This vehicle will go down in history as one of the biggest squanderers of development expenses and production costs. The car does bring in money temporarily by advance orders; however, it takes two years for the first customers to get hold of their cars. 16 pieces ought to have been built during the first two years. Its production expenditure is just comparable with that of the most expensive Rolls Royce at the time. It is the company's first four-seater.
The purchase price begins in 1978 with around 38,000 pounds and arrives at 50,000 pounds two years later. This amount would buy you a one-family dwelling in a pretty area of London at that time. But this is not the end, yet. The manufacturing speed drops to one vehicle per week, while the price increases to 66,000 pounds. Nevertheless, the car rescues the company in the eighties - just by the export to Arabia.
Its engine is not spectacular. A V8 with four overhead camshafts drives the car via a Chrysler automatic transmission. Given its price, the drive is a weak point of this car. It is changed repeatedly in the course of its development. Among other things, a fuel injection is inserted to lower the fuel consumption. Indeed, there probably is at least one more reason to make use of a tank with 128 liters of capacity.
The kerb weight is clearly more than two metric tons, in spite of the aluminum car body. Its substantial weight is probably caused by the very solid workmanship of the vehicle. The car exhibits a wide front, probably because of the aerodynamics, actually much more than the radiator with its two ventilating fans requires. But also details as for example the pop-up headlights are manufactured very solidly and thus heavy. It is no coincidence that the car holds ready its tools with white gloves in an attaché case in the trunk, by the way absolutely necessary for maintaining the driving operation.
Just for the rear seats a windowpane is inserted into the roof. It is interesting how many changes the vehicle was forced to undergo in the course of its production time. Of course, this is easier if the car is handmade. The principal obstacle is the electrical system. A large part of the manual and the operating instructions is exclusively dedicated to the electrical system.
The sales prospectus just points out that some functions are exclusively reserved for the sensitive push buttons. Truth told: this is a complete understatement. The car has the first digital display ever, in the beginning with LEDs (light emitted diodes), later with picture tubes as monitor. Especially the latter probably drove more than just one department of the company nuts. The world turned away from such displays relatively quickly. How should a wide, slightly diagonal and thick bar chart provide accurate information about the speed of this fast car?
What has established itself is the control device for the seats, remembering the adequate sitting position for several passengers. The unique car body is still subject of arguments between designers today. The early version with pop-up headlights is more angular, later on the car becomes a bit more round in the front. The headlights do not stand alone any longer; they join the other lights. The fog lights move into a special spoiler underneath. It is astonishing that the vehicle manages to draw enough air in spite of its small radiator grill.
But this recollection of earlier times is probably necessary, like the typical lateral openings in the front fenders. Looking from aside, the front looks like an arrow, especially incorporating the gigantic, level windscreen. Single art experts declare this car to be the most beautiful on earth. More appropriate is probably the title of one of the tests: 'Unfinished symphony' or 'everlasting prototype'...
A car, whose owner also will still remain calm if it does not start. One is either self specialized mechanic or can afford one. And if it runs, the consumption up to 30 liters per 100 km is related to the problems with the car even the smallest evil. Such a car has not really everyone. 08/10