The one thing the 2CV certainly doesn’t posses is actual speed, but there have always been two ways of upping a car’s performance – you can either make it actually go faster or you can make it feel like it’s going faster. The Lomax kit car goes for the latter in a big way.

A variety of subtley different bodywork designs were available from Lomax depending on the look the builder wanted to go for. This 224 (as opposed to the three-wheeled Model 223) is clearly supposed to be evocative of a vintage Bugatti racer, with its blue bodywork and gold flat-spoked wheels. Let’s be honest; it looks nothing like a Bugatti. The 2CV’s basic proportions are all wrong and the Lomax actually looks like something that’s escaped from a fairground ride.

But the standard 2CV is a car that is much, much more competent than its looks would suggest, so let’s not prejudge things. Just getting into the Lomax is something of a challenge. Although it sits slightly lower than a normal 2CV the sill is quite high (there is no door, after all). You also have to feed your legs into the cockpit by sliding them under the wooden dash. You sit with legs out almost perfectly straight, operating the pedals with the tips of your toes while your backside sits what feels like mere inches from the road.

The 602cc engine thrums easily into life but the Lomax has independent, shortened exhausts for each cylinder that end just level with your thighs, so instead of the normal lawnmower thrum of a Deux Chevaux you get a racaous thud-thud-thud worthy of a pre-war motorbike. The Lomax retains the 2CV’s umbrella-handle gearchange, but it’s entirely hidden under the dash so you have to operate it by feel alone.

From the moment you start to move off in this Lomax a grin will spread across your face and it won’t go until you get out again. Even though it’s significantly lighter than a normal 2CV the Lomax still has only 28 horsepower on tap so it’s not fast. However it feels monstrously quick simply because you’re so exposed. You’re low to the ground being assaulted by wind, bugs and the odd spray of muck from the front wheels. Without getting out of second gear (at 32mph) it feels like you’re approaching 70mph, and you’ve still got two more gears to go!

The Lomax has slightly stiffer and lower suspension than a 2CV so it lacks the same roly-poly nature but retains the same excellent ride. The tenacious grip, quick steering and effective brakes are also still there. This makes it perfect for buzzing around country lanes, where a normal sports car would have to be driven frustratingly slowly. At the same speeds the Lomax can be driven at full pelt and still deliver just as many thrills, if not more. Grasping the wooden-rimmed steering wheel and gunning the little engine as I pass through a village, I feel like Mr Toad on one of his wild driving adventures.

This car has a real elemental quality to it. You can see the rocker covers and cylinder heads vibrating under power and watch the front wheels react to every bump and steering movement. Every control is wonderfully direct and you can feel, hear, smell and see the result of every input. Really, the Lomax is a Caterham Seven for cash-strapped cowards: It costs a fraction of the price and has a fraction of the performance, but delivers the same visceral experience that reminds you what driving is all about.

POWER:              28bhp
TOP SPEED:       75mph
0-60mph:              30 secs
ECONOMY:        45mpg
GEARBOX:         4-sp man