Sneaking into the group of small but incredibly fast sports cars is the Brooke Double R. It was launched a while ago, but has been updated and improved by a couple of experienced engineers, and this lovely and tiny car is now in production. You get tremendous acceleration and cornering for your money.
Performance is sensational, and depends how much power you want. The most powerful Brooke Double R – 300 bhp – has a claimed 0-60 mph time of 3.2 seconds, while 260 bhp will get you to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds, and all the excitement that goes with that performance. To match it you will need a Noble M400 or Porsche 911 Turbo.
Clearly, the Brooke Double R is a real firecracker. The fact that the top speed is only about 155 mph – the same speed that many a supercar is limited to electronically – is not what it’s about. It is acceleration, braking and cornering that gives the real thrill of driving fast, and you will get it here.
Most of these open wheelers have front engines, but the Brooke Double R has a mid-mounted 2.3 liter Cosworth Ford engine, which develops 190, 260 or 300 bhp according to your choice. It is just like a mini version of a mid-engined racing car, just made a bit wider to get two people in.
Optimum weight distribution
To get near ideal weight distribution, the engine is mounted fore and aft instead of crosswise. With the engine mounted across the frame in unit with its transaxle, you get at bit too much weight at the back. On the other hand, with the engine in front of the transaxle, you get better weight distribution and a slimmer body – which is what the guys that designed the Brook Double R wanted.
To make this work, they had to find a good transaxle at a realistic price. Brooke has opted for a Renault five-speed unit, as a six-speeder would have cost a lot more. You might think a six-speed box was obligatory these days, but this is not the case for road use. With five well-chosen ratios you can get the same performance as with six-speeds, which often have too high gearing on the top two or even three ratios.
The car is clothed in an elegant and simple body with a tiny wraparound windshield, and cycle-type fenders – it looks just like a racing car for the sixties. The headlamps are concealed, and you raise them up manually. All nice and simple.
Cockpit like a racer, too
The cockpit is also simplicity itself – absolutely not a frill in site! You sit behind a small Momo steering wheel, with a flattened bottom rim section, and a big rev-counter set in an instrument binnacle off to one side. The gear lever is on the opposite side to normal – like on those old racing cars – which is to the right on right-hand drive cars and vice versa.
There is a neat pedal box with floor mounted pedals – as on the best cars – and a simple moulded seat.
You can have either a very low windscreen, or a slightly taller one. Both are still low with no room for wipers – they are really wind deflectors which you look over. Choose the lower one, and you will want a helmet on at speeds over 75 mph, despite the twin headrests.
Cosworth-Ford up to 300 bhp
In choosing a Cosworth- Ford engine Brooke has gone for quality and ease of obtaining parts needed for servicing. Cosworth provides a range of tuned Ford engines, modified to give the necessary durability for the power output, and as they are four-cylinder in-line units they are compact.
The base model comes with 190 bhp, then you can go to 260 bhp at 7,500 rpm with 200 lb ft (271 lb ft) torque at 6,100 rpm, or you can go for all-out power with the 300 bhp unit.
Suspension and steering are on classic lines, with double wishbones front and rear, of airfoil section because they need to slip through the air, with aluminum alloy suspension uprights. Coil springs and adjustable dampers are fitted front and rear.
Buy a Brooke Double R with 190 bhp and you will spend about $50,000 (£27,995) but if you want a manic, likely-to-lose-your-licence 300 bhp version you will need to fork out around $70,000 (£36,995). It will help if you live where there is plenty of sunshine and not much rain!