Pontiac Solstice Platform for New British Sports Car
By Andy Bannister
The curiously-named Breckland Beira uses a Pontac Solstice platform and 400bhp Chevrolet Corvette engine, and is aimed at the gap in the market left by the sad demise of British producers of exotica like TVR and Marcos.
Breckland is an unknown marque name although the company behind it has been around since 2000 with a track record in exotic low volume sporting cars. It is based at Dereham in Norfolk, in the East of England, not far from the home of Lotus.
Despite its overwhelmingly rural landscape and image as the-land-that-time-forgot, Norfolk offers a surprisingly large number of experienced sub-contract businesses which serve the specialist automobile industry.
The lightweight Beira can reach from 0-62mph in less than five seconds and hit an electronically limited top speed of 155mph. It is designed to run on Liquefied Petroleum Gas as well as petrol, which gives it a range of 700 miles.
Stylistically, it looks professional enough if lacking the drama and sheer eccentricity TVR used to specialise in. Inside, the car features a custom-built interior with hand-stitched leather and alcantara seats and trim.
Whilst Breckland is an odd enough marque name in itself (it actually refers to a district of Norfolk with a distinct heath landscape), the Beira moniker is equally eccentric. Travellers may dimly recognise it shares a name with a port in Mozambique, but the company says it has a different African connection, as a beira is an obscure small antelope native to Somalia and Djibouti.
The Beira is priced at £55,000 (around $108,000) and will go on sale in the UK later this year. That may sound like a lot of cash for a car which uses a Pontiac platform, but Breckland believes the model offers supercar performance and exclusivity at much lower prices. The weak US dollar helps keep costs down on these imported parts, of course.
British buyers will be somewhat perplexed, however, to find the steering wheel is on the wrong side, a result of using the Solstice platform. The Pontiac and its Opel cousin sold in mainland Europe aren’t engineered for right-hand-drive, so neither is the Beira.
The economic downturn means it’s rather a hard time to be a low volume British sports car manufacturer, and recent history is littered with the ruins of brave efforts which haven’t quite lived up to early promise. It will be interesting to see if Breckland can make a go of it.
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