounds eminently believable.
Having been with this owner since 2016, and still with just 8,000 miles showing, the Vuhl is for sale at £55,000. Or about what it would have cost anyone brave enough to take the plunge on an 05 a few years back. So just like the very best track cars, the Vuhl was a lot of money to buy but has proven remarkably resilient to depreciation. You probably don’t need us to remind you what kind of Seven, Atom or 2-Eleven this money buys – suffice it to say a prospective buyer is not short of choice. But for something truly different, what on earth could be better?
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