I paid another visit to Cars & Coffee this weekend (more on that in a later post) and as usual there was a great mix of eclectic and exotic cars at the meet. However, there was not anything particularly mind blowing, or so I thought… Just as I was preparing to leave I decided to make one more sweep to make sure there wasn’t anything that I had missed. I am so very glad I did…
Just as I made my way towards the back of the lot I spotted a small crowd gathering around something. I couldn’t see what it was completely, just bits of it through cracks in the crowd. The only thing I could tell is that whatever they were looking at was low to the ground, angular, and very white. As I finally made my way to the donut of people I saw something I had never, ever seen before, not even in pictures. Parked before me was a genuine BAC Mono! I had only heard it briefly mentioned on Top Gear UK or in articles but this was my first time laying eyes upon one be it picture or in person.
If you have neither seen nor heard of a BAC Mono before, just imagine a street legal Formula 3 car and there you have it. It has one seat, center positioned (hence the name “Mono), a crate engine from a formula car, hydraulically actuated sequential transmission, and a full push-rod suspension system. Wrap all of that in a tube frame chassis shod with carbon fiber body work and you have a 1400lb ticket to happy-land.
I sought out the owner to find out just how this machine managed to make it all the way to California from the UK and I found Mr. Shinoo Mapleton. Shinoo is the president and CEO of Sector 111. If “Sector 111” sounds familiar to you that is because they are one of the biggest Lotus tuners in the country. They also sell other small go fast cars such as the Ariel Atom. Mr. Mapleton informed me that Sector 111 was recently chosen by BAC to be the exclusive seller of the Mono in North America and that the car he brought with him is the very first on American soil. Oh, it is also completely street legal and California registered.
I asked him if there were any major differences between the UK version and what he would be selling here and the answer is virtually none. It is still powered by a Cosworth built crate engine based on a Ford Duratec unit with all the Cosworth internal goodies and a dry sump system. It makes 280HP which is equivalent to a bazillion horsepower when you are in a chassis that weighs only 1400lbs. The transmission is an off-the-shelf Hewland unit and if so desired could probably be built with custom gear ratios. There are also genuine AP brake calipers behind each wheel.
After hearing all of that I decided that I really, really need to one of these machines. I asked Shinoo how much it would cost to get a Mono of my own and his response of $175k made my wallet shoot itself. Jokes aside, the price for what you get is than reasonable. The only downside is that buyers will have to wait approximately 9 months before they get to drive their street legal race car. The reason for that is BAC actually sends the car to Sector 111 in pieces to which technicians must build the car by hand which as you might guess, takes a while.
Despite the time and money it takes to get one, Shinoo informed me that his shop is already in the build process for two more cars and he is actively taking deposits for his 2013 allotment. While I wish so very much I could be on the waiting list for one of these wonderful toys I was still pretty happy with just being near one and taking pictures. Although I can’t lay claim to the exclusive as Shinoo says his personal BAC Mono will be seen on Top Gear pretty soon. Until then enjoy the pics I shot by clicking any of the thumbnails! If you are interested in putting in an order for your own BAC Mono just go to Sector111.com for all the details.