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New carmaker Jannarelly goes back to basics with the retro, lightweight Design-1

Dubai is often associated with high-end supercars that are as fast as they are expensive. A new startup named Jannarelly Automotive aims to change that by building a simple, driver-focused convertible called Design-1 that pays homage to iconic sports cars built in the 1960s.

About as long as a Mini Cooper, the Design-1 wears a front end that’s markedly inspired by the 1957 Ferrari Testarossa. The Maranello influence fades beyond the front wheel arches, and the Design-1’s rear fascia is a little more original with a mesh panel that helps dissipate heat from the engine bay, small round tail lamps, and a massive air diffuser. The convertible tips the scale at just under 1,600 pounds because it features a tubular steel frame and a body that’s crafted out of a combination of fiberglass and carbon fiber.

Jannarelly’s computer-generated sketches suggest the Design-1’s cabin is fitted with a wood-rimmed three-spoke steering wheel and a pair of bucket seats with four-point harnesses. A soft top isn’t offered, but a removable hard top is scheduled to join the list of options before the end of next year.

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Most of the components that make up the Design-1 were developed and built in-house. One of the few exceptions is the engine, which is a 3.5-liter naturally-aspirated V6 unit borrowed from the Nissan parts bin. Mounted transversally behind the passenger compartment, the six-cylinder spins the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission and a limited-slip differential. It generates 304 horsepower and 273 lb-ft. of torque in its initial state of tune, enough to send the Design-1 from 0 to 60 mph in less than four seconds.

Jannarelly stresses the Design-1 is fully customizable. The company will eventually offer a full catalog of parts ranging from a full windshield with wipers and a defroster to brand new body panels, and it promises that tossing out the Nissan-sourced V6 and replacing it with another engine is a relatively easy task.

The Jannarelly Design-1 is on sale now with a base price of approximately $55,000 before taxes and delivery are factored in, though buyers who want to spend less can order the car with a rebuilt engine instead of a brand new one. Just 30 examples will initially be hand-built in Dubai, and the car is allegedly street-legal in most U.S. states as well as in the United Kingdom.