Coming soon: Canadian hypercars
David Booth in The Fast Lane
There are signs that Canadian economy is once again booming: the TSX, as I am banging on this keyboard, has soared 14,176; our loonie, thanks to the Libyan-induced froth in the oil market, is hovering near US$1.03; and now comes the news, via the CBC's Dragon's Den, that Canada will be producing hypercars.
Yes, super-fast hypercars. Not just ordinary, four-door, let's-go-shopping-at-Sobeys Chevrolets, but big, powerful environmentally-unfriendly road-rockets whose main purpose - other than to rid the independently foolish of their unwanted millions - is to boost the ego of the super-rich as they lord their superiority over we, the Corolla-driving proletariat.
And not content with just producing one hyper-expensive automotive trinket, it turns out there will be two such Canadian-built hypercars, the cheapest costing a heady $795,000 with its truly hedonistic competitor falling into the "if you have ask ..." category. They'll suck back gas quicker than a fleet of Hummers, are as impractical in the winter as a Brazilian bikini and, considering the rigours of Canadian law enforcement - at least in my home province of Ontario - are unlikely to ever venture further than second. An Italian supercar, I get. Ditto for the Germans and their unlimited-speed autobahns. I even understand the concept of a Yankee-built super sports car; despite their equally Draconian speed laws, their chrome it and flaunt it culture welcomes the look-at-me stylings common to all supercars. But we Canadians are modest, retiring souls, aren't we? Why would a Canadian company want to produce such impractical beasts?
Well, I have to apologize if you thought I might bring you the answer to that mystery. I actually have no idea why anyone would want to build supercars here in the Great White Frozen North. I am, like all of you, a mere armchair psychiatrist, often left to ponder the indecipherable (as in trying to figure out why Charlie Sheen was so very determined to throw away the world's best gig), though I do suspect that these low, slinky four-wheeled fashion statements are as much an ego-stroke for their builders as their owners. All that I know is that after years of churning out Chevy Impalas and Chrysler minivans, Canada can now boast the De Macross GT1 and the HTT Pléthore.
It is the latter that is the more famous of the two, HTT Technologies having recently been the recipient of a $1.5 million lifeline from the geniuses on CBC's Dragon's Den based, it would seem, on CEO Sebastien Forest's claim that HTT can convince 50 wealthy Middle Eastern, Chinese and American buyers annually to pony up $795,000 to buy a supercar built, well, in Quebec. HTT is relying on the Pléthore's 750-horsepower supercharged V8 and its incredible 2.8 second zero-to-100-km/h acceleration (though Nissan's mass-produced GT-R can perform the same feat for a mere $100,000) as key drawing points. It should be noted, however, that the Financial Post reported that when Dragon's Den investor Robert Herjavec went for a test drive, the prototype developed transmission issues, not surprising since HTT has little experience in mass-producing complete cars.
From that standpoint, the even-more recently-developed De Macross GT1 might stand a better chance of success. Though the brainchild of wealthy South Korean entrepreneur Jahong Hur (who penned its basic shape), the GT1 is the work of Multimatic, a multi-million-dollar, Markham, Ont. based parts supplier that, amongst other things, supplies suspension components to Formula One teams and builds the entire rolling chassis for Aston Martin's phantasmagorical One-77 (this expertise also helps explain how Mutimatic was able to take the GT1 from the drawing board to driveable prototype in just 14 months). The De Macross is also powered by a supercharged V8, this one a Roush Yates 5.4-litre Ford V8, rumoured to pump out 830 horsepower. The GT1, like the Pléthore, has a carbonfibre chassis (similar in construction to the McLaren-produced SLR Mercedes-Benz), but the body panels, in a nod to time-honoured supercar tradition (not to mention lower repair costs) are hand-beaten aluminum.
A 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake sold for $1.3 million. Do you think classic cars were made better than modern rides?
Thanks for being one of the first people to vote. Results will be available soon. Check for results
- Yes, the quality of cars from the 1960s and '70s is the best
- No, modern technology makes cars better today
- Maybe, it's hard to say since most Canadians get a new car every 10 years