We haven’t caught up with RML since we drove the prototype last year, but evidently things have continued to move quickly at the Wellingborough-based firm - or as quickly as things can move when you’re hand-making seven-figure, V12-powered Short Wheelbases.
RML says it takes nine months to meticulously turn each example from a Ferrari 550 Maranello into what is effectively a new model, and production is well underway on the initial three. The first customer car is due to be delivered late next month, and is currently having its wiring harness installed and its cabin insulated while it awaits the return of its 5.5-litre V12 and six-speed manual gearbox. The 550’s engine is rebuilt to factory standard for its new setting, albeit boasting a unique cooling system to fit the new body.
That body, of course, is a work of art. The two-piece carbon fibre affair is said to weigh just 42.5kg, and is shown here in unpainted format, already fitted to its restored and powder-coated steel chassis. The next evolution has its major panels - doors, bonnet and boot - fitted and is fully primed, while the car nearest completion has been through the painstaking in-house painting process.
“Each Short Wheelbase is hand-built,” said Michael Mallock, RML’s CEO. “But we also use the most advanced technology to make sure that the quality of its build meets the very highest levels. All parts are laser-cut to minimise deviation from specification, and the jig we use only allows a maximum 0.25mm tolerance, meaning that all 30 cars in our production run will be produced to a consistently high standard.”
Needless to say, it’s this kind of attention to detail that RML’s buyers are paying through the nose for - and our time with the prototype suggests that they’re patience is going to be rewarded with something truly special at the end of it. Not just a can-ya-guess-what-it-is restomod, but a virtually new, British-built GT car in its own right.
Car Zero will be on display at Goodwood Members’ Meeting next month - we suggest you seek it out to see what all the fuss is about.
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