We see many small one-off cars with high-performance motorcycle engines, but there has never been one quite like the Spartan. The Spartan uses Ducati's 1198 cc V-twin in a light race chassis. The engine that won this year's World Superbike title sits just behind the driver's left ear ... it appears to be the perfect four-wheeled execution of the Ducati ethos.
Most custom builders use in-line Japanese four cylinder engines which can produce meaty 200 bhp powerbands. In the image gallery for this article you'll see several examples of lightweight, high performance three and four wheelers - including four images of the car that won the world smartcar drag race championship which uses a Suzuki Hayabusa engine.
The Spartan puts Ducati's 170 hp (106kW) 1198 cc V-twin into a mid-engined, race chassis so light it can hit 100 km/h in 3.0 seconds. The engine's desmodromic valve gear and induction trumpets sit just behind the driver and passenger and must surely play some of the sweetest music ever to come out of an internal combustion engine.
The Ducati's muscular mid-range is perfect for a track day car and with the very same engine that powered Carlos Checa to this year's World Superbike title in a 350 kg package, it accelerates, stops and changes direction very easily.
The general consensus of those who have driven the Spartan, is that it lives up to its claim of being at one with the driver. We'll save the rest of the story until we get a chance to take it for a spin.
In the meantime, for those in the vicinity, the Spartan will be shown at the Sydney Motorcycle & Scooter in Australia from November 25-27.