Positive Post Of The Day: Roding Roadster Rules Edition

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

It’s been a long time since anyone has taken on the many makers of Lotus 7-based sportscars. These kitcar cottage industries have made many updates to their drivetrains over the years, perking up Colin Chapman’s classic design with engines from ranging from Ford Duratecs to Suzuki Hayabusa mills to handbuilt V8s. But these have been incremental changes, keeping the look and underpinnings of the original unchanged. What has yet to be attempted is a fresh-sheet, 21st Century re-imagining of the classic form. Until the krauts behind Roding came along, anyway. Auto Motor und Sport shows off renderings of their all-new lightweight roadster, developed with help from Munich Technical University and set to debut as a production car in 2011. Though it looks 7-like, it’s actually a mid-engine design, which is how we imagine Herr Chapman would create his own all-new 7 (witness the Elise). The engine itself is a 400 hp turbocharged five-pot (of Audi extraction?), which gives the Roding Roadster a power-to-weight ratio of about 6.5 pounds per horsepower, or about the same as an F430. So 2,400 pounds isn’t quite in the same featherweight class as the 7, but the Roding looks like quite the compelling interpretation of a classic roadster.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Lokkii Lokkii on Sep 30, 2009

    I don't know.... I'm not feeling it, frankly. 1. Was some rule written after the first Cobra kit became a success that all other kit cars have to be ugly? 2. An Audi 5-cylinder engine. Now there's a reliable, easy to obtain, easy to work on, and beautiful sounding engine with plentiful spare parts availablity and lots of performance kit available..... (Damn I just woke up!). 3. I like the Blair Witch filming remark... a nice reminder that an apparently totally amateur-looking effort just might be more professional than it appears. Let us pray. 4. Despite the choppy filming I did notice that the camera car never has any trouble keeping up. The Roding never spurts away under straightaway acceleration and never leaves the camera car behind in the corners. 5. Advertising hint: Never demonstrate that the car is mid-engined by crawling under the front hood/boot to fix something else that broke during your demo run. Editor's Note: Hey! If Robert is leaving someone has to keep the flame (ing) alive!

  • Probert Probert on Sep 30, 2009

    I second the mr2 mk1 comment - I own one and love it. 110hp seems just fine to me - but I'm a pussy. Another car that comes to mind is the Ariel Atom: Super fast and beautifully realized.

  • Pnnyj Pnnyj on Sep 30, 2009

    Some perspective is in order here, at 2400 lbs this Roding thing does not qualify as a real lightweight. Most Mazda Miatas built between 1989 and 2005 weighed in under 2400 lbs. That's a real road car with stuff like cruise control and air conditioning, power windows and door locks etc. The Mazda was also saddled with a heavy iron-block 4-cylinder out of a mid-1980's economy car. (Note to Sajeev Mehta: doing a full LS-X swap on a Miata increases the car's weight by only about 200lbs.) The KTM X-bow, in my opinion, is as close to a true modern re-interpretation of the 7 as we're ever going to get. The X-bow really is light and takes full advantage of advancements in materials (lots of carbon fiber) and aerodynamics. The bodywork creates 200+ lbs of downforce at speed. The problem with modern re-interpretations of the 7 concept is that in order to take advantage of many major technical advancements the simplicity and adaptability that makes the 7 so attractive to DIY gearheads and enthusiasts is sacrificed by necessity. No one will ever be able to weld up an X-bow type chassis in their own garage because it's excreted from carbon fiber.

  • Niky Niky on Sep 30, 2009
    enderw88 : September 29th, 2009 at 9:57 pm There have been several attempts to make a mid engine “Seven”, most were better looking than this, nobody remembers any of them… But nobody can forget the Atom... The Atom is "it" for modern-day track-spec cars... it's just that the design isn't twenty thousand years old and available in book form for garage-wrenchers everywhere. And that's another thing... to qualify as a modern 7, the car should be something you can assemble on a budget, from widely available parts... in my mind, that would be a tube-frame mid-engined racer assembled with double-wishbones from a mid-90's Civic with a Honda or Toyota engine in the back... not some stupidly expensive 5-cylinder german engine...