Zenos is the brainchild of some people who once worked at Caterham and Lotus. They decided to start their own car company, probably with blackjack and hookers, and the E10 was their first vehicle. But then some financial problems came up and the production has stopped. Since then Zenos has been bought out by AC Cars and the production has resumed.
To no one’s surprise the former Caterham and Lotus crew created the E10 as a lightweight, fun to drive, track-focused car like the ones they helped create in their previous lives. It comes in three versions, the base E10, the faster E10S, and the even faster E10R. Sometime ago, the company has begun the process of bringing these cars to the North American market, starting with the E10S. I just happen to know one of their first clients.
Each Zenos car is shipped as a kit, kind of like the Revell models you did as a kid, except much cooler. The rolling chassis comes by a transport truck and is pretty much fully assembled. With it are three other boxes: one for the engine, another for the transmission, and the last one for miscellaneous parts. The goal is the assemble everything and have nothing remaining in the third box. Perfect for those long summer days.
The E10S is powered by a mid-mounted Ford’s 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine. Its 250-horsepower are send to the rear wheels via a Ford six-speed manual transmission. For a vehicle that weighs less than 1600-pounds (sans driver), that is a lot of power. The lightness is added by the use a hybrid chassis formed of a super-strong aluminum spine bonded to a carbon fiber skinned thermoset cabin. Naught to sixty takes less than four seconds, but because of the E10S’ open cockpit and the proximity of your ass to the ground, it feels helluva a lot faster.
The vehicle seen here was assembled by friends of Hooniverse at Ace Performance in Tewksbury, Massachusetts. The assembly was rather drama-free but there were some fitment issues, which is not unusual for this type of a low-production border-line kit-car vehicle. Most frustrating part was getting the brakes dialed in perfectly, leading Ace to just upgrade the whole thing. This track-orientated model is not equipped with a windshield.
Ace Performance also replaced the factory locked ECU with a MBE stand-alone unit which was tuned on their replace their in-house dyno. At the same time the intake and the intercooler were upgraded. This brought the power from stock 218hp and 250tq at the wheels to 235hp and 261.49tq at the wheels. The MBU stand-alone system also smoothed out the power curve for a more linear delivery of power.
Like on a Morgan, for instance, most parts are sourced from various original equipment and aftermarket companies. Perfect fitment, logical ergonomics, and Rolls-Royce-like quality shouldn’t be expected. There is no roof, for instance, but an emergency cover is optional. But performance should be expected, and the Zenos E10S delivers.
Like the Ariel Atom or a Lotus Exige, this vehicle isn’t about pure speed but rather fun and rewarding performance at a very high limit, for a fraction of a price of an Italian exotic. It’s not a car to arrive in with a hot date but rather it’s a car to drive in with a big grin.
If you want a Zenos of your own, contact Gator Motosport, in Indianapolis. Then contact Ace Performance to assemble it for you. A custom ordered E10S, as it stands here, delivered to U.S and assembled, will cost you approximately $70,000 but a nice demo model is for $50,000 is currently available at Gator Motorsports. The pictures seen here include pre- and post-assembly stages.
All images: ©2018 Hooniverse/Kamil Kaluski, All Rights Reserved.
Look familiar? That’s last week’s mystery car.