VLF Automotive: A Force to be reckoned with at Auto Shanghai
A sketch of the Force 1 V10 Roadster is seen in this provided image. © VLF Automotive
Published Wednesday, March 22, 2017 1:13AM EDT
Boutique U.S. supercar builder VLF Automotive is bringing a 337km/h roadster based on the Dodge Viper to April's Shanghai motor show.
When Henrik Fisker isn't busy developing cars under his own Fisker Automotive brand, he's helping VLF Automotive build up a range of fascinatingly powerful luxury cars.
Co-founded by former GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, manufacturer Gilber Villarreal and racing driver Ben Keating, VLF's ultimate aim is to be an American alternative to boutique supercar makers such as Koenigsegg, Spyker or even Pagani. And that goal could well be in their grasp with the VLF Force 1 V10 Roadster.
Following on from the launch of the hard-top Force 1 V10 coupé at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show, the new variant is again based on the Dodge Viper and will use the same normally aspirated V10. The car's Henrik Fisker-designed exterior has been sculpted from carbon fiber and the brakes are from Brembo. The wheels are wrapped in Pirelli P Zero tires (just like on the world's greatest supercars) and the 745hp the engine is expected to develop goes exclusively to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox.
All of which, the company claims, will result in a 0-100km/h time of less than 3 seconds and a 337km/h top speed.
The car is also expected to come with a price tag in the region of US$300,000 when it officially goes on sale. And while that may seem very expensive for what some would argue is little more than a Dodge Viper with a new shell, Ben Keating's involvement in the project suggests that the car will offer performance more on par with a racing car than a muscle car. Keating made his name racing Dodge Vipers on the track.
What's more, starting with a donor or foundation car is the key to eliminating all of the quality and reliability issues that would otherwise stop a boutique car maker form challenging the establishment.
For example, the Hennessey Venom GT, which is just about to cease production and is officially the fastest car built in the U.S., uses a Lotus front end and Lotus doors to ensure fit and finish, that basic electrics work and that it meets U.S. crash safety standards. Allowing the company to devote its time and resources to the things it does best, making cars that go extremely quickly.
By following the same principle, VLF could very quickly establish itself, too.
The 2017 Shanghai motor show opens to the public on April 21.