That said, while Connaught did win a race in 1955, it never repeated and folded a few years after.


The story was similar for the reanimated Connaught. In 2002, two ex-Jaguar engineers by the names of Tim Bishop and Tony Martindale bought the brand and in 2004 they officially brought it back to life. They made their announcement at that year’s backwards-looking Goodwood Revival, saying they would build their own new car with, startlingly, their own drivetrain. Their independent design “beats mainstream manufacturers in the race to produce a high performance energy-efficient sports car,” the press release said.

“It’s ambitious,” Bishop said in one of the company’s quizzical PR videos. “But ambitious is fine because we use the same tools as the big motor industry boys. We use the same CAD systems. We use the same development tools. If you use those tools right, you can do things at literally a fraction of the cost.”


Bishop further attested, “we knew from the beginning exactly how much money we would need to do this, and we are under budget.”

But the lofty claim of two dudes working out of what looked like a classic car garage did not manage to beat the multi-billion dollar establishment. Seriously! Look at the shop where they finally got their supercharged V10 to run.

You can see it even better in this video, with the V10 Connaught moving under its own power for a brief few feet.

Connaught built their car entirely by hand and they used almost entirely bespoke components. That sounded great in advertising and gave the car a real sense of old school coachbuilt pedigree, but it meant that work was extremely laborious and parts couldn’t be sourced from other companies. Connaught only managed to debut a working car in 2006. Worse, it did not have the company’s much-anticipated hybrid drive.


Connaught never quite got the money together to make any more cars, as the complete lack of news on the car after 2006 makes pretty clear. There were only a few worried glances by the car world in 2007, still waiting for production promises to be realized. I should also say that it’s not exactly clear how many people wanted a Connaught even if the company had the money to make them. The company had initially planned a run of 50 cars, followed by 2,000 a year, as EVO reported. Connaught then changed that to 300 cars, then revised that down to 100.

They got a couple million pounds from the government to set up shop in a de-industrialized corner of the country, typical of these startup car companies. In Connaught’s case, this meant taking 3.4 million pounds in grants from the Welsh Assembly to secured a 25,000 square foot space in South Wales. That wasn’t quite enough, as it seems. Two videos shot in 2008 show Connaught’s chairman Fred Page-Roberts asking for further investment in the company. Here he asks for 3 million pounds to finish the Connaught Type-D’s hybrid drive:

And here he asks for two million to support the firm’s hybrid drive, which he now claims was completed and ready for retrofit installation in Ford Transit vans, coupling supercapacitors and hybrid drive to the engine via a CVT:

I don’t entirely know what happened to Connaught after that. By all appearances they faded away, leaving behind little but a dead website still planning on completing that 25,000 square foot factory “as the company grows.” But where is the sole Type-D now? Who is servicing those Hybrid+ vans? Is there anything left of this company other than their bright ideas, impossibly ambitious and a decade ahead of their time?


If you have any details on where this car, its company, or its builders are now, contact me at raphael at jalopnik dot com.


Photo Credits: Connaught

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