Flick the toggle switch that engages the starter, depress the big black button on the dash, and the addicting sound of a supercharger whines in your ear. But that supercharger isn’t accompanied by the growl of some big V8 motor, rather, it’s paired to a smaller 4-cylinder engine, almost making you feel like you’re in a Formula-style racecar.
The steering is manual, the brakes are manual, and there are no assists or catch fences to save you. This is about as raw a car you can get that still has plates. This isn’t some normal supercar, though its shape will have you believe that you traveled back in time to the 70s, staring at something designed by Pininfarina or Bertone. Yet this car is all new. It has modern suspension and a modern dash, although those too are analog.
This is the Rezvani Beast Speedster.
Skeptics No More
Like so many other startup supercar manufacturers, we weren’t sure if Rezvani would actually bring out a working car. So many things can go wrong in the development stages—many of these companies bite off more than they can chew. Thankfully, what Rezvani and its designers did was to start with a phenomenal platform: the Ariel Atom.
We actually just spent some time in the new Atom 3S, and we can tell you from experience, the DNA from that stripped out track-car is still very much alive in the Beast Speedster. The things you love about the Atom—the extremely low weight, the tight handling and road connectivity—are all still there. Except, in the Beast, they’ve been heightened.
The Atom is phenomenally fast, but its 40/60 weight distribution, and ultra-skinny tires don’t make for a perfect setup in terms of handling. You tend to get a lot of oversteer if you’re pushing it hard. Rezvani corrected those minor mistakes with a few tweaks of their own.
To correct the oversteer, the Beast wraps its 19-inch wheels in Toyo Proxes R888 tires. The use of thicker, nearly race-spec Toyos make for a car that goes around a corner like you wouldn’t believe. Point the wheel where you want to go, and prepare yourself for some serious lateral G-forces. You’ll watch the speedometer climb faster as you turn the wheel harder, with you and the car playing a game of chicken to see who wusses out first. Trust us, it will definitely be you.
A Deranged Lunatic Wearing A Dinner Jacket
But it’s not just a stickier, better handling Atom—it’s more refined than that. Gone is the exposed chassis, and in its place is a beautiful carbon-fiber body. Every line, every crease was designed with purpose, and all were crafted to make the car look beautiful from every angle. This car harks back to the supercars of old. Cars like the Miura, the Ford GT, and the Porsche 550 Spyder were said to be inspiration, and that definitely comes through.
Don’t be fooled, though, by the auto-show-ready body work. It is still very much a bare-bones speedster. It has no doors, no adjustable seats, and the smell of un-burnt fuel emanates from behind your head. To get into the car, you have to remove the steering wheel, slide into place, and re-attach it. It’s still a proper racecar.
Even then, the Beast is a much more refined product. You could take your significant other to the movies in it, and then go home by way of Lime Rock, Sebring, or Laguna Seca. It’s a dual-purpose car that feels as if you could drive it upside down, then stare at it longingly for hours back in your garage.
That’s if you ever get it home. This car begs to be driven—and driven hard. It makes you want to stay out on the road forever just to hear the supercharged Honda K24 motor revving over and over again. The weight of the steering wheel in your hand and the stiffness of the brakes makes you feel like a real racing driver.
With 300+ horsepower and a curb weight of just 1,700lbs, this car is a handful, but its performance isn’t inaccessible, which makes it a joy to drive. Even then, Rezvani isn’t satisfied. A 500-horsepower version is also available—we assume built to scare insurance adjusters everywhere, and a 700-horsepower is coming later in the year. Neither of which, we were assured, are for the faint of heart.
But what about the brass tax? The Rezvani Beast Speedster starts at $139,000, which isn’t exactly chump change—but it’s not astronomical either. For the same money, you could buy a mid-level Porsche 911, an Aston Martin Vantage GT, or a few other supercars. But none will give you the same experience as the Beast Speedster.
Sure, it’s widely impractical if you need to haul more than one person or a medium sized duffel-bag, but that’s not what this car is about. Listening to the supercharger whine, watching the needle practically fly off the speedometer—it’s meant for the joy of driving, and you’d be hard pressed to find something that gives you as much joy as this thing.
Engine: Honda Racing K24 Inline-Four Cylinder
0-60: 3.5 Seconds
Price (as tested): $139,000
Sounds like a banshee ready to rip your head off
Pure, unadulterated joy of driving
Still a six figure price tag
You’ll probably be pulled over constantly by police
Any items in your pocket will fall under the seat into oblivion
Photo Credit: Jonathon Klein for BoldRide