Quantum Sports Cars
Quantum Sports Cars was founded by Mark and Harvey Wooldridge in 1987.
Quantum's first car was the Mark 1 hatchback (also referred to as the Mk 1 Coupé) which was based on the Ford Fiesta Mark 1. It reused all of the donor's mechanical and trim components in an elongated, more rounded shape. Due to its reduced weight over the donor vehicle, performance was significantly improved. The Coupé is unusual for low-volume car manufacture in that it has a glass-reinforced plastic (grp) monocoque rather than a separate metal chassis. This approach relied upon the use of computer analysis to ensure that structural rigidity would not be compromised, offering the strength of a steel chassis but without the weight penalty.
The first Mark 1 Quantum, bearing chassis number 001, was a development mule and was subject to so much adjustment that the Wooldridge brothers eventually decided the car would be too dangerous to keep on the road. This car was therefore disposed of in landfill. Chassis 002 was later damaged beyond repair in a head-on collision, so chassis 003 is now the oldest surviving example of a Quantum model and the first to be sold, after a short period being used for magazine tests and promotional materials. To ensure this historic car survives, the Quantum Owners Club has acquired this car and are in the process of restoring it. The club also owns the last Mark 1 Coupé produced, chassis number 017.
In 1991 a restyled version was introduced, now based on the Ford Fiesta Mark 2 with the rear-end shape changed from a hatchback to a saloon. This and other styling revisions led to far greater sales success: a total of 215 saloon models were produced before that model also ceased production.
By 1993 the firm was also offering a 2+2 convertible, also based on the Ford Fiesta Mark 2, which has been Quantum's most successful model with 431 examples built to date. Since the previous model had evolved, at the time the Wooldridges considered this to be their second model: numbering therefore began "Q2-001". One 2+2 (numbered Q2-275: pictured), with a two-litre engine rather than the more common Fiesta XR2 one, was featured in magazine articles and also loaned to the BBC's Top Gear for testing. Jeremy Clarkson and his wife drove the car and compared it favourably with mass-market alternatives such as the Mazda MX-5 during the test. The only criticism was based on the smell of new fibreglass.
Another 2+2, number 013, built by its owner in Pinner, Middlesex in 1993, the only one outside Europe, is now in New Zealand. A Ford 1800cc diesel was substituted for the original XR2 petrol engine, and a turbocharger has been added. The vehicle is in daily use, both as a family car and – with or without a trailer – for some of the parcel carrying trade of Allbays Transport, an Auckland North Shore passenger and courier goods transport business.
A handful of 2+2 LHD cars are in The Netherlands and one is in Germany. One owner is converting his to full electric drive using AC50 motor with Curtis controller with Li battery pack front and rear.
The 2+2 is no longer made but plans have been mooted by the current owner to further revise the design to offer more spacious rear seats. About 455 2+2 cars were built.
By the time this model emerged, Harvey Wooldridge now considered this to be the fourth car he had designed, hence the name H4. The H4 was based on the Mark3 Fiesta and used what is often erroneously referred to as a "surrey top" roof panel (which could be stored in the boot) and a rear section which could rotate into the bodywork to make a full convertible. At the beginning of development the curved glass for this rear section proved hard to source but eventually an Italian supplier was found.
The H4 was produced from 1998 until 2003, when the Wooldridge brothers announced that they were looking to sell the rights to manufacture Quantum cars. As part of the sale, the H4's moulds were sold to an Iranian company. Rights to build the H4 outside the Middle East were retained but without the costly moulds it is unlikely that production will be resumed in the UK. Only 215 H4 cars were made.
There was a change of ownership and a move to Devon in 2001, and around the same time the Sunrunner and XTreme models were introduced. The Sunrunner was a beach-buggy style of car based on the Mk 3 Fiesta and bought in to add to the Quantum portfolio rather than designed in-house. It was rear-engined and rear wheel drive. It is still in production.
The Xtreme is still in production. It is a modern interpretation of the Lotus 7 two-seat sports car theme. Unusually for this type of car it has practical features such as a sizeable lockable boot and more generous cockpit space. It has a stainless steel monocoque chassis and is the first Quantum to have rear wheel drive.
In December 2010 it was announced that another change of ownership would move part of the business to Bristol under the ownership of Eddie Ruskin while XTreme production would remain in Devon. In February 2014 production moved again to Wrangaton, near Ugborough in Devon.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Quantum vehicles.|