Octane
By Amos Kwon
on 2.10.14

Excited by Mexican- and Canadian-built cars? You were probably alone…until now. Two new and rather unique automobiles prove that dedicated performance for the tarmac doesn’t have to come from Europe, Asia or the States: the track-ready Vuhl 05 (~$89,000) from Mexico and the angular Felino Cars CB7 (~$100,000) from those French-Canadian secessionist wannabes in Montreal, Quebec. Both cars have been created to thrill, and they’re built for a niche market of drivers who are serious about either driving fast on the track or turning heads, or likely, both.

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Brothers Iker and Guillermo Echeverria
didn’t just want to build a Mexican track car in the Vuhl 05 — it was as much about creating character as it was about handling, steering, braking and speed. They wanted a world performer, and by all accounts they’ve achieved their goal. The Vuhl 05 aims to keep company with already popular track cars like the Caterham Super Seven, Ariel Atom, KTM X-Bow and BAC Mono, following suit with its minimalist design, light weight and open-air cockpit. The Vuhl 05 also looks damn good, with a white body and exposed black ribcage that seems to channel a very fast Stormtrooper. Whereas the Ariel Atom looks like it was made from spare roller-coaster track parts, the Vuhl 05 looks like a real sports car.

The brothers Echeverria wanted the car to sound vicious, and they found that rip-roaring noise in a 2.0-liter Ford Ecoboost engine with 285 hp and a wicked 310 lb-ft of torque. All this power moves a featherweight 1,598-pound car from 0-60 in 3.7 seconds and tops the 05 out at 152 mph — at which point you’ll be thankful for your helmet, since the car has only an abbreviated windscreen, one particularly good for bouncing hapless bugs into your face.

The dedicated race interior and the technology included throughout are truly impressive. Lightweight (and uncushioned) carbon fiber seats have great lateral support despite their slippery surface. At least the Alcantara steering wheel will keep your hands firmly stationed, and you’ll have no trouble finding the manual shift knob that looks like an overblown hard marshmallow on a stick. On the geekery side, there’s an HD camera right in the bulkhead between the two seats that’ll keep track of all of your driving achievements and foibles.

As for the Felino Cars CB7,
it would take a bit of waterboarding for us to call it attractive. “Pissed off” is more like it; from tip to tail, it looks like it wants to destroy something, and thankfully it’s built to do just that. Creator Antoine Bessette designed this to be a track car that’s also good for roadgoing, sparing nothing in its development.

Take a look at the CB7 and it’s clear that Bessette’s imagination ran howling through the streets of Montreal. The exterior is one of the boldest designs we’ve seen in a long time. Nothing was stolen from other vehicles, despite its front end resembling a more angular version of an Audi R8 and the rear looking like a cross between a Bugatti 57SC Atlantic, Michael Keaton’s Batmobile and a sliding patio door. But before you start laughing, remember that it’s powered by a big 6.2-liter V8 engine that delivers 525 hp and 489 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels.

The interior is more spartan than the crazy exterior. Two-seat capacity, carbon fiber dash and visible track data mean that the CB7 is meant to be light, fast and singular in its intent. You won’t see any hints of Bugatti Veyron-like bespoke interior in the CB7. Who cares, really, since performance numbers should put the top speed close to 200 mph and 0-60 arrives in under four seconds. We’re just thankful that it’s fast enough to prevent anyone from getting a really good look at it.

What both the CB7 and the Vuhl 05 reveal is that the countries typically renowned for making great performance cars are no longer alone. The Vuhl 05 puts Mexico on the map of beautiful and capable track cars, while the Felino CB7 proves that Montreal does more than just whine and make great jazz. Each car will undoubtedly provide the kind of thrills that we all dream about, and proud (and eccentric) owners will be able to hurtle them down the track and possibly even drive them to the office.

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