I recently pulled the trigger to order a Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus (SCG) 004S and thought I would do a review after having a test drive. This review is a bit long, but broken into two parts: Part 1: observations on the car itself, and Part 2: driving impressions. The two parts are further broken down into subsections and you can skim the headings and skip around to parts that are more interesting to you.
I have been eying the SCG 004S for a while, potentially, as a replacement for my now ancient, yet still great, 2012 McLaren MP4-12C. Any car attempting to replace the 12C has big boots to fill as that car is one of the best cars I’ve ever had. I think it’s ride comfort, particularly in NYC where I drove it for most of its life, is unparalleled. Ten years later, surprisingly, for my use case, it remains near the top of the heap, performance wise.
With some good fortune, I had a chance to test drive SCG’s first 004S. By now you may have seen the gold SCG 004S with the faux giraffe interior.
Caveat: Limited Drive with Early Prototype
One caveat. While I was super honored that SCG let me take the wheel on such an early build, I had limited seat time in the car. Maybe 10 minutes as a passenger, and 10 minutes as a driver. I did not push the 004S, as it’s currently a 1-of-only-1 prototype. So take any of my comments in the proper light of my having limited and early access. I hope to get a second drive on track in several months where I can push it a bit more.
Also, parts of the car are still in great flux. The traction control was not yet enabled and I suspect SCG is still calibrating it. The car was limited to 500HP since the engine needs 650 miles for the break in period. They are still exploring some exciting (to me) options on how further to improve the infotainment panel (which includes a rear view camera, front camera option, Apple CarPlay options, and is mounted in the roof sill (instead of a rear view mirror)).
All of which is pretty exciting. If you’re someone that buys the car, you’ll have a lot of influence and options for customizing your build. SCG will add you to a private WhatsApp group and you can see progress on many car builds and have an unprecedented amount of back and forth with the company.
The SCG 004S (Straddle, i.e., street version). It comes with a 650HP supercharged engine (based on GM’s LT4) and 6-speed gated manual transmission (same as one used by Koenigsegg), and the base costs $483,000.
The SCG 004C (Competizione, i.e., competition, is basically the track/race version). It is a full on GT3 race car and comes with a full spec roll cage, Xtrac race gearbox, race suspension, and a 520HP naturally aspirated V8 race engine. $730,001.
The SCG 004C Endurance (Competizione, i.e., competition, is basically the track/race version). This is an endurance version of the SCG 004 with a V8 naturally aspirated and endurance tuned 600HP V8 engine. $782,501.
The SCG 004CS (Competizione Straddle, i.e., street competition, basically a road legal version of the 004C that you can convert back and forth between street and racing versions of the car). It comes with an 750HP supercharged GM engine and is available only in a 7-speed double clutch transmission. The CS model comes with a digital dashboard, large rear wing, and a roof scoop. The base costs $627,000.
There is one other unlisted version loosely referred to as the SCG 004CS X; this version is somewhat of a hybrid where a customer basically orders and pays for the more expensive CS model but still wants the experience of having a manual transmission.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE SCG 004S
We can start with dimensions and the looks of the car. It has an Immense presence when you walk up to it. It’s almost 4” wider and about 18” longer than my 12C. My 12C probably weighs around 3,250lbs (curb weight) and this SCG 004S was confirmed (by Nat Mundy who is a great guy and the sole authorized dealer/seller of SCG cars at HK Motorcars HK Motorcars) to weigh 2,750lbs (curb weight with all fluids). I’ve seen a lot of misinformation about the weight of this car, in part I think with folks at SCG wanting to under promise and over deliver, so it was good to get a more definitive weight and some additional information.
The prototype will be different than the final build, for example, the final doors will add about 15lbs, the magnetic ride suspension option will add about 30lbs, upgraded speakers will add 5-10lbs of weight, however, deleting the 6-way electric seats may save 20-30lbs. As SCG nears final production, there may be additional weight savings and changes. As such, the final version has a good chance of coming in at just under ~2,800lbs depending on your options.
To put this in perspective, a Lamborghini Abentador SVJ roadster weighs ~3,950lbs, the McLaren 720 weighs ~3,150lbs, the Mclaren 765 weights ~3,050lbs, a Mazda Miata RF weighs ~2,500lbs, the GMA T.33 weighs ~2,400lbs, the GMA T.50 weights ~2,175lbs, and almost all other super cars weigh well over 3,300lbs (these are all curb weights with fluids). The 004S is a crazy impressive light weight for a modern supercar.
The car has some really serious looking aero work. It remains to be seen how effective it will be, but just the front splitter is enormous, with aero work that has opted to forgo a frunk. Honestly, it looks like it could take a fair sized dog for a ride in the cavity above the splitter. And there is this clever front wing (see the canard nose with the SCG logo) which satisfies US requirements for “front bumper” height.
It’s a clever work around. I’ve heard downforce may be around 500kgs-600kgs and the 004CS was reported to make around 600kgs of downforce at 300kph These are really good numbers although not quite in the realm of the McLaren Senna’s claimed 800kg of downforce in race mode.
Aesthetics are of course very personal and subjective, but I really like what SCG has done with this car.
It’s somewhat in the same spirit as the GMA T.33 where it has some lines from cars from the 60s.
The car is clearly and homage to the Ferrari P 4/5 (which in many ways seemed to spur on the existence of SCG as a company), which itself was an homage to the original Ferrari P racing cars from the 60s.
Further, the car comes apart like some kind of cool transformer. The doors are proper billionaire doors. They are dihedral and work electronically with the throw of a switch to open and close (there is an emergency manual release as well). The rear panel tear drops into a very Le Mans style shape.
There is no rear view window at all as the engine occupies the entire bay. The back clear hatch opens up for easy access to the engine.
Also, I’ve been told the final model will allow the entire back of the car to open up like a giant clam to give even more access, and will look super cool doing it.
The car has flying buttresses, and just a lot of interesting curves. Depending on how you spec it, it can look very busy and muscle’y or very refined and elegant.
So the side mirrors are a nice way to dovetail from aesthetics (I think they look really good) to visibility. Normally I loathe cars with side view mirrors placed at the fender flare because the visibility is usually garbage. You could probably do better with compact mirror held by hand than some implementations of this. But here, SCG knocked it out of the park. I was impressed by how fantastic they are, in that they give a really great view around the car. Also, they are right at the top of the fender/tire, helping position the tire to an apex.
Not only were the side mirrors great from the central seat, they gave you amazing views if you are in the passenger seats as well.
However, since this is a 3 seater car, and there is no rear window, the rear view “mirror” is really a screen. And that screen doubles as your infotainment system. Before I get into that, I’m going to first describe overall visibility in the car to put this screen in better context.
So, the overall view from the car is very good. The scuttle view is exceptionally good. However, this car has some serious fender flares and that do take up a little bit of the view. The dome design of the cabin puts the A-pillars in a different position than my 12C, and the A-pillars are a bit thicker overall for the dome cabin.
The 12C, and McLarens in general, have some of the best visibility of any cars I have driven. I’d say the overall scuttle with the 004S is about on par with a modern McLaren, and the visibility out the side windows, is better. It’s a surprisingly good panoramic view.
However, the top of the windshield is a bit more cutoff than the 12C (or modern McLarens). I’m not sure this has any practical effect other than you see less sky. So for the hopefully rare occasion when a plane is crashing down from above, the McLaren may have the edge, but for seeing everything on the road, visibility is roughly on par with a modern McLaren. And in one important way, the SCG visibility is improved over my 12C. While the top of the windshield in the 12C offers a great view, still, if I’m the first person at a traffic light, I often have to peer my head up under the top of the windshield to see the light change. SCG has cured this issue with their little glass roof.
You can just peek straight out of it and see the lights change really easily. Also, the glass roof makes the cabin open up a bit in two ways. First, the atmosphere of the cabin feels more open. Secondly, SCG carved out a physical space behind the glass roof that offers extra space if you want to wear a helmet and gives more room to taller drivers.
Which gets us back to the rear view screen. First, this screen is still an early prototype. It’s a ok sized screen considering it sits right at your face. I’m 6’3 and 235lbs with pretty wide shoulders. Despite this, even with this taller comfort seat positioned very upright, I still had two or three inches of space above my head. I usually like to lean the seat back more, and when I did that, I had significantly more head room. But in all these positions, the screen was right above my face, which means the screen appears more prominent in your field of view if you choose to glance up at it.
It is a surprisingly brilliant placement. Most times it is easy to ignore, but if you just glance up you get this slightly jumbo-tron feel from it because it’s so close to your face. Nat Mundy told me they are still exploring another option for an even bigger wider screen there, one that will offer split screen views, where half of the screen has an always-on rear camera view, and the other half can be the CarPlay infotainment system. So while it’s not clear what the exact configuration will be in the final car, it shows promise.
A few prototype niggles. The current glass roof is pretty clear, and the final version may need a little more tint. The current prototype back camera position is too low (there are plans to use a better camera and change its position to a higher/better vantage). Also, there is currently no front camera view. There are some plans to add a front camera as well, which will certainly help with parking.
So this is as good a place as any to switch inwards. The car has some good, some bad, and some ugly. The overall dashboard area, kindly, could be considered basic in it’s aesthetic design.
Of course this is a prototype, and here they are trying to show off a truly wild style to highlight some of the really crazy options to personalize. This particular color scheme, both inside, and out, while I can appreciate it, is not my cup of tea. So below is a slightly more tame and less eye bleed inducing (black and white) mockup that should make things easier to see.
I wouldn’t call this minimalist. My 12C is very minimalist inside, and I love it. This might be more spartan, brutalist, and/or utilitarian. The current switch gear might not be final, but it’s something you might find in a 1960s race car or a Cessna. You have several round gauges, to the left and right of the steering wheel, as well as the rudimentary, yet totally functional, center dash with an electronic screen in the middle. Something about this dash strikes me as the design team just running out of steam with regard to their attention to design detail.
And while I’m at it, the gearbox just looks, not great. It looks like it came out of a truck and was slapped in place.
Other cars like older Pagani’s or the new GMA cars open up the manual gearbox to show the mechanics like jewelry. Here, under the leather wrapped gearbox, from what I understand, is a basic steel box. Some of this seems likely because SCG is a new company, and it just takes some time, and frankly crazy expense, to get bespoke parts for these types of aesthetic flourishes. And at some point there must be some decisions made on “do we want to put in jewelry here that will be a crazy increase in the price of the car and sourcing of such parts”? This early in SCG’s life cycle, it seems reasonable compromises are being made, at least that is my supposition.
Which is a shame because the external design really is a beautiful work of art. The 004CS model comes with an upgraded digital dash, and I like the look of it better, but nonetheless, it still just looks not up to par with the rest of the car’s really brilliant and artistic design strokes. All that said, there are at least 2 or 3 saving graces even if you agree with my subjective view on the interior design.
So first, above I focused on the most negative impressions, however, the overall rest of the cabin comes off as very high quality. The leather materials can be almost any crazy thing you dream up. The faux giraffe print is on leather and shows you can basically put in almost any color scheme combination you’d like. Further, the materials seemed very high quality. The Alcantara roof liner was nice. There was some leather finishing material put atop the carbon fiber dash that had some gap alignment issues, but such is understandable considering this is an early prototype (frankly I will probably just keep the dashboard bare carbon fiber and save on weight from any leather trim).
Secondly, you can customize basically everything in the cabin. Almost any color for any part. For example, you can have the air vents made to almost any color. The fabrics. So there is room to really make the basic interior become your own in many beautiful ways.
Third, everything you want inside is inside. The car comes with the air conditioner from an Escalade. It works great! You have Apple CarPlay (something McLaren still hasn’t managed to put in the the 720 and 765, despite earlier promises). You have defogging with some really great tech. A front lift. An option for magnetic ride with different driving modes. Ability to turn traction control/ABS on/off. Mirror adjustment. Electric telescoping steering wheel. Electric 6-way adjustable drivers seat. Nothing is missing. Everything is laid out clearly. The switch gear is instinctively placed as are gauges. Everything feels good, is super tactile and easy to engage and adjust. That said, those that are looking for Pagani level switch gear jewelry, they will likely grumble. By the end of my seat time, I came away with a feeling of being charmed by the car in its sheer clarity. And I was further surprised by just how everything feels solid.
I was ready to hear all kinds of rattles and carbon fiber creaks etc., but this car felt solid even though this prototype is not complete. Now this might be because it’s a 1-of-1 build so they made sure everything was very bolted down, but still, I was super surprised at how tight and well put together the car felt.
Again, all aesthetics are very subjective, so as always, your mileage may vary. That said, I came away with a really good feeling about the interior of the car being a really good place to be, as my overall take home impression.
Inside impressions and livability
So before I get to driving dynamics, this is a natural place to dovetail into what’s it like to be inside the cabin when youre driving. The TLDR is it’s pretty great considering the nature of the car.
So first of all, I’ve heard some complaints from folks that have driven or owned 3 seaters. The most common complaint is getting in and out is difficult. I was coming into this with some really bad expectations but, I was super surprised, that it really wasn’t much worse than getting in and out of my 12C. The layout of the 004S is a bit different than most other 3 seaters (mainly the McLaren F1 and the McLaren Speedtail). First, the side seats are a little further back and more separated in the 004S. This does a really important thing. The space behind the driver is completely open and it lets the 2 rear passengers look and talk to one another while driving. This is really a big deal in making the car just more livable. Also, the space behind the drivers seat is so big, that SCG is planning on offering custom luggage and spot for at least one carry-on bag. And they will also offer custom luggage to place in the right seat area as well. So the car, oddly, will be very good for road trips and weekend luggage if you’re going out as just a couple.
The car comes with foot rests for the passengers. I kind of don’t like them as they make the car feel more cramped than necessary. However, in the final version of the car, the foot rests will be collapsable or you can opt to not have them at all. That is great because if you put your feet to the side of the foot rest, as a passenger, you have a crazy amount of leg room.
Without the foot rests, you can stretch your legs straight out. I imagine most passengers will prefer that to the foot rests. Moreover, there is so much room in the passenger foot well on the left side, you could easily put a duffle bag/backpack in that area without it interfering with the passenger. The right side seating is more limited because the manual gearbox is there (obviously if you get a CS with flappy paddle gear box, you’ll have an equal amount of space on the right side as well). Despite this, my girlfriend who is 5’4” had no problems sitting in that space.
My guess is people that are 5’10 and under will be just fine in the right seat as well. So it is a legit seat. Further, when they make the foot rest on the right side collapsable, there is enough room for someone to get their feet stretched out to the right of the gear box, so it will be a lot more comfortable there as well.
The drivers seat feels very open, is electronically adjustable and is very comfortable. Other lower and lighter seat options exist. And while not as comfortable as the drivers seat, the passenger seats were surprisingly comfortable. The passenger seats are basically built into the carbon tub and are not adjustable, however, they are well padded.
I’m pretty big guy, and was surprised a bit that it was in fact comfortable. That said, it’s a weird place to sit and takes a little getting used when contrasted with the open passenger area in the 12C. It’s both bigger and feels more restrained in someways than the passenger seat in the 12C. I could easily drive 12 hours in the 12C. It is by far the most comfortable car I’ve ever had. In someways it’s unfair to compare anything to it. But the driver’s seat in the SCG 004S felt just as comfortable, and your feet had better room, and obviously, the center seating position is even better and more perfect. The 12C passenger largely enjoys similar comfort (although there is a little less leg room in the 12C passenger seat than in the drivers seat).
So there is a very Ying/Yang feeling in the passenger seats of the 004S. On the one hand, particularly when your feet go beyond the foot rests, you clearly have way more space than any passenger seat would have in any car. It’s a crazy amount of space. On the other hand, your seat really doenst let you change positions, which can be pretty important if you want to go on a long road trip where you drive for greater than say 3 hours at a pop. Also, you have limited space to ’shuffle’ your body about. And, I’m 6’3” and and my head almost rubs the roof when I sit in the passenger seat, so I’m likely at the limit of who will fit in the left passenger seat, size wise. In contrast, the 12C has all this open space in front of you and a bit at the sides. When you are a passenger in the 004S you feel more cloistered. I’m a pretty broad shoulder guy, so I was thinking when the door would close, it would mash against my shoulder. It did not, but it comes close to touching. To the right, you have this very open area behind the drivers seat (when you’re sitting in the left passenger seat), and it makes things more comfortable as it can also act as an arm rest. Actually, it would be a great place for a cup holder and maybe some USB chargers and I’m hoping SCG does something like that in that area. Furthermore, you probably could toss a pillow in that area and lean into it a bit for a nap or something like that on a long trip.
But there is this strange sensation when you’re in the passenger seat, coming from the drivers seat. Part of the drivers seat kind of intrudes towards your face a bit, and if you focus on it, you feel a bit cramped psychologically, although you are not really. It’s really interesting “human packaging” and I think it is really psychological and something I think you would get used to after a while. And I have a little evidence to that effect. If I just turned my head to the left and looked outside the side window, I felt like I was in a much more open area, and you get a completely different feeling that way. Also, you can see the side view mirrors really well there, and it gives you more of this panoramic feel.
So could you take a passenger on a long road trip in this car? I think the answer is, yes. You probably wouldn’t want to drive 12 hours in it, but if you drive 3 hours, stop to get a meal, and drive say another 2 hours, I think you would be fine. And for my kind of road trip, that’s all I would probably do. The 3rd seat and room behind the drivers seat, and passenger footwells offer all kinds of space for luggage. Of course as a driver you would have no problem whatsoever, this is more a consideration for your passenger. Right now the big missing features for livability are the car needs cupholders, and places to hold and charge your cell phone. For the passengers, the rear central arm rest is a natural place for 2 cup holders and some phone chargers/holders.
For the driver, there seems to be a potential of something by the gearshift or maybe even a hanging ring from the dashboard.
Furthermore, from the best I can gauge, this is probably the most comfortable and usable 3 seater ever made. For example, the little McLaren F1 style windows that go up and down, they work well. I was surprised I could easily stick my hand out through that window, without needing to lean out, to get say, some Taco Bell.
Also, we had no difficulty talking/carrying on conversations in the cabin at normal speeds. I noticed that there was a “giant floor mat” and asked, could I just remove that and have a bare carbon fiber floor (which I think would look good and be easy to clean). I was told, you could just take that carpet mat off, it’s held by snaps, but that they have some custom foam under it to sound deaden in the cabin, and it apparently works pretty well.
I did not have a chance to test the speakers/radio, so I’m not sure how that sounds. Although SCG is still in the midst of testing and upgrading the audio system.
So first thing is the clutch is heavy. It is the heaviest clutch I’ve ever driven. I’ve been told they may adjust the foot pedal a little to deal with it, but it will still be a heavy clutch. Apparently it’s the same transmission used by Koiniggessegg. That’s probably a good thing because you want a 6-speed manual that will stand up to the 650HP power train. Also, I’m not sure if these are the final drive ratios but first and second gears felt a bit short and light. To be fair, the car was limited to 500HP, and I was too chicken to really wind those gears since there was no traction control on the car at the time. I didn’t want to wipe and kept things easy, so there is likely a lot more to wind out of 1st and 2nd. Third gear was ballistic, so is 4th, and I really did not have a chance to push it in 5th and 6th since we were in residential areas.
The steering was really good. Was it McLaren good. No. McLaren steering is crazy in the “resolution” you feel from the wheel. For example, I really can feel the edge of the tire when I turn the wheel in the 12C. I feel how that tire corner compresses and what kind of surface is pushing back, and what part of the tire is experiencing pressure. It’s a crazy amount of feedback. That said, keep in mind, this 004S is designed for a lot of downforce, so steering may feel better at higher speeds that I couldn’t hit in my test drive. Also, I was on tires that were not the best and had many heat cycles through them, and it’s also an early prototype, so things may improve. Moreover, I had 3 people in the car. All that said, steering feel was very good and driving position was really great. The central position is just so damn good, and the placement of the side mirrors at the 12 o’clock position of the front wheels just gave instant ‘feel’ to positioning the car. It was really spectacular to have that much confidence at positioning the car that stupid quickly.
Acceleration is a little difficult to gauge with my limited testing. With no traction control and being in a 1-of-1 prototype, I just was not going to wind this up. 3rd and 4th gear tell me there is a lot this car will be able to do, and that was with only 500HP on tap. There’s a good chance, because it’s a manual, you wont get the ballistic accelerations you can get with a dual clutch gearbox, which makes a lot of sense. Still, this car has it.
Shifting was generally fine. I have never driven a gated shifter before, so, unfortunately I cannot give a comparison. First gear I have almost no feel for because the clutch was so heavy, and there was no traction control, so I was super concentrating on just feeling out where the bite was so I would not launch it or stall the car too harshly. While the clutch is heavy, I do get the feeling I would get used to it in a few days. Outside of first gear, shifts were mindless and fine. There is one exception, the shift from 2nd to 3rd gear would catch on occasion. At first I thought they might just need to shave the gate a little bit to accommodate a more diagonal throw, but I was told this prototype had some loose wiring that got wrapped around inside the gearbox, and has since been fixed. Otherwise, the throws were fine. I couldn’t fully feel out the grab point on the clutch pedal. I just didn’t have enough time. But if you just “use the force” and dont use your brain, the throws were intuitive and mindless, which is a compliment in that it becomes something you do not need to think about.
The seating position, comfort, visibility, position of the switch gear (like turn signals) were all just bang on. I thought you couldn’t improve upon McLaren’s seating position, but this was a smidgen better overall. For example, in the 12C you sit pretty square straight on, however, the area where your left foot rests, the carbon fiber tub wall is right there and your left foot could use an extra inch or two space to stretch your foot out straighter at times. Also, visibility from the middle was really great and intuitive. I was cautious in the beginning worrying that I might drift too far one way or the other in the road, but placement came pretty quickly and naturally, at least to me. I suspect most others will similarly and readily adapt to the position.
The other thing I wish I could report more positively about is “lightness”. I did not get a feeling of it. Partly because we had 3 people in the car. But mostly where I usually feel “lightness” is when I press into the turns and/or brake hard off of some pace. I just did not have an opportunity to do it, so I did not get a huge sense for how “light” the car felt. It certainly didnt feel heavier than my 12C, while having 3 people in the car, which is an accomplishment in and of itself. However, in two spots I had some glimmers of it. On one part of the road, Nat hit the gas, the tail went out nice and smoothly, it seemed very progressive and easy in how it broke traction and then hooked up, which made me feel good about how the car felt. Then, on a few occasions when I gave some gas in 3rd and 4th, the car was so ballistic, at least as ballistic as the 12C, but that was with 3 people and the car being limited to 500HP. So that gave me some limited feel, of man, this car has a lot of instant “go”, and part of that is just simply due to lightness.
I did not have a chance to push the brakes in any way, so not much for me to say, other than they seemed fine at normal road speeds.
Lastly the suspension. This car did not have the adjustable magnetic ride suspension. However, it road great. Not too harsh at all. It was very comfortable and complaint, even in the passenger seats. So much so, I’m thinking I might not get the magnetic ride suspension as the standard suspension felt very supple and good. Again, this is just tootling around town, I’m not sure how good it will feel pressing it on a track until I have that opportunity. For those that plan to track a bit, I could see the magnetic ride being useful to stiffen up the ride a bit more.
So, with all the above, while the complete picture of the car is still evolving, it was enough for me to put a deposit down on the car. Jim Glickenhaus (and his son Jesse) and team are building a great and very special car company. I love that Jim seems to have started his company somewhat like Lamborghini did in spite of Ferrari arrogance. Wealth and spite seem to be two great motivators for making a great car company if Lamborghini is any evidence. I’m sure Jim has is own great reasons for starting the company. But there is the spark of something really great, open and different here. His process for letting owners partake in the development of the car is really revolutionary and radical and somewhat the opposite of every other supercar company. All these things that are still in flux, but as one of the buyers, you get to give feedback and provide some influence over the design of the car, and certainly of your own model.
Furthermore, there really is nothing to compete with this car. It is a mix of a Ferrari F40 with a McLaren F1 in the best of all ways. The closest competitor in many ways is the GMA T.50, which basically, by the time you pay US taxes, will cost around $4million dollars (and is long ago sold out). Of course, the GMA is better in some ways. It has an outrageous 12,000 RPM 12 cylinder engine. It weighs a mind bending 2,175lbs. On the other hand, everything about that car will cost a fortune to maintain relative to the SCG.
Which brings to mind one of the many different bits of philosophy held by SCG. If I want to go full Elvis on the SCG engine and shoot it, it will cost me $17,000 to replace the engine. If the GMA T.50 engine blows, you’re not going to have a good time. Also, the SCG engine is likely to run with less issues, for longer, and less cost and upkeep. Much of the SCG is designed like a race car in the best way. You bash your SCG’s fender, Jim is on record saying they will make you a replacement panel at cost. They designed the car so the parts pop off and can easily be replaced, like a race car. One thing that GMA is starting to understand, and that McLaren is not understanding, is, some of the ethos brought by the Acura NSX and how it revolutionized super cars to be “ever day” drivable cars.
While a lot of owners do not mind paying crazy amounts to get a super car, they don’t want it to be like dating a super model. Meaning it looks great, but it’s too high maintenance to deal with. Many owners do not want to deal with their car through kid gloves. They do not want to pay crazy amounts for parts and maintenance. They do not want maintenance and repair keeping their cars at the dealer for months where they feel they “share custody” of the car with the dealership. There is plenty of complexity in life, and a super car should be a pleasure, not another burden. And many super car makers seem to think you should be just happy to own the car, shut up, and bow to the demands of the car, rather than the car and the company striving to work around the life of its owners. Jim and SCG seem to get that ethos.
One example are upgrades. SCG has at least unofficially mentioned that the car will get upgraded over time and will make upgrades available to older owners at cost. One example of how some of this may work is how they deal with the break in. So the car is limited to 500HP for the first 650 miles. They are not offering (at least for now) over air upgrades. However, they say you can drive the car in and they will upgrade the car to 650HP at SCG, or, if you’re far away, they will send you a USB fob, you plug it in, it does the update, and you have your 650HP after break in. Other upgrades may take place similarly.
I like this method in some ways better than over the air upgrades, because there are some upgrades that maybe you do not want. With over the air upgrades, you sometimes will not have a choice, and the car will upgrade. The SCG USB upgrade puts control in the hands of the owners, but makes the process simple enough that mere mortals can do the upgrades themselves. It’s really kind of a revolution in how a company considers owners to be partners/clients rather than subjects.
To me, that’s just the kind of thinking the auto industry is desperately in need of, and so I put my money down.
Thoughts and comments? Please see the comments section below.
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