Aston Martin has nothing to worry about.
Reports surfaced earlier this week that Aston lawyers sent celebrity designer Henrik Fisker a letter warning him not to unveil his VLF Automotive Force 1 supercar in Detroit this week. They said the car looked too similar to the Aston Martin DB10 and that Fisker should change the design to avoid conflict with Aston Martin’s copyrights.
But after the debut, it’s easy to see that nobody would confuse this with anything so beautiful.
Yes, the rear end has some elements that from some angles could resemble that DB10, but the rest of it aggressively differentiates itself. The massive long hood has air vents like a rib cage and the arrogance of a Corvette; the carbon fiber wing sits so far up on the top of the carbon fiber roof that it looks like it has been misplaced altogether. (One man I know compared it to a bad lower-back tribal tattoo. No comment.) The sides are cut out and low, like a radiator scooping the ground.
The best feature of the car is the tiny curved side windows, which follow the line pulling from the front nose through the side and end in elegant wisps that point down toward the rear. Fisker says they’re a totally new element that is in keeping with the main idea of the car – which is to show off.
“This is an American supercar, and American cars are always about ‘show what you got – be upfront,’” Fisker said. “European cars are more about what’s underneath. But this is all about showing the power.”
The long hood, too, is there for a reason. It comprises more than half the car in order to house an 8.4 liter V-10, 745-horsepower engine. Force 1 will go 218 mph and will hit 60 mph in 3 seconds. It all makes sense, again, because Fisker says the car is an exercise in ostentation.
“We will have electric cars in the future, but just like we don’t want to eat salad every day – we want a steak every once in a while, or maybe a dessert –this is steak and dessert,” he said.
The company isn’t allowing test drives yet, but with a bunch of torque in the low gears, and that V-10 engine, suffice it to say it will be unique.
“When I design a car, I want people to look at it and go, ‘Wow that’s kind of interesting,’ and do a second take,” Fisker said.
One thing Force 1 really isn’t about is making money. Fisker said the reason he made this car is so that wealthy men will have an American option for spending $268,000 on a car. (It will be sold globally, but I expect most buyers will be American.) He said he expects that these men will already own several other luxury cars – Land Rovers, maybe a McLaren – and will relish the opportunity to buy something born in the USA.
And, better yet, he doesn’t really need to make that many of them. His new venture with GM icon Bob Lutz, VLF Automotive, is using pre-existing design facilities in California and manufacturing facilities in Michigan to make the new model,. That means the company’s costs, even when it uses elements like that carbon fiber roof, are pretty low.
He’ll make only 100 or so this year. Production starts in April.