Thought the MAT Stratos was desirable already? Now it's even more so
If it feels like the 'new Stratos' saga has been dragging on for a while now, you're not wrong; though PH only drove the car in August last year, it had been in development for nigh-on a decade. There were spy shots in 2010, a video in 2011 and all sorts of conjecture since then. But at Geneva in March, makers MAT will exhibit the first two customer cars, as seen here.
One is destined for a German owner, the other for North America. It's not known yet which of the two is going where, though forced to guess we'd imagine the Alitalia rep is going Stateside. But the prospect of customer cars finally being ready is arguably not the biggest news from MAT at Geneva; that will be the launch of a manual gearbox option.
As you'll probably be aware, the Stratos is built from a Ferrari 430 Scuderia, which was only ever offered with an automated manual paddleshift gearbox. However, the regular F430 was available - indeed, it was fitted as standard - with a manual gearbox. MAT evidently has the six-speed hooked up with the more powerful V8 from the Scud, to potentially create the mid-engined Italian supercar of our dreams.
Top Gear's story includes a quote from the Stratos' builders, which only makes the car sound more desirable: "With this option MAT is offering a unique experience combining the massive, well controlled torque of the naturally aspirated V8 with the excitement of the manual transmission, an experience that is less and less available on modern sport cars." They're not wrong on that score, either; the only similar combination we can think of is a Corvette...
So while not all new, the promise of a manual Stratos looks like being one of the Geneva highlights in 2019. And probably one of the most expensive. Still, the good stuff never did come cheap...
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