All posts in “Misc. Automakers”

Lucid Air and Maserati MC20 unveiled | Autoblog Podcast #644

In this week’s Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Associate Editor Byron Hurd. Before they get to the juicy news of the week, they chat about the cars they’ve been driving, including a Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R, Audi A6 Allroad, Mazda CX-9 and Kia Niro. It’s been a busy week in the news department, with GM investing in Nikola, Lucid Motors launching the Air electric sedan, Maserati unveiling the MC20 mid-engined supercar and a farewell to the Lexus GS. Then they talk about having a newfound respect for the Fox Body Mustang and the Mazda CX-9.

Autoblog Podcast #644

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Historic French brand Delage returns with the D12

We’ve seen several ways so far of resurrecting a dormant car brand. There’s been the continuation build, like at Alvis, with period vehicles created from new-old-stock or parts created from original blueprints. We’ve seen brands wrap modern technology in historically-themed bodywork, as with the new Hispano-Suiza, or put that technology inside brand new bodywork said to channel the spirit of the original, as at Maybach or Bugatti. ü Called the Delage D12, CEO Laurent Tapie says it fulfills the dream of Adolphe Louis Delage, who campaigned a 2.0-liter V12 in the 1923 and 1924 Grand Prix seasons, supercharging the engine in 1925 and winning two races. Delage took the crown of World Champion of Car Builders in 1927 with the Type 15 S 8 and its supercharged 1.5-liter straight-eight, then returned to a V12 formula in 1938 in a car lost to fire before it could race.

The original Delage insisted on technical excellence, its 1914 Indy 500-winning car benefiting from a 4.5-liter four-cylinder engine with double overhead cams and desmodromic valves, a five-speed gearbox with two overdrive gears, a metal clutch, and brakes at all four wheels plus a transmission brake. On public roads, some of the finest coachbuilding of the era sat on top of a Delage chassis; the brand has won Best of Show at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance three times between 1996 and 2010.

Echoing the dual thrust of those vintage cars, the D12 is road-legal, yet designed to be “the closest to the sensation of driving a Formula One car that has ever been experienced in a street legal car.” Tapie wants the D12 to claim the record for the fast street-legal car around the Nürburgring. There will be two D12 trims, both powered by a naturally aspirated 7.6-liter V12 with 990 horsepower, developed in-house and aided by an electric motor mounted in the eight-speed, single-clutch, automated manual transmission. In the GT version, which weighs 3,086 pounds, the e-motor produces 110 hp for a total of 1,100 horses. In the track-focused Club model that weighs 2,888 pounds, the e-motor contributes a gentle 20 horses for 1,010 hp and is used mainly while driving on the streets, reversing, and parking. Delage says the GT is quicker, but the Club — which can hit 62 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds and tops out at 233 mph — is faster around a circuit.

Delage technical director Benoît Bagur has a résumé including years at Citroën Sport, Seat and VW Sport, and Ligier, the entire technical team said to have been involved with 16 FIA World Championship titles in various series. Bagur claims two in touring cars, the head engineer is responsible for six, and one of those titles is claimed by Jacques Villeneuve, the ex-F1 pilot being one of Delage’s test drivers.

The carbon fiber body panels are accompanied by carbon fiber wheels engineered to channel airflow to cool the brakes, the body and wheels connected by a visible pushrod suspension. In the cockpit, the steering wheel handles are molded to the driver’s hands, the carbon fiber seat and leg support are molded to the driver’s body. 

Tapie says he’s backed by 10 investors, four of them apparently billionaires, but he’s looking for two more. Tapie’s father is French billionaire Bernard Tapie, but the elder is not invested in the nascent car company. Laurent sees the D12, produced from next year in a run of 30 cars priced at $2.3 million each, as the opener to more products. Two D12s have been spoken for so far, sold through Delage’s West Coast dealer, Newport Beach Automotive Group.

With the brand name licensed for seven years, the deal including a provision to buy the rights to the name in 2022, Tapie already has a second model in mind. The follow-up will further highlight the historical connection at the same time as it’s powered by “a revolutionary turbine that’s been in development for 12 years, and will also take advantage of some innovative aerodynamic technology. We really see ourselves as a technology company.” 

Hyperion unveils XP-1 hydrogen fuel cell supercar

Did you hear that? It didn’t sound like much, did it? Pretty quiet. Did you feel it? Just a whiff of passing vapor? Either that’s the emissions of a fuel cell supercar, or a big entrepreneurial dream not long for this world. When you see it, though, it’s hard to miss. That’s the Hyperion XP-1, which, after a little teasing, was officially revealed in the video above.

We don’t have a lot of details yet. Hyperion says the hydrogen hypercar can travel 1,000 miles between refueling — a process that takes mere minutes — and that it’ll do 0-60 miles per hour in a blistering 2.2 seconds. Its side aero elements not only help provide high-speed cornering stability, but they house solar panels, “which can articulate to follow the trajectory of the sun.” Hyperion, which also has aerospace and energy arms in addition to its automotive business, plans to produce the XP-1 in the U.S. starting in 2022.

Sure, I was a little flippant in my lede with the vaporware insinuation. We’ve seen a lot of high-tech, green cars come and go without making much of a splash or nary a ripple in the marketplace. We’ve seen it go the other way, too, and we’re still waiting on sure signs of success from others. Hyperion CEO Angelo Kafantaris called the XP-1, in part, “an educational tool for the masses.” He added, “Aerospace engineers have long understood the advantages of hydrogen as the most abundant, lightest element in the universe and now, with this vehicle, consumers will experience its extraordinary value proposition. This is only the beginning of what can be achieved with hydrogen as an energy storage medium. The potential of this fuel is limitless and will revolutionize the energy sector.”

It’s easy (maybe even lazy) to be dismissive of hydrogen with all the gains battery electric vehicles are making, but I still believe hydrogen has a place in the green energy ecosystem, and I’m not alone. Look at Toyota, Hyundai, even a number of countries that see a big future for it in their economies. It currently has its challenges (and listen to our Green Episode of the Autoblog Podcast for more about that) but also plenty of promise, if you know how to look at it. Furthermore, Hyperion says it has a “plan to revolutionize the hydrogen refueling industry.” If that’s the case, it gives the XP-1 — and hydrogen cars in general — a better shot at success.

Anyway, check out the cool fuel cell car from Hyperion in the video and photos above, and debate about it — and about hydrogen — in the comments.

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Gordon Murray T.50 beats weight target thanks to ‘Weight Watchers’ meetings

Gordon Murray is staying on the offensive about his T.50 supercar, working the phones recently to let all know that “This car will deliver — and this is a promise — the driving experience of [a McLaren] F1, but better, better in so many ways,” because he and his team have “fixed the things we knew were wrong with the F1.” As they say in the Westerns, them’s big words. Two factors he credited for the T.50’s estimated performance specs are bespoke parts, and the relentless focus on weight savings they enable. The team behind the supercar doesn’t need to restrict any component to parts-bin sourcing, doesn’t need to check with production or accounting departments, and can create or re-engineer any part to serve a single vehicle. Technology improvements since the creation of the McLaren F1 and the use of a bespoke 3.9-liter Cosworth V12 gives the team even more freedom than Murray had with his icon.

This has led to ruthless weight shaving, helped by what Murray described as “Weight Watchers” meetings. The Cosworth V12 comes in at less than 400 pounds, cutting 132 pounds compared to the 6.1-liter V12 in the F1 — the designer citing the S70 BMW engine as part of the reason he overshot his 2,205-pound (1,000-kilogram) target for the 2,579-pound McLaren. Carbon brake technology wasn’t polished enough in the early 1990s to get the units to work on the McLaren, so the F1 used heavier iron brakes, a setback the T.50 won’t suffer. The Xtrac six-speed manual transmission cuts 22 pounds compared to the six-speed sequential box in the F1. The all-carbon moncoque and body panels are less than 330 pounds, the driver’s seat and frame weigh 15 pounds, the twin outboard passenger seats weigh less than seven pounds each. Murray told his team they wouldn’t be able to take any weight out of the pedal box, since he designed it himself. His engineers cut seven ounces. They shaved the windshield glazing to be 28% thinner than what would be standard for this application. The materials analysis team modeled the stress loads for all 900 nuts, bolts, washers, and fasteners in the T50, designing them with just enough material — titanium, of course — to do their jobs. 

This and more is how Gordon Murray Automotive beat the 2,205-pound target for the T.50 by 45 pounds. That will put the T.50 260 pounds above the hardcore 260-horsepower Lotus Elise Cup 260, 180 pounds under the 181-hp MX-5 Mazda Miata Sport. Yet the T.50 has 640 horsepower in everyday guise, which can be cranked up to 690 hp with ram air induction in certain modes. That lower figure is 22 hp more than the F1, for a car weighing more than 419 pounds less, part of what Murray means when he says the T.50 is “the F1 for the next generation, with all the same targets. But of course my toybox is much bigger now.” Backing that up, Murray said about a third of the deposits received so far come from people who own a McLaren F1, another 40% of deposits come from buyers under 45 who had McLaren F1 posters on their walls in their youth, but who’d been priced out of the astronomical F1 market.  

From now until the end of June, the GMA teams are finalizing details, tooling, and working with suppliers on parts. If all goes well, there’ll be a working prototype ready for road testing in September. Production on the 100 road cars and 25 track-only cars begins in late 2021, deliveries to start in early 2022. About 25 slots remain for the road car, so anyone with a $740,000 to put toward the $2.5 million starting price should send word to England.

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SCG 007 hypercar to swap twin-turbo V6 for twin-turbo V8

Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus began the long tease to its SCG 007 LMP1 hypercar with a set of sketches in June 2018 that clearly incorporated cues from the SCG 003. Refining that original sketch for 18 months produced a longer, smoother design with pontoon-like front fenders and a rear wing seamlessly integrated into a more tapered rear end. The first powertrain mentioned for the 007 was a twin-turbo V6 with 800 horsepower and a 200-hp hybrid component. In the WEC’s Hypercar class where SCG will try to win Le Mans outright, regulations cap maximum combined output at 740 horsepower, and electric assistance can only power the front wheels above 80 miles per hour. Late last year, Jim Glickenhaus told us SCG decided to shed the hybrid portion, since “We can make max allowed HP from our ICE, and our powerplant will be lighter and less complex.” A new announcement last week means the end of the V6, too, SCG partnering with French engine developer Pipo Moteurs on a “whole new custom V8 twin-turbo engine.” 

Pipo Moteurs opened for business in 1973, and has a track record of wins mainly in World Rally Championship with teams like Peugeot and Ford, and European hillclimbing with BMW. We expect the 007 to mark the first time SCG takes a V8 into top-level racing; the SCG 003 road car was powered by BMW’s 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8, but the road car housed a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 from Honda

SCG plans to get the 007 down near the WEC’s minimum weight of 1,100 kilograms (2,425 pounds). Evo reports that the first wind tunnel tests are finished, the engineering program scheduled to continue through to summer 2020. Subsystems should enter production in August 2020, the first shakedown runs happening a month later. The math so far shows the hypercar regulations enabling laps times of three minutes and 30 second around the Circuit de la Sarthe, about 15 seconds off the best qualifying lap for the pole-sitting Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 Hybrid at Le Mans last year, 13 seconds adrift of the fastest lap set during the race by the second-place Toyota.

Next year’s a long way away, though. The hypercar class only has three entries for the moment, Toyota, SCG, and ByKolles scheduled to run after Aston Martin dropped out, and many wonder if that will be enough to keep a top-level worth running. The ACO and IMSA announced a new class to integrate the former’s LMP1 with the latter’s DPi into a new category possibly called LMDh, the first race the 2022 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Lamborghini had been examining a hypercar entry and Peugeot had committed, but Peugeot pulled out after the LMDh announcement. Being able to race internationally and run Daytona, Sebring, and Le Mans with one car is a huge lure to automakers. It’s not clear yet if the hypercar rules can be shoehorned into the new category, of if ACO will want to try. 

Assuming the 007 makes it to Le Mans at some point, SCG will produce at least 20 roadgoing versions to satisfy homologation rules, priced around $2.1 million, roughly the same price as the SCG 003. 

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Gordon Murray’s T.50 gets a soundcheck and a website

Gordon Murray Automotive isn’t slated to begin building the T.50 supercar until late next year, with deliveries scheduled for early 2022. Thankfully for us, the next step on the march to that goal is a website and a soundcheck of a portion of the 3.9-liter V12 which will power the three-seater coupe (watch that video here). We say “a portion” because Cosworth — the engineering firm developing the mill — put just three of the 12 cylinders on the dyno to verify emissions output and ensure the components can handle 12,100 rpm, said to be 300 rpm short of a 12,400-rpm “hard limit” redline. That figure is 1,400 rpm beyond the north wall of the 6.5-liter V12 Cosworth built to propel the Aston Martin Valkyrie. Murray told TopGear that the air pulses sucked into the ram-air intake above the cabin will result in magnificent sound. The English engineering legend tuned the thickness of the roof panel on the McLaren F1 to enhance the engine sound, and he’s done the same thing on the T.50. Based on the short snippet of the dyno run, the free-breathing V12 will excite blood and bone.

Output checks in at 650 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, meaning ten hoses more than the 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S but 184 lb-ft less. Unlike just about every other supercar out there today, the T.50 will weigh no more than 2,161 pounds, a stunning spec that’s 1,475 pounds less than the Turbo S, 899 pounds less than the Lotus Evora 400 Lightweight, 180 pounds less than an entry-level Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport. The V12 will utilize two engine maps, one that loads up torque at the bottom of the rev range for potting about town, dropping the redline to about 9,500 rpm and horsepower to roughly 600, the other unlocking every rev and joule. A 48-volt mild hybrid system powers the 15.7-inch rear fan and active aero panels, and employs a small electric motor to add 30 ponies in certain aero configurations. Power in the 100 units of the T.50 road car is sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual with an exposed linkage; the 25 units of the T.50 track-only car will use paddle shifters. 

The coupe serves up five aerodynamic maps, two automatic and three driver selectable. Auto mode moves the under-floor and diffuser panels and active rear spoilers automatically as needed. Braking mode — as on a Bugatti Chiron or any McLaren — stands up the rear spoilers and powers the fan to suck air from under the car, improving downforce and therefore traction. Selectable High Downforce mode is made for the track and wet roads, boosting downforce by 30% over Auto mode. Streamline goes the opposite direction, closing aero inlets to reduce drag by 10% compared to Auto mode, and it “activates the fan at high speeds to extend the trailing wake of air behind the car, in effect creating a virtual long-tail.” VMAX mode starts with Streamline and kicks in extra boost from the 48-volt system to get to about 680 hp. Murray said the T.50 tops out somewhere around 220 miles per hour.  

The carbon-intense supercar has moved into wind tunnel testing in Silverstone, using the Racing Point F1 team facility. At the same time, Gordon Murray Automotive is finishing its customer experience and service center in Dunsfold, England next to the factory that will build the T.50. Have a listen to the engine and imagine what’s to come for what it’s designer calls the “last and the greatest analog supercar ever built.” We also recommend checking out TG‘s piece on the car, where Murray admits that driving dynamics have been benchmarked against the Alpine A110, power steering will only work at low speed and in parking lots, the V12 flips from idle to 12,000 rpm in 0.3 seconds, and the rear tires are just 295-section (911 Turbo S rubber is 315-section out back). 

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Czinger releases full specs on 21C hybrid hypercar

A week ago, LA-based Czinger teased its 21C hypercar with a video and a promise of “dominating performance.” Now that all the specs are out before the coupe’s reveal at the Geneva Motor Show, on paper at least, it appears “dominating” was the correct choice of words. We’ll start with the performance: Zero to 62 miles per hour in 1.9 seconds — making 0-60 perhaps faster; the quarter-mile in 8.1 seconds at 170 mph; zero to 186 mph and back to zero in 15 seconds; zero to 248 mph and back to zero in 29 seconds, which would eclipse the Koenigsegg Regera’s record of 31.49 seconds set last September.

Assuming the 21C can bring those numbers to life, how does the coupe do it? There’s a 2.88-liter twin-turbo V8 with a flat-plane crank stowed amidships driving the rear wheels, good for 950 horsepower. (To get a sense of the march of progress, the 2.855-liter twin-turbo V8 in the 1984 Ferrari 288 GTO produced 350 hp.) Each front wheel gets a high-powered electric motor, serving up all-wheel drive and a combined output of 1,232 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque at 10,500 rpm, 500 rpm short of redline. The 21C in standard road guise without the big rear wing has a curb weight of 1,250 kilograms (2,756 pounds), and with a metric horsepower rating of 1,250 hp, we’re talking about a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio. The 21C Lightweight track-focused car with the big rear wing weighs just 1,218 kg (2,685 pounds). Shifting through a seven-speed automated manual transmission, the road car maxes out at 268 mph, the track car produces more than three times the road car’s downforce so its top speed comes in at 236 mph.

The e-motors get juice from a lithium-titanate battery, the same pack composition used by the Mitsubishi i-Miev and Honda Fit EV, an integrated starter-generator helping to deliver power where needed. Czinger says the entire powertrain was designed and is built in-house, and it’s flex-fuel — owners can fill up with Vulcanol, described as “a renewable methanol made from captured carbon dioxide,” assuming they can find it.

Czinger is only making 80 examples of the 21C, using its proprietary “vertical assembly,” 3D-printed build processes that combine carbon fiber, high-performance alloys, and other materials, topped off with book-matched carbon fiber bodywork. Road & Track has a good writeup on the production system. Company founder Kevin Czinger explained that the 3D-printed parts are expected to last the lifetime of the car, but if any need to be replaced, they can be dissolved into their original powder and reconstituted to serve a different purpose.

Each 21C comes with a reported price of $1.7 million before the obligatory options and fripperies. We look forward to checking this one out in Geneva, and we’ll take the one with the wing, please.

Glickenhaus SCG 004C gets its first track shakedown in Italy

It can be hard to keep track of the various Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus vehicles on the way because we read about them for years before seeing them. No matter, when they do show, they are welcome sights. The SCG 004C, hardcore racer that’s successor to the Nürburgring pole-sitting 003C, is the next to make the transition from text coverage to track footage. Developed to ultimately serve as a platform for GTE, GTLM, GT3, and GT4 categories as well as Germany’s NLS series, SCG put the first example to test on Italy’s Cremona Circuit. Years ago, SCG’s plan was to have Nissan’s 3.8-liter twin turbo VR38DETT V6 from GT-R placed amidships. That plan morphed into using a 6.2-liter naturally-aspirated pushrod V8 based on GM’s LT4 block, developed by Autotechnica Motori.

Fellow Italian company Podium Advanced Technologies is helping with overall vehicle engineering, SCG saying the 004 chassis — which will get an 004S road version, 004CS road/track version, and the 004C track-specific car — has already been through 35,000 hours of development work. As to the engine, James Glickenhaus told Sportscar365, “It can’t rev very high, but GT3 engines can’t rev very high anyway with the restrictors. You get a very low center of gravity and it’s a very compact engine, so there’s a tremendous amount of space around it to blow air around and keep it cool.” The 003C used a 3.5-liter, twin-turbocharged Honda HR35TT V6 built for IMSA’s Daytona Prototype category. Glickenhaus said the change in philosophy with the 004C meant that “with the low-end torque, we’re going to be able to be faster coming out of the turns than we were with the 003C.”

On the first shakedown and improvements compared to the 003C, the owner explained that two more inches of suspension travel in the 004C would translate into softer landings on the high-flying Nordschleife, and the new nose results in improved downforce and better aero balance. The 004C is also about 220 pounds lighter than its 2,976-pound forebear.

The 004C will of course be restricted to series power limits. Since the road-going cars won’t be limited, customers will get about 680 hp out of the V8 in the 004S, and around 850 hp out of the 004CS with the help of a supercharger bolted to that V8. Estimated price for the hand-built, carbon-fiber bodied 004S is $485,000, the 004CS will start around $650,000. As with the racer, all versions will employ a three-seater cockpit with a central driver’s seat, the choice of a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch transmission; the race car fits an Xtrac sequential transmission.

After its first test at Cremona, the 004C heads to Aragon, Spain, for a 30-hour endurance test. Its first race comes next month in the Experimental Class in the NLS series, before racing again in April, and a tilt at the Nürburgring 24 in May. Check out the sound from the outside in the clip above, and the on-board views below.

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Karma Revero GTS and SC2 concept plot the way forward

The Karma Revero GTS and SC2 concept occupy two places in the automotive spectrum, but point to a single destination for Karma Automotive. In their ways, Karma has designed them to exhibit the brand’s intent to expand beyond the mechanics of electric car production. The Revero GTS pushes the Revero GT further, using the same 536-horsepower twin-motor setup and Karma-designed inverters integrated with the motors. The sprint to 60 miles per hour has been cut by 0.7 seconds to 3.9 seconds, top speed increases five miles per hour to 130 mph. Dynamic improvements include new suspension bushings and valving for more supple damping.

Changes are subtle throughout, nothing but a splash of carbon fiber exterior trim and GTS badging appearing to separate the hotter sibling from the GT. The interior is fitted with haptic steering wheel switchgear, Karma’s proprietary 570-watt Soloscape audio, ventilated seats, and Bridge of Weir leather. Preorders are being taken now for $149,950 before destination, a $15,000 bump over the Revero GT. Production will begin in the first quarter of 2020.

The Vapor Gray SC2 concept strikes us as the second coming of the Mercedes-McLaren SLR, and we’re totally OK with that; the pure electric hypercar puts a roof on the SC1 roadster concept Karma took to Pebble Beach this year, and looks more well-proportioned for it. In the previous teaser photo, we thought we were in for another set of gullwing doors, but those long, unfurling, insectoid wings would make a set of gullwings shy. And check out what looks like a piece of integrated luggage set into the front fender under the door. The interior is all the sharp-edged, color-keyed, future-cool minimalism tomorrow’s hitman could want. Entry is done through fingerprint and facial recognition, the seats and steering wheel respond to biometrics, fiber optics run through the headliner, and the side glass is electrochromatic. 

A mongo, I-shaped 120-kWh battery powers electric motors delivering 1,100 hp and 10,500 lb.-ft of torque, said to be good for a 0-60 mph blast of less than 1.9 seconds, that time having become the magic benchmark for EV screamers. Claimed range is 350 miles, not that you’d ever get that far thanks to acceleration runs and the promise of exceptional handling thanks to a pushrod suspension.

Another piece of in-house tech is the Drive and Play technology. The SC2’s HD camera and lidar sensors capture a 360-degree rendition of the environment during a spirited drive, and a data logger records driver inputs. The drive can then be played back as theater using an adaptive laser projector inside the cabin, right down to the temperature and playlist. A smartphone mount above the windshield even acts as a rearview mirror for verisimilitude. 

This SC2 previews Karma’s future design, and the electronic bits give a glimpse into Karma’s ideas for wider interactions with EVs. There’s a brand new platform on the way come 2021, so we’re looking forward to what filters through to production.

The Aspark Owl electric hypercar has 1,985 hp and a $3.3 million price tag

In 2017, Japanese electric hypercar maker Aspark showed the world its Owl concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Six months after that, Aspark showed a prototype Owl covering the 0-to-60-mph sprint in less than 2 seconds. Six months later, a more refined Owl appeared at the Paris Motor Show touting pre-production figures of 1,150 horsepower, 652 pound-feet of torque, and a dry weight of roughly 3,300 pounds. More absurd than any of that, Aspark wanted potential customers to put down a 1-million-euro non-refundable deposit. Now, a year later, the production-spec Owl touched down at the Dubai Motor Show having reworked its math, blowing up its output figures and asking for a rational deposit. The new totals come to 1,985 hp and 1,475 lb-ft from four permanent magnet synchronous motors, and a 4,188-pound dry weight.

The power boost works the expected effect on the 0-to-60 time, lowering it to a claimed 1.69 seconds. That’s on the road-legal, production-spec tires, either Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s or Pirelli P Zeroes. There’s an asterisk, though, in that the Aspark time was achieved with 1-foot of rollout, which is typically used by most car publications when testing 0-60 times. The earlier runs, which yielded times of 1.87 and 1.92 seconds, were run from a standstill but on Hoosier racing slicks. So proper zero to 60-mph sprints will be slower on street tires, however, the Owl is in with peers like the Rimac Concept Two (1.85 seconds) — at least on paper. Top speed is supposedly 249 mph. Ten-piston front brakes clamping carbon ceramic discs are apparently confidence-inspiring enough for someone to carry out acceleration runs in a parking lot.

The 800-volt, 64-kWh battery is good for 280 miles of range on Europe’s generous NEDC cycle, but Aspark says it’s working on a higher-capacity battery. A 44-kW on-board charger can restore the full charge in 80 minutes.

There’ve been a few other changes from the concept days in Frankfurt. A few tweaks were made to improve aerodynamics and aid worldwide homologation, like losing the louvered rear backlight for a smooth, windowless panel. The former fixed rear wing is now an active rear wing that rises at 93 mph and lowers at 62 mph. The concept’s side cameras are now side mirrors with additional cameras. And the side windows, thanks to an inset section like on the old Lamborghini Countach and Subaru SVX, open further.

The Owl’s built with carbon fiber body panels placed on a carbon fiber monocoque, the only metal reinforcement is used to strengthen the roof. That roof, by the way, is just 99.3 centimeters (39 inches) off the ground at the Owl’s standard ride height. A hydraulic suspension can raise the car 3.2 inches in two steps. 

Vehicle switches like the start/stop button are on the cockpit ceiling, while lower down, four screens convey information from the car, the infotainment system, and two side cameras. Drivers get cosseting features like climate control, ambient lighting, keyless entry, and a 50-liter luggage compartment, which comes out to a tiny 1.7 cubic feet. Safety kit includes anti-lock brakes, traction and electronic stability control, and an emergency stop alert.

Manifattura Automobili Torino in Turin, Italy, will build the Owl and expects to have the first customer unit delivered in April 2020. This is the same MAT that builds the Apollo IE and graced the world with the Ferrari F430-based MAT Stratos. Aspark will sell just 50 Owls for 2.9 million euros apiece ($3.3 million U.S.), and interested buyers are welcome to reserve a slot with a non-refundable 50,000-euro deposit. If buyers need more convincing, Aspark CEO Masanori Yoshida said he plans on taking the Owl to the Nürburgring early next year to claim the outright lap record.

Gemballa issues progress report on its in-house supercar

In June this year, Gemballa owner Steffen Korbach announced the German tuner was “planning a thoroughbred super sports car with a unique, aggressive design and engine power considerably over 800 horsepower.” This would be a departure for the Baden-Württemberg company that has spent nearly 40 years fettling products produced by its Stuttgart neighbor, Porsche, just 12 miles away. Korbach said Gemballa needed investor financing to carry out the project, a call that’s seen some success. Having secured initial funds, the company’s decided to release more information as it commences the technical planning phase. 

Potential customers and investors are likely to have seen initial drawings of what’s promised to be “uncompromising, radical, pure, and luxurious,” which we’ll assume are the new images we have here. There’s been quite a bit of reshaping since the last black and white image of a more compact and harder-edged mid-engined rocket. That car gave off Zenvo vibes up front and design thesis track car concept vibes in back. The new visuals loosen up with more curves stretched out over a longer body, and substantial aero work has been done up front. The B-pillar has sprouted a pair of scoops, the jutting diffuser has been tucked under tail. The rear wing arises organically out of the bodywork instead of being appended like a Time Attack appliance, and check out that multi-level and multi-part surfacing on the cross-member. Expect loads of carbon fiber.

We don’t have specs on what kind of engine will make use of the jet stream of air inhaled through those side vents, Gemballa saying for now that there’ll be an internal combustion engine with at least 800 horsepower and no hybrid assistance. Korbach again, taking a shot at electric vehicles: “We’re now concentrating on building one of the last pure sports cars, a modern classic with an outstanding appearance and performance. A pure Gemballa car needs petrol and sound. Not all new trends are cool.” It’s possible there’ll be a manual transmission option sited between the engine and wheels, part of “state-of-the-art drive and aero technology.” No matter, when combined with the lightweight body, Gemballa’s aiming for a 0-62 mile per hour time of under 2.5 seconds, and 0-124 mph in “around 6.5” seconds.

The tuner hasn’t just torn down and muscled up everything from the Cayman to the Carerra GT, it’s sorted through the internals of the Mercedes-McLaren SLR, McLaren MP4-12C, and Ferrari Enzo. All of which is to say Gemballa knows how a supercar is built. If all goes well, a prototype takes the stage early next year — we won’t be surprised at a Geneva Motor Show reveal — with production slated for 2022.

De Tomaso P72 gets a 5.0-liter Ford V8 with 700+ horsepower

All the comments the Hong Kong-based Consolidated Ideal TeamVentures (CIT) have made about resurrecting the De Tomaso brand have stressed the company’s focus on staying true to De Tomaso’s intentions and the values of his car company. The first proof of that came in CIT deciding to pay homage to the practically unknown De Tomaso P70 with the P72, instead of going for the slam dunk with a Pantera facsimile. The second proof comes in the choice of engine for the P72: Ford’s 5.0-liter Coyote V8 further developed by De Tomaso and Roush Performance. From De Tomaso’s first road car, the Vallelunga, to his last, the Guarà, he used Ford engines.

Final output figures will come in north of 700 horsepower and 608 pound-feet of torque thanks to a Roots-type supercharger. Yes, that’s less grunt and gumption than one gets from the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, a coupe that costs one-tenth the P72’s 700,000 euros ($842,000 U.S.). But the men behind the project say blinding power figures are “irrelevant to ethos of this project and what we are trying to achieve.” In the words of general manager and chief marketing officer Ryan Berns, “In our opinion the market is now over-saturated with commercially driven ‘limited edition’ models primarily marketed on performance metrics. We have grown tired of this notion and thus took a contrarian approach with the P72.” The point with this car, rather, is “the provenance and the overall experience as a brand and for our clients.”

We can’t judge all of that yet, but the engine looks good on paper. Roush Performance tweaked the two four-lobe rotors in the supercharger for faster operation, better airflow and thermal efficiency, and less noise and vibration. The supercharger provides the power and response De Tomaso wants, along with regulation compliance in the U.S. and Europe. Yet the engine’s still in development as De Tomaso works to reduce the apparent presence of the supercharger, stressing an “old-school American V8 soundtrack” and the naturally aspirated spirit of the Sixties. Roush also added dry-sump lubrication, and it’s planned that the engine’s redline will lie beyond 7,500 rpm. Power gets sent to the rear axle through a six-speed manual gearbox, and we’re told to expect an audio clip soon of the “symphonic exhaust system” that exits atop the rear deck. If done right, the sound “brings one back in time as if they were on the starting grid at Le Mans in 1966.”

Miller Motorcars is the U.S. dealer for anyone still interested, but it seems this is a matter of snoozing and losing; De Tomaso will only build 72 examples of the P72 – hence the name – and the car already has more than 72 people standing in line for the chance to buy.