Ohio maker of attainable track cars starts deliveries, plans mid-engine supercar

Supercar builders have been making big news the past few years with wild, no-holds-barred track-only specials. Of course, if you've thought that having a wildly fast track special would be cool, but completely out of reach, well, think again. A fairly new company, Fields Auto Works, has not one, but two cars designed for the track, and cost fractions of those exotics cost. Plus, they should be easy to service and maintain, which is key to getting loads and loads of laps.

The company, based in Columbus, Ohio, was founded in 2017 by Rob Fields. The company currently consists of about 20 employees, a number of whom have worked on racing teams in IndyCar, IMSA and other series. The company has been developing its first model, the Cardinal, for a few years, and it's now in production, with two customers having already taken delivery, and four more scheduled this quarter. Twenty examples have been sold so far.

The second model, the Scioto, is slated for an official debut in May, with five sold so far. Fields is taking orders for both for deliveries in 2024.

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The Cardinal is the entry-level car, and it's pretty much a race car, based on performance and its bare-bones comfort features. It uses a space frame with a fiberglass body inspired by '60s sports cars. It houses the engine up front. It has fully independent pull-rod suspension at all four corners with adjustable coilover shocks. They can be optioned as single or double-adjustable units. FIA-certified racing seats and harnesses are available. It's astoundingly light, too. Although It's not far off the size of a Miata, at about 2 inches longer and also 2 inches lower, the Cardinal weighs just 1,800 pounds fully fueled but without the driver. That's around 500 pounds less than the Miata. And that's with the suggested powertrain of a 300-horsepower turbocharged 2.3-liter Ford four-cylinder with a Tremec T56 six-speed manual and a Ford 8.8-inch limited-slip rear differential. That's going to be a riot. And those parts are all readily available and easy to obtain without costing too much.

But that's not necessarily the engine you have to use. Fields sells its cars as rolling chassis, and you supply the engine. This way, if you want to register the car for the street, you should be able to via kit car rules. And Fields suggests that you could use a V8, or anything else you can fit inside. If you're just going to use the car as a track car, Fields can work with you to have a powertrain installed by the company.

The basic Cardinal chassis starts at $49,999, but the price goes up with various options including paint colors, comfort features (air conditioning and power steering), and other more advanced performance features such as adjustable anti-rollbars, ABS and automatic throttle blipping for downshifts. And of course, this doesn't include the cost of adding your engine.

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The Scioto is similar in many ways to the Cardinal. It has similar construction, suspension and options. It's quite a bit bigger, though, coming closer in size to a C8 Corvette. It also is traditionally mid-engined and is designed to use a V8. Fields suggests a 7.0L LS V8 making 505 horsepower and six-speed manual transaxle, and the weight is just 100 pounds more than the Cardinal. It should be an absolute monster. It's a good-looking one, too, with a shape clearly based on Le Mans prototype race cars of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Just like the Cardinal, the Scioto doesn't come with an engine, so it can be left up to the customer, and it opens up the possibility for street registration under kit car laws. According to founder Rob Fields, the first customers of the cars have a wide array of engine plans including V8s, V10s and V12s from America, Germany and Italy.

The Scioto is much more expensive starting at $115,000, and there are many options that can drive up the cost. But all-in, it should be a car that delivers performance greater than cars costing hundreds of thousands of dollars more.

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