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STAND BY TO BE CORRUPTED

"Power corrupts - absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely" In an automotive application this refers in all sorts of ways to the temptations of the amazing T-Rex that emanates out of Quebec. On first seeing it in the "flesh" it is almost impossible to believe that it is street legal in fifty states. When first seen at the kerb, with its usual crowd of astonished admirers, it looks as if it has beamed down from another planet - one where speed is worshipped and design is without preconceptions.

In fact the T-Rex is the brainchild of an Englishman and a French Canadian. Daniel Campagna is well known in the automotive industry. Fine tuning his love for speed in Formula Ford championships held in Quebec, he was responsible for the the off-road racer Voodoo in 1982 and created the twin-track snowmobile in 1984. Campagna was one of the mechanics to the Formula 1 legend Gilles Villeneuve.

Paul Deutschman, developed the bodywork for the T-Rex. After graduating from Hatfield (England) with a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering, Deutschman was employed by Rover and Jaguar before he returned to his native Quebec to work in design and prototype construction. His Porsche Spexter has been featured on the cover of MotorTrend and Sports Car Illustrated. As a designer from Callaway, he was responsible for all Callaway cars, from Corvette aerobody to C-7 and C-12.

But all this is shuffled into the back reaches of the mind as you lower yourself into the comfortable, racing style seats of the road rocket that is the T-Rex 1400R

Suddenly your whole perspective changes - both literally and as a law abiding citizen.

Driving the car is easy but astonishing. You commence by removing the steering wheel much as you would any race car. The pedal box adjusts for height, and there is a special option available which will allow someone over 6’4” to fit into the car comfortably. Once you are strapped in place the view ahead is virtually unobstructed. With your butt just inches from the pavement, and your head not very much higher, you immediately feel as though you are on a track. The gear lever is close at hand and short in throw. The shifting is all sequential as on a motorbike, with 6 gears to choose from. You snick the transmission into 1st and ease the clutch out. Even with a large rear tire it’s easy to break the rear-end loose with the throttle in the first couple of gears, but the real adrenaline rush comes when you approach the 11,000 rpm redline. This is a 4 cylinder, DOHC engine with ram air compression. The real power comes in at high revs.

Perhaps the most pleasing surprise is how supple the ride turns out to be. As brutal as the horsepower is one expects the ride to be race car hard. Far from it. While the T-Tex clings to the corners, the ride on the street is not at all jarring. Even though the total height of a T-Rex is only 42 inches, there are still several inches of ground clearance and suspension travel is supple.

Accelerating up through the gears you are past 100 mph in just a few heart beats, with the T-Rex holding its line and giving complete confidence

While the top speed is restricted to 140 mph you can be assured that in a lightweight, low slung car like this 140 will seem… adequate. There is an optional windshield available for the T-Rex, but the vehicle is actually sold and registered as a motorcycle, and cannot be sold with the windshield as standard equipment. This vehicle is all about uncompromising performance and vast levels of enjoyment.

With a MSRP of $48,999US and performance superior to many supercars that cost five times the price the three wheeled T-Rex offers amazing value and is even close in price to some two wheeled Harley Davidsons that are weighed down by chrome and of vastly inferior performance. Based on a dollar per smile factor the machine is hard to beat.

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