Concepts and prototypes : Wolfrace Sonic
The Sonic was the brainchild of the alloy wheel manufacturer, Wolfrace. The company wanted to create an eye-catching concept car to showcase its new range of Sonic alloys – you might recognise the ‘pepper pot’ style, which was used in the Ford Fiesta XR2, Capri 2.8 Injection, and MG Metro 1300. It approached famed hot-rodder Nick Butler‘s Auto Imagination to come up with the car – and boy, did he create something rather special.
Butler’s background was in engineering, having trained at Hawker Siddeley at Kingston and Dunsfold. He cut his teeth on the incredible Harrier Jump Jets and Hawk aeroplanes, working on stress analysis and flight testing. In 1976 he left to follow his passion for special cars, setting up Auto Imagination. His closest brush with series production was with the 1980s Gold Cirrus – a sort of latter-day Rover V8 powered AC 3000ME. But with decent handling.
The Wolfrace Sonic was an amazing car. Powered by a pair of Rover V8s, controlled by a clever drive-by-wire system, the two seater was certainly blessed with plenty of potential performance. Underneath the Batmobile-style looks, there was a spaceframe chassis, with rear wheel drive through a Jaguar rear axle and differential. But for most people, the main talking point was the six-wheel configuration similar to the 1977 Panther 6. Autocar magazine featured the car in 1981, and it made regular appearances on the motor show circuit for a couple of years before disappearing out of view.
The last time it was seen was in 2010, when the original car (two were eventually built) went up for sale for a cool million quid…