We're not sure 1950s/60s roadsters and coupes have ever been more beloved ... even in the 1950s and 60s. The originals continue to sell for insane prices, and homages continue to materialize. Not two months after we looked at the Italian-designed Effeffe Berlinetta, another classically inspired sports car has emerged into the sunlight. Penned to life by Anthony Jannarelly and built with the carbon fiber expertise of Frederic Juillot, the Design-1 is a sleek, simple roadster inspired by roadsters of yore. And if the estimated US$55,000 price tag sticks, it's also a relatively cheap ticket to fast, stylish open-top driving.

Jannarelly Automotive held two unveilings in Dubai last month, before launching a broader media campaign this week. A private unveiling was held on May 25 at Tomini Classics car gallery and was followed two days later by a public unveiling outside Le Trésor, a classic car cafe.

"Tomini Classics was really the perfect place to launch the Design-1," says Anthony Jannarelly. "It was also challenging as we decided to surround our modern creation with some of the most iconic cars in the history, such as the Dino 246GT and the Shelby Cobra, amongst many others."

The Cobra was one of the influences behind the 1960s-esque Design-1, as was the Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa. You can see both in the Design-1's silhouette, which looks unchanged from the drawings and appears every bit the powerful wave surging forward from muscular haunches as it did on paper. The rolling, sharply defined front fenders, tiny windscreen, aerodynamically carved sides and roll-bar-hooded yellow seats have all made the journey from sketch to prototype.

A few minor changes include the touched up headlamps and a passenger side-view mirror. It looks like the rear license plate holder might have gotten a slight redesign, but it's hard to tell because there isn't one tail-on rear-end shot in Jannarelly's two folders of live photos. The encircled "1" on the trunk has thankfully been left in the sketchpad, leaving the smoother silver paint and red stripes unmarred.

We liked the Design-1 when we saw it on paper, and it really pops to life under the natural sunlight. It's not quite as smooth or seamless as some of the classics it references, or the aforementioned Effeffe Berlinetta, but it has a compelling look of its own. And for $55K, it's something of a deal for a hand-built small-batch roadster.

The main specs below that stylish body haven't changed. A tubular steel chassis with aluminum structural panels teams with the fiberglass or carbon bodywork to keep weight as low as 1,565 lb (710 kg). A mid-rear mounted 304-hp (227-kW) V6 engine drives the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. The 0-60 mph (96.5 mph) sprint gets done in an estimated four seconds, and the car tops out at 135 mph (225 km/h).

Jannarelly Automotive is currently testing and refining the prototype and working on setting up its European and North American dealership network. It plans to begin production in the Northern Hemisphere summer and says that it's confirmed 20 orders so far.

View gallery - 33 images