All the talk before the unveiling of ‘America’s new supercar’ at the Detroit Motor Show this week was just how similar the car would be to the Aston Martin DB10. In the event when the covers came off Aston Martin had little cause to worry…
The car is the VLF Force 1, a carbon-fibre rebodied Dodge Viper with 8.4-litre V10 providing 745hp for a claimed 218mph top speed and 0-60mph in just 3secs. And while its sculptural design might not instantly recall an Aston Martin as the British firm had feared, there’s no doubt it’s a dramatic looking machine in the tradition of big-capacity front-engine, rear-drive US sports cars.
VLF Automotive, a new start-up in Michigan but with some big names behind it, says 50 Force 1s will be made at a price of $268,500 each. After a drama-fuelled build-up to the unveiling involving a spat between Aston Martin and the car’s designer, former Aston man Henrik Fisker, the car made its debut to a large crowd and the noisy accompaniment of Springsteen’s Born in the USA. Perhaps not an accidental choice of soundtrack…
Force 1 was unveiled by Fisker in the Cobo Center along with the ‘L’ in VLF: the original American ‘car guy’ and motor industry legend Bob Lutz. The V in the name stands for manufacturing entrepreneur Gilbert Villarreal. Force 1 is their follow-up car to the Corvette-based Destino V8, also designed by Fisker.
The designer is best known for his work on the Aston Martin DB9 and V8 Vantage during his time at Gaydon, as well as cars like the BMW Z8 and Artega GT. After Aston, he established Fisker Automotive and was making the handsome Fisker Karma, an innovative plug-in hybrid, until the firm ran into financial trouble.
The contention with Force 1 is that there is nothing else like it at that price made in America. To create it, Fisker worked with Ben Keating, renowned Viper expert and racer through whose Viper Exchange the VLF Force 1 will only be available. As well as the car, every owner gets to join Keating and his Viper racing team at two events every year, says VLF.
Apart from the lightweight body and mighty naturally-aspirated V10, the car’s spec includes a six-speed manual gearbox with paddleshift optional, 21-inch wheels, Pirelli P Zero tyres, Brembo high-performance brakes and an active suspension system developed by Keating. Says Fisker: ‘Ben understands performance metrics in cars, both on the track and on the road, better than anyone I’ve ever met.’
Images courtesy of Newspress and VLF