The arrangement works well, although the passenger has to assume a slightly undignified position, with their legs running either side of the driver. There are grabhandles should you feel the need to hold tight, yet there’s a surprising amount of room.
Murray is 6ft 4in, but he nonetheless drove his Rocket down to the south of France with his equally tall son, Dylan, cocooned behind him.
In fact, there’s a link between Dylan Murray and our featured Rocket, which was the first one built and was retained by the firm as a development car.
By 1999, it had been given the chassis number 034, and Dylan and Luke Craft – Chris’ son – used it to win the ‘Spirit of the Gumball’ award on the Gumball 3000. Eventually, Chris Sherington persuaded them to part with it, and shortly afterwards it passed to Tim Whittaker, who’s now owned it for a decade.
The unpainted steering-wheel logo in the minimalist cabin is unique to this car
“Before [Sherington] took delivery, he asked them to take it all apart and fettle everything,” explains Whittaker.
“He wanted the front sidelight pods removed – all the other Rockets had four pods – then the headlights drilled out and the sidelights put into the headlights. He wanted the headrest put on, and he didn’t want a single zip-tie on it – Ducati makes some really nice things for holding wiring harnesses. So, when you look around it, there are all these different bits and pieces.
“When he took delivery, his circumstances changed and he decided to sell it. I saw the advert – in Classic & Sports Car, actually – and it was only a line in the back. There wasn’t even a picture. It just said: ‘Light Car Company Rocket for sale.’ I went straight down there, didn’t haggle, and just bought the car.”
Whittaker recalled seeing the Rocket featured on Top Gear when it was new, and his background in automotive engineering gave him an appreciation for Murray’s design: “I love looking at things and seeing how they’re made. The whole concept of the thing appealed to me. It just seemed so clever and so simple. It stuck in my head. I’d only ever seen one at Beaulieu, though – you don’t see them around. I always thought, if one comes up…
“I sold the kitchen sink, got rid of a Laverda ’bike, sold everything I could to get it, and I’ve had it ever since. It’s been nothing but fun.”
At first, its current owner didn't realise the ’box has high and low ratios