The making of an icon

I’ve always liked cars. Never owned a great one, unless you count an ’85 Camry that ran forever with the fewest possible repairs. I did have a hand in my wife’s purchase of a ’92 Infiniti Q45a — a fabulous piece of work, sadly dulled by the maker in subsequent models. It was sadly repair-prone and finally croaked somewhere north of 200k miles, when the active suspension gave out. Still, for quite a few years it was an exceedingly pleasing car to drive.

These days my aging eyes and slower reflexes caution me against car fantasies that would be too pricey in any case. But I still harbor wishes for a car market not dominated by inefficient manufacturers of cookie-cutter vehicles, but rather populated by an infinite variety of designs that combine the best of invention, engineering, light manufacture and customer input on design — a value constellation rather than a value chain.

One such maker is Iconic Motors. The brightest star in its constellation is Claudio Ballard, an inventor whose obsession with automotive perfection is matched by his commitment to small, high-quality U.S. manufacturers. Together they’re producing the GTR:

Its a beautiful thing, and so hot it’s scary. It packs more than 800 horses in body that barely outweighs a Miata. It will rocket you past 200 miles per hour, and carve around curves on a suspension that’s as close to Formula One as you’ll find off a speedway.

They’re only producing a hundred of them in their first run. They are also interested in input as well as interest from fellow enthusiasts. This is the open source part of the story, and one of the big reasons I’m interested in it. (Besides having gotten to know Claudio over the past few months.) To get that ball rolling they’re hosting a reception at 7pm tomorrow night at the New York Auto Show. Wish I could be there, but I can’t.

They don’t have a link up yet, but will soon. I’ll add it here, soon as they do.

4 comments

  1. Chip’s avatar

    Doc

    1) not in Boston, best for that town is a beater

    2) don’t need to spend “too” much for fun, short of motorcycles which still deliver the bang for the buck, check this:
    http://looneydunes.blogspot.com/2007/07/vroom.html

    Note that Honda doesn’t seem to make these for a profit, just to say “top this”

    3) then, of course there’s http://www.arielatom.com/

    and http://www.arielmotor.co.uk/

    Talk about lust

    Hey… It’s Spring

  2. Russell Nelson’s avatar

    Honda Civic CRX, the first model year. Definitely a head-turner.

    But we’re a Subaru Outback family these days. No, it’s not a hot-rod, but on the other hand, I’ve only managed to get mine stuck three times, and every time all that was needed was to pull snow out from underneath it. And one of these days they’ll realize that they can drive the front wheels with the engine, the back wheels with an electric motor, lose the driveshaft, and gain an active transmission in the deal.

  3. Chip’s avatar

    Really shouldn’t use this for “conversation” but did have 1stCRX
    Skateboard
    Lots of fun
    Snow – my S2000 goes in storage
    CRX was great for handbrake turns

  4. JD Lasica’s avatar

    So how much per car? North of $200,000?

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