Stand in front of it, and it looks like an exotic race car. Peek behind, and it looks like it's got a very large motorcycle up its backside. 0-60mph in under 4 seconds, with the elemental acceleration of a motorcycle, the cornering traction and roll-bar safety of a race car and the complete lack of practicality you'd expect from a machine bred purely for sports. Introducing Quebec's nastiest export: the T-REX from Campagna.
"The ultimate exotic vehicle. You drive this down the street, there could be a Lamborghini next to you, a Rolls-royce, anything. All eyes will be on this." The words of T-REX owner Bransten Clarke, and it's hard to disagree. The T-REX's brutal exotic looks rule it out for shy drivers.
But beneath the sculpted Lotus Elise-esque bodywork lies a very interesting concept - a 200bhp Kawasaki ZX-14 Ninja engine, drivetrain and transmission shoehorned into a twin-seat semi racecar chassis with a rollcage and three very fat tyres. The powerful Kwaka engine easily spins up the rear wheel when it's abused, but the stable front end puts so much rubber to the ground that the evil little car/bike can pull a staggering 2G of sideways load in a corner - it chews up curves like a formula one car.
Seating is lower to the ground than most cars, so it's a very emotive vehicle to pilot. The enhanced feeling of speed is topped off by the roar of the engine right behind you and the wind right in your face - that is, unless you go for the wimpy optional windshield. Belting your way through the gearbox is done sequentially, just like on the donor motorcycle.
It's street legal, registerable as a motorcycle, and yours for under US$50,000. Yes, it's a toy, but it will out-accelerate other toys worth 10 times the price... At least until the party-pooping 140mph speed limiter kicks in. Then again, at that speed your sunglasses are probably flying off your head anyway.
The T-REX's only nod to practicality is the inclusion of two dorky-looking detachable panniers that might store enough clothes for an overnight trip provided you aren't real big on shoes - but that's hardly the point. Neither is the fact that it would tear up a racetrack like the man-eater it's named for. The point is, this is a unique, eye-popping exotic that turns mild-mannered, law-abiding drivers into tyre-trashing, leadfoot hooligans.
Bravo to creators Daniel Campagna and Paul Deutschman!
Check out these videos: An overview by Steve Natt, Life in the Fast Lane