At this year's Detroit motor show that niche was filled by the Revenge Verde, a muscular performance coupe with all the attribute swoops, creases and curves to make it look like it was doing a hundred miles per hour while sitting still.
Coated in an eye-catching shade of lime green the carbon-fibre and aluminium bodied Revenge Verde was being promoted by expat Australian Peter Collorafi, who claims to have once been a business partner of Peter Brock in the HDT franchise.
Built on a Ford GT chassis and offering a combination of three different V8 drivetrains, Collorafi hopes the Revenge Verde's combination of exotic looks, devastating performance and affordable running costs will convince up to 3000 Americans per year to part with the requisite US$190,000 entry fee when the car goes on sake in late 2010.
Ford fans will be able to fill the mid-mounted engine bay with a supercharged 5.0-litre Ford V8 and associated drivetrain bits from well-known Ford fettler Roush Industries; while Chev fans may opt for a 638hp Pratt Miller Engineering version of the supercharged 6.0-litre V8 that powers the sizzling Corvette ZR1 supercar.
For performance enthusiasts with a taste for something a little more exotic, however, Mr Collorafi says his car will also offer an 'Hp2g Hybrid 100 V8' powertrain. This mysterious engine uses magnets and runs on E85 ethanol-blended fuel to offer the enticing combination of 100mpg economy married with 400hp performance.
Described intriguingly by Mr Collorafi as an "engine within an engine", the Hp2g V8 is the brainchild of Doug Pelmear, who in June last year unveiled a small manufacturing facility in Wauseon, Ohio, from where he plans to build engines for the Revenge Verde, and presumably anyone else with the readies.
In 2008 Mr Pelmear generated some media buzz when he embarked on a 4000 mile round trip from Napoleon to the SEMA show in Las Vegas, driving a 1987 Ford Mustang equipped with his revolutionary engine. He claims to have achieved the staggering economy figures of 109.8mpg along the way.
Quiet how his engine manages such extraordinary efficiency while also developing such impressive power and torque figures (400hp, 500ft-lb) is a mystery. But so far as we can gather the Hp2g consists of a good old all-American big block V8 married with an electric motor, and with ceramic magnets atop the V8s cylinders.
Beyond these basic details, however, the information gets kind of sketchy. It appears the magnets have the ability to shut down various cylinders, much like the variable displacement technology we're already familiar with from the likes of GM and Honda. A key difference is, however, that the Hp2g can go from running on all eight cylinders to running on just one, with the cylinder that's activated rotating through the eight cylinder set.
Confused? So are we, but stay with us as we haven't yet explained how the incorporated electric motor, powered by two conventional 12V batteries, "pulses" on and off, thus providing bursts of power to the driven wheels to compensate for the cycling of the V8.
It all sounds just about crazy enough that it might work. And if it does, Peter Collorafi says he'd be happy to consider building a right hook version of the Revenge Verde for the Aussie market.
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