For those of you who don’t know, I moonlight as @LoveNorfolk on Twitter and run the Love Norfolk blog. This is all born out of a love for this county, so when I came across a new Norfolk-based car manufacturer last year, it was love at first sight.
I saw the Zenos E10 at the Autosport show at the start of 2014 and followed its progress until the upgraded E10S was released. This car I met at the Autosport Show this year and it made me wish I had somewhere to keep such a spectacular weekend car. I didn’t need to drive it to know I wanted one.
Then I drove it.
I rocked up to Snetterton a few weeks ago to be greeted by the roar of engines as various different cars hurtled around the track. I spied the Zenos staff but the car was no where to be seen. To my disappointment, it was out on a road test. When it eventually rumbled back into the garage, my heart jumped into my throat and at the time I tweeted that I didn’t even need to sit in it to know I was going to thoroughly enjoy my test drive.
I took the car out for 20 glorious minutes and after a quick stint on the A11 we headed out onto country roads. It’s the kind of car that looks daunting because it’s so low and raw but it’s surprisingly easy to get the hang of. I have to say, I took things easy out on the road, I wish I’d been a bit more heavy footed with the car but it was still a wonderful experience.
The sound of the E10S is something between an Autobot and a velociraptor, a harrowing sound that just makes you want to go faster to escape the beast behind you — something, of course, that’s impossible.
The noise is so great that you can’t talk over the sound but why would you want to? This is the kind of car that you could just get lost in over a long drive down beautiful, winding country lanes.
Despite the car’s obviously impractical charms, there’s a comfortable element to the car too. While it is an open-top roadster that’s all about the raw driving experience, there’s little luxuries such as heated seats that make this car truly special.
In terms of looks, again, there’s something very animalistic about this car. The sharp angles and choice of bright colours give the Zenos E10S an almost reptilian visage that just adds to its appeal. It’s a car that wills you towards it, to slide into that driver’s seat and drive until you can’t handle its roar any longer.
Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to drive on track but the few passenger laps in the car around Snetterton were glorious. I got a real insight into the straight line speed and the way it roared around corners, every gear change was like a religious experience.
All of that for a car that costs less than £30,000.
Find out more about the Zenos E10S and make up your mind for yourself. The 250bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged Ford engine will do 0-60 in 4 seconds, making this a quick and fun car but there’s a lot of thought that’s gone into safety, aerodynamics and handling too. This is the kind of car that’s perfect for a track day but it’s equally as fun on a country lane. It’s also the kind of car that you could take to the shop for a pint of milk, it doesn’t look out of place on the road.
If anyone fancies treating me, I’ll take mine in orange.