When you think of V10 sports cars, images of Lamborghinis, Dodge Vipers, the LFA, and the Carrera GT are likely the ones that come to mind. With their massive engines, they hold a special place in the hearts of many car enthusiasts. But back in 2004, there was one company ready to challenge the norm of what a V10 could be in a car. Enter the Connaught Type D, a project killed before it could make its impact, but maybe there is more to it than that.
The Connaught Type D GT was a concept car back in 2004 made by a man named Tim Bishop who used to work as an engineer for Jaguar Land Rover. Bishop decided to try his hand at making a car and the idea for the Type D GT was born. Reviving the old Connaught racing name, Bishop designed a car completely unique from anything else ever offered.
Under the hood of the Type D GT sits a 2 liter hybrid assisted V10 engine that would push around 300 horsepower. The one running prototype had been set up as to allow the car to get the best fuel economy possible, hence the small displacement with the hybrid setup. While today this is not an uncommon setup (McLaren P1, Porsche 918, etc...) in the early 2000's this was revolutionary technology. With a top speed of 140mph, the car was more than competitive in the sports car world at the time.
The Science Behind It
The Type D GT featured a 2 liter VR10-styled engine since all the cylinders fit under one cylinder head, similar to how Volkswagen did the VR6 engine. The 10 cylinders enabled the car to have a smooth and low idle which aided in fuel economy figures. In theory "you could keep the car in top gear, come to a stop, and use the hybrid without the clutch to roll away again up to 140 miles per hour". Honda's current hybrid set up on the Accord, CR-V and Insight operate with this thinking.
While the car is definitely dated at this point, the Connaught Type D GT does feature things that enthusiasts should be happy about. Fitted with a manual 6-speed gearbox, the car's interior is very driver focused. When it first debuted, Bishop said " well what happened is we ran out of money" but that may be changing. According to Bishop, the company now has multiple investors interested in making the type D for modern times.