If you're interested in owning an extremely niche VLF Automotive product, you'll be paying a pretty sum for one of these four models.

Just like Tina Turner borrowed the basis of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary" and made it her own, newly-christened sports car maker VLF Automotive of Detroit, Michigan is doing the same with its lineup of exclusive models. By doing so, VLF, which has four models currently in the pipeline, is confident it will avoid the fate of other, less-successful upstarts.

In a recent interview with Automotive News, the "L" in VLF, Bob Lutz of BMW, Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors fame, says that by using the chassis and hardware from the defunct Fisker Karma, Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, Dodge Viper, and more, the company will be able to quickly make money despite having a very low vehicle output (between 200 and 300 cars per year).

"We try to avoid reinventing the wheel," Lutz told Automotive News. "We seek to use the existing safety systems, airbag systems. We try to keep the cost at the absolute minimum. We will never do our own engine. We will never do our own windshield. The minute you start touching the cowl, plenum, air conditioning and instrument panel, you are off to the races in certification."

 

 

VLF's first car, the Destino, is a perfect example. It took a dozen Fisker Karma chassis (designed by partner Henrik Fisker), tore out all the heavy plug-in hybrid bits, and replaced them with Chevrolet's last-generation C6 Corvette ZR1 powertrain - a 6.2-litre supercharged V8 that produces 638 horsepower with a 6-speed rear transaxle! With the potent new engine, and less weight, Lutz says the performance and handling is dramatically improved making this the 4-door Corvette sedan that never was. VLF will even do the conversion on a customer's existing Karma, as long as he or she is willing to shell out a cool $110,000 USD.

The other three vehicles are the Force 1, which is essentially a highly-modified Dodge Viper chassis complete with 8.4-litre V10 engine, a customized Mustang, and the Firefly, which is described as a compact electric vehicle for urban areas to offset all of the outrageous muscle coming out of the VLF factory.

"We seek to use the existing safety systems, airbag systems. We try to keep the cost at the absolute minimum. We will never do our own engine. We will never do our own windshield."

By avoiding building all its own parts and expensive R&D, the costs are kept to a minimum. "We will never do our own engine. We will never do our own windshield. The minute you start touching the cowl, plenum, air conditioning and instrument panel, you are off to the races in certification," said Lutz to Automotive News. Engineers don't need to be hired, nor does VLF have to pay for things like tooling costs and certain certifications.

What VLF Automotive does do is alter chassis and brakes, refresh exteriors, and updating diagnostics software and of course, the powertrain.

If you're interested in owning an extremely niche automotive product, you'll be paying a pretty sum for VLF's products - the complete VLF Destino has a price of $229,000 USD for instance (over $302,000 CAD at current exchange rates). 

Photos: VLF Automotive

Source: Automotive News

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