One of our AutoTrader Classics gear heads was at Road Atlanta this past weekend for a NASA (National Auto Sport Association) race and ran across a British sports car we knew was going to be imported and distributed in the U.S., but just didn’t know when. Well, it appears that it is now testing on ‘this side of the pond.’ The British sports car we are talking about is the Zolfe GTC4 and it was out running some laps around the track.
We caught up with the owner of the Zolfe, Ken Goldwasser, who happens to be the dealer for the Southeast region of the U.S. (Zolfe East www.zolfeeast.com). He was at the track in the street legal version of the Zolfe that he was ‘shaking out’ for suspension settings and performance adjustments.
Ken informed us that the street legal version weighs only 1,600 pounds and is driven by a Mazda 2.0 liter power plant that generates 170 bhp. The power gets to the rear wheels through a 6-speed manual transmission. It may also lend itself to an automatic transmission setup as well.
During our conversation with Ken we were able to get our own very quick test ride in the Zolfe after asking some indirect questions like, “gee I wonder what the acceleration is like?,” Ken quickly realized that we wanted to see what the front-engine rear drive car really felt like. Well there is one word for the performance of the Zolfe, “wow!” This thing is really fast and although it is weird to say that a 4-cylinder normally aspirated sports car pulled like a locomotive, it did. We were doing 120 mph before I had a chance to get a stop watch going and its stopping ability is “eye-popping” phenomenal (4-wheel AP disk brakes). Although it is pretty bare-bones to save weight, the Zolfe will be available with some conveniences such as air conditioning, the full scope of necessary gauges, 12-volt outlet, and ready to be fitted with a 4-speaker stereo. One interesting point is the Zolfe was originally designed as a race car, so the street version behaves nearly the same as a race car and its purpose-built tube frame incorporates a full roll cage as part of the package. Speaking of a race version, Ken told me that one is heading to the U.S. in just a couple of months and will be arriving with a 280 hp engine … of course we are hoping for a phone call to schedule a ride in that one.
Ken told us a little bit about the car and that he gets them through the U.S. importer located in Georgia (www.zolfeusa.com). Interestingly enough, he told us that he will be based out of the new Atlanta Motorsports Park (AMP) in Dawsonville, GA (see the story about AMP here). AMP is a private motorsports county club currently under construction. By having Zolfe East business there, Ken has the ultimate road test facility for the Zolfe. Apparently he and the owner of AMP are hammering out some of the final details that will make the Zolfe the “official track rental car.”