Car manufacturing in Scotland has been resurrected after 37 years thanks to East Lothian-based Raptor Sportscars, which has launched the first of what will become a family of Caterham-like lightweights.
Scotland has not had any significant car production since the Talbot plant in Linwood closed in 1981.
Founder Andy Entwistle is a former electrical engineer who started building motorsport engines in 2001. He then diversified into producing kit cars that used chassis fabricated in Yorkshire, but the Raptor marks a new chapter. First, because it will be offered entirely built, but also because it has a chassis that is made in Scotland.
Although there is a strong resemblance to the typical ‘Seven’ lightweight, the Raptor is considerably longer than the Caterham, a fact explained by Entwistle’s 6ft 7in height. “I wanted a car that I could fit into,” he explained, when Autocar visited the company’s modest workshop to see the prototype.
The plan is to offer cars with a range of engines, with an entry-level 2.0-litre naturally aspirated Ford to a 1.6-litre Ecoboost turbo that will be offered in 240bhp and 330bhp states of tune, both having a claimed 540kg kerb weight. Motorbike-engined versions will also be offered, including a 1400cc Kawasaki motor that will rev to 10,000rpm. The rest of the drivetrain is Ford-sourced, but Entwistle says he is keen to switch to a BMW rear differential. Prices start at £22,000 for the 2.0-litre and rise to £44,000 for the more powerful Ecoboost.
“The reaction has been really strong,” said Entwistle. “People love the fact it comes from Scotland. We’ve already appointed a dealer in Florida – the first demonstrator was Saltire Blue with tartan seats.”