Professor Krish Bhaskar, who formerly led the Triple A bid for the collapsed Midlands car manufacturer, has unveiled his vision for the future, following the sale of the Longbridge-based business to China’s Nanjing Automotive.
Bhaskar said: "I am in discussions with a number of potential partners, to re-establish a well known brand from the heyday of the British motor industry. Codenamed ‘Project Tempest’, development work on a core range of affordable, high performance cars, is now at an advanced stage. The basic package will cost as little as £25,000, offering performance and handling characteristics traditionally associated with cars costing significantly more.
"Irrespective of specification, all cars will be electronically limited to a top speed of 155mph. Even the base model will possess sprightly acceleration, with a 0-60mph time of less than 5 seconds. Higher performance models will be capable of 0-100-0mph in under 12 seconds."
However, Bhaskar acknowledges that in developing the new models, drivability and safety have proven as important as straight line speed and raw performance.
"Each car will incorporate a host of active and passive safety features. Project Tempest is about creating a range of exciting and safe cars that are fun to drive, with class leading fuel economy. Impressive performance does not have to be at the expense of safety, or indeed drivability. So for instance, the performance of the car will ultimately be monitored by a series of on board computers.
"Most of the time, they will do little else other than passively monitor performance. But in the event that the vehicle could leave its performance envelope, they will intervene to ensure that the limits of the car are never exceeded."
He refuses to comment on suggestions the new car will be a ‘spiritual’ successor to the Austin Healey 3000. But he does admit to having been inspired by the legendary British roadster.
"I would dearly like to a see a 21st century Healey," says Bhaskar. "Since the performance and engineering specification of the vehicle was signed off a few weeks ago, we’ve been busy finalising body design and have drawn inspiration from the heyday of the British motor industry."
The photograph here provides an indication of how a successor to a ‘Big Healey’ could look, according to Bhaskar.