VL Productions, which is converting the Fisker Karma electric vehicle that is renamed the Destino and powered by a 556-hp General Motors V-8 engine, won’t be adversely affected by the niche auto maker’s sliding fortunes.
That’s the word from Bob Lutz, who with partner Gilbert Villarreal is developing the $185,000 Destino supercar for sale later this year.
Lutz confirms VL obtained 20 Karma “gliders,” lacking batteries and an electric powertrain, before Fisker’s bankruptcy.
He also tells WardsAuto VL has received hundreds of inquiries from Karma owners who have an interest in converting their cars to V-8 power and that VL may obtain Karmas from dealers seeking to liquidate their inventories.
Lutz estimates VL could convert existing electric Karmas to V-8s for about $85,000 to $90,000.
“We’ve heard from hundreds of Karma owners, with about 10% who may want to convert their cars, because sooner or later the cars might wind up as boat anchors,” he says.
VL currently has 100 orders for the Destino, with interest high in the Middle East. Vehicle deliveries are scheduled for the year’s third quarter, but only after VL meets its own quality standards, plus governmental safety and emissions regulations.
VL originally intended to use the Chevrolet Corvette’s 6.2L, 638-hp supercharged LS9 ZR1 V-8 in the Destino in its quest to build the fastest car on the U.S. market at plus-185 mph (295 km/h).
That’s still the goal, but the company instead has switched to the 6.2L, 556-hp supercharged V-8 used in Cadillac’s CTS-V.
“Most people want automatics in these types of cars, and we didn’t have a suitable 6-speed for the ZR1 (Corvette) engine,” Lutz says, adding the CTS-V will be mated to a GM-supplied 6-speed.
If Fisker does not survive, he says VL eventually could work with the auto maker’s suppliers to build the Karma/Destino itself, while admitting that might produce “a logistics hassle.”
Bottom line: “If Fisker disappears, it won’t affect us,” Lutz says.