Hands-up. Who remembers the Veranti project? It first saw the light of day in early 2004 and came from the crayon-set of John Barlow, a gifted designer, but one more usually associated with more traditional style vehicles.

The Veranti was, and remains the most cohesive body conversion based on Toyota MR2 Mk2 that didn’t replicate something and remains a visually pleasing design. We’d guess that around 100 examples (mostly convertible, with a few coupés) were sold.

When John set-up Imperial Motor Company, the Veranti took a backseat, but I remember him telling me some years ago: “I wanted to create an original design that was classy, reserved and upmarket.

“We were only a small company so it took us a while to find the funds but the reaction we received when the Veranti launched in 2004 made it all worthwhile – it was instant and fantastic. People loved the fact that it was so distinctive and wasn’t just another replica.”

The project was sold a couple of years ago to a new West Midlands-based operation run by Steve ‘Sport’ Griffiths, who formerly made his mark on the industry running Sports Power Drives or SPD for short. He produced several kits including an RS200 replica (SPD200) based on Ford Sierra.

Steve was also a sought after freelance mechanic between 1990 and 2001, working for such esteemed names as 2001 world rally champion, the late, Richard Burns, and what he doesn’t know about rallying technique and technology, you could write on a spark plug. He even had a spell teaching at the European Rally School in north Florida.

Sport and his team at the ‘new’ Veranti Motor Company have been busily working on resurrecting the Veranti and also developing a couple of exciting new models. The original Veranti Coupe remains available and in kit form, too. The convertible is no longer on the price lists.

The kit package costs £2495 and consists of various hardware and 14-GRP panels that require fitting to your donor MR2 Mk2, in coupe or targa guises, with the bonus that you can sell items that you won’t require for Veranti purposes on popular interweb auction sites, which will help recoup a bit of outlay.

Joining the Veranti Coupe this month is the VXF Sport, an exotic replica that is available in fully built guise only and based on Toyota Celica Mk7 (1999-2006), with prices starting at £18,995.

Also joining the price-lists in 2014 and currently being prepared is the Vivace (roughly translated from Italian as ‘in a lively and vivacious manner’), which will be sold in turnkey guise only from £21,995, although that’s the only detail we know about that one at present.

Veranti Vivace due for launch in 2014

We’ll have the EXCLUSIVE story on developments at Veranti Motor Company in a future issue of tkc mag. Watch this space, although in the meantime watch www.veranti.co.uk or call  01905 782 007 ENDS.