Tony O'Kane | Jan 6, 2009

Boutique manufacturers... is there anything they can't do? Dutch brothers Paul and Tino Huet grew up around vintage Bugattis and Alfa Romeos, and they've decided to tap into the nostalgic aura of those cars with their retro-modern HB Special. This car though is also infused with a touch of the modern.

The HB Special rides on a modified Triumph TR6 platform and wears a custom carbonfibre shell. The styling is classic roadster and draws its inspiration from the race cars of the Mille Miglia, Targa Florio and Le Mans in the 1950s.

Features like a cut-down windshield, smoothly curved fenders and deeply-dished period wheels add to the retro image and an aluminium cockpit reproduces the spartan feel of the racecars of yore.

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The TR6's inline six also sees duty beneath the HB Special's curvaceous carbon skin, although the Huet brothers have seen fit to bore it out 200cc to 2.7 litres, fit a lightweight flywheel, a free-flowing exhuast and a performance camshaft, endowing it with a handy 134kW in the process.

Now 134kW ain't anything to write home about by modern standards, but couple that with the HB Special's lithe 711kg kerb weight and you've got one heck of a power-weight ratio.

Cornering performance is taken care of by a set of adjustable dampers and the TR6-based independent front and rear suspension. Thicker swaybars keep body roll in check and a race-spec steering rack improves steering weight and feedback.

Remember: despite the carbonfibre clothing, the HB Special is intended to be a modern build of a ye-olde racer. So AWD, traction control and magnetic dampers need not apply.

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Now here's the catch: you can't buy one. The Huet Brothers will merely rent you one of their 12 HB Specials as part of their pan-European driving 'experiences'. This puts you in a HB Special for four or five days and sees you touring through some of Continental Europe's finest driving roads.

Want a slice of that action? Check out the Huet Brothers and all they have to offer at their site here.

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