Monday, 15 July 2013

I Look Forward To Seeing This Never Actually Happen

Canvas wheels are a bold move. In my experience canvas flaps around in the wind and folds up very easily...
Today's Vapourware Special sees a Mr. Paul Halstead, an Australian entrepreneur, wishing to create a ground-up supercar (as in made from scratch, not something he can grind up) featuring a powertrain that combines Bugatti Veyron, Cizeta V16-T and Oppo Mentality by combining two GM LS7 V8s. The target result is a 1200-horsepower 14.0 W16 with two crankshafts and a "trick transfer case" to send all that power rearwards through an LSD (not the kind he might be consuming). But is it actually vapourware? Let's analyse.

First of all, let's try to be positive. Mr. Halstead runs an automotive design/engineering company called HAL, whose motto is presumably "high prices and shoddy workmanship? I'm afraid I can't do that Dave...". He's therefore probably got a sufficiently-equipped shed for the job, and what's more he's being honest with himself about this little project, saying that it's not a serious business venture and mostly just a bit of fun. The end result will be shown at the 2016 Detroit Autorama hot rod show, where he hopes to win a Ridler Award, perhaps for making the most confusing car or using the most green question marks of any entrant. He's also managed to bring a product to market before, which was the HAL Giocattolo, an Alfa Romeo Sprint coupé with a mid-mounted V8 that appeared in the '80s.

And now the negative. While we're on that modded Alfa, HAL only managed to make 15 of them before going bust. What's more, he's given himself two and a half years to finish a fully bespoke hypercar with a very complicated drivetrain linking two engines to one 6-speed gearbox, just like the Cizeta V16T that remains a largely-forgotten flop. It'll use a carbon fibre tub and a carbon-kevlar body, because hey, Koenigsegg do that all the time! How hard can it be? I've seen those videos on YouTube of theirs. Having a W16 engine may put people in mind of the Veyron, but the chances of this being half as good as the Big Bad Bug are slimmer than Posh Spice after having a shit. Also, it looks like a speculative render of Maserati's rumoured LaFerrari spin-off, not something that hails from Australia.

So what do we reckon?

Mr. Halstead has said that if anyone sees the finished product and they want to buy it, then he'll entertain them and say yeah mate, sure. That makes it sound like it's really just a project car he's working on for his own sake, rather than an attempt to make the next Hennessey Venom. If that's the case, then I actually hope he finishes it, because we shouldn't put down someone who wants to make a bonkers mad car for fun. It could also be a poster car for his company as long as he doesn't call it the 9000. If, however, this is actually supposed to be a limited run road car and he's just playing it down, then either he's a genius by throwing us off the scent or he's not very confident in his plan to tackle the Koenigseggs and Paganis of the world, and he'll lose out or even go bust again.


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