There are some interesting updates among a number of the Boutique Hypercar manufacturers since I last posted the A Few Thoughts, March 2022 article. Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus (SCG), Praga, Czinger, De Tomaso, Gordon Murray Automotive (GMA), and Delage have all been in the news.
Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus (SCG)
Following a similar philosophy to Ferrari in the early days, Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus is a racing team that both designs and builds their own race cars. SCG then adapts these race cars for the road and sells to customers to help fund its racing activities. In only its 2nd try, the SCG 007 finished on the podium at Le Mans this year in the top Hypercar class. To say this is an impressive achievement is a huge understatement. The works Hypercar team will return to the WEC and Le Mans in 2023. In the GT class, SCG has been fielding a SCG 004C for a couple of years now as well. Alongside the GT race car, SCG has developed two versions for the road, the base 004S (004S Test Drive Report) and the more track oriented 004CS.
In very exciting news, the SCG has now passed all of the US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS)crash tests and began production on the 1st customer SCG 004S with deliveries slated to start in early 2023. The 004S is the first modern car in history to pass all the mandated FMVSS crash tests without airbags, which speaks volumes in terms of the design, engineering, and quality of the carbon fiber tub. The production start up for a new manufacturer is a massive multistep undertaking that requires a huge amount of documentation. Unlike most major manufacturers which run the three main process; Part Release, Manufacturing Release, and Production in succession, SCG is running them in parallel to save time and drive efficiencies. The SCG 004S will be the first 3 seater, central driving position, fully homologated, supercar sold in the US market. We do have a SCG 004S on order (SCG 004S Anticipation) and have finalized the spec. This one will be a bit different from our other supercars and fitting of its racing heritage. We are expecting to take delivery this spring.
The Praga Bohema is the latest newcomer to join the increasingly crowded Hypercar market. Praga is a Czech brand that dates back to 1907, disappeared under Communism and was reconstructed in the late 1990s as a motorcycle manufacturer. In 2012 Praga re-entered the car business with the Praga R1 race car. Following an ownership change in 2015, a road version of the R1 race car was developed, the Praga R1R. Based on the positive reception to the Praga R1R, Praga decided to get into the hypercar business and started development of the Praga Bohema. While it appears to be quite similar to the R1 race car, the Bohema is based on an all new carbon fiber tub. The Bohema is powered by a Nissan supplied 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-6 producing 700 bhp. Dry weight is 2164 lbs which makes the McLaren Senna look quite tubby. Based on all the descriptions I have seen, the Bohema is far more race than road car with a tight cabin that requires a fair amount of flexibility to get into. In many ways it looks like a simpler version of the Valkyrie that actually works and won’t deafen you every time you drive it. Deliveries are expected to start in late 2023 and will be limited to 89 units at about $1.35 million each.
I did reach out to Praga for additional insights on the Bohema and was quite impressed with the response. They indicated that the Bohema took 5 years to develop. It is already road legal in the UK and EU approval is expected within the next 8-12 weeks. Any US imports will need to be done under “Show & Display”. Several press drives of the Bohema prototype have already taken place and depositors will get a chance to drive it in Dubai in Feb/March 2023. The common theme in the press reviews is praise for the Bohema’s huge amounts of grip, stability, and grunt. Of the 89 Bohema’s to be built, the 1st 10 are already allocated and they expect to have the full production run sold out by the time the first car is delivered. The first deposit is a reasonable $100k and unlike almost all other manufacturers, it is held in escrow. From a customer standpoint, the escrow policy is excellent and shows the financial stability of the company. I really like Praga’s approach and look forward to seeing how the company develops.
The 21C was unveiled back in early 2020, right before COVID shut the world down. In many ways, the 21C exists as a showcase for parent company Divergent’s complex additive manufacturing process (basically 3D printing) which allows for parts to be designed, combined, and tested digitally before the parts are “printed” and then assembled in the real world. The technology is impressive and Divergent just raised $100 mil. from the Swedish firm, Hexagon AB. I did reach out to Czinger on the new funding, and they did indicate that part of the funds are available for use in developing Czinger automobiles. Divergent also recently entered into an agreement to provide the subframe for Aston Martin’s latest limited edition DBR22. I would suggest Divergent take a look at Aston Martin’s Q3 Results before setting payment terms.
The list price on the 21C is $2 million, and the intended production run of 80 units is now set to begin in late 2023. The 21C comes in two configurations, the base 21C and the low aero 21C V Max which is set up for high speed runs with the rear wing and winglets removed. The 21C’s are powered by a Czinger developed 2.9-litre V8 which redlines at 11,000rpm and drives the rear wheels. Two additional electric motors power the front wheels for a total of 1,233bhp. Czinger has started to build out a dealership network and currently has 7 dealerships set up in the US and an additional 6 internationally. At this point the 21C has made plenty of public appearances and done multiple high speed demonstration runs. Czinger indicated that the homologation process is on track with crash testing going well (performing to target with great correlation) and on emissions they are running under the limits. Czinger has taken deposits for the majority of the 80 units but there are still a few build slots available. Putting aside the COVID era delay, the 21C does seem very much on track now.
Czinger has announced a 2nd model, the Hyper GT but has not started taking deposits on it.
De Tomaso made little to no noise in 2021 other than posting a couple of videos about their past, a few line drawings, and black and white pictures of a gearbox housing. This comes after 2020’s only significant develop being a rather arrogant statement that they were moving their operations to the US as “the time has come to restore the romance, beauty, passion, and elegance in the luxury American automotive industry.”
As the calendar flipped over into 2022, it turns out that De Tomaso will not be moving to the US, leaving the poor American automotive industry unrestored and romance starved. Instead, De Tomaso has entered into a partnership with the Nürburgring based Capricorn Group to now co-develop the P72. In the press release announcing the partnership, De Tomaso also stated that a new carbon fiber chassis and suspension would be developed vs. the one they had originally planned to use. To produce the P72, a new factory at the Nürburgring was to be constructed with a targeted competition date in the summer of 2022. So far, I have not been able to find any announcements on the factory being completed or a grand opening. The only evidence of any sort of production start was a YouTube video De Tomaso posted in November showing parts being bolted onto a P72 as it sits on a stand in what appears to be a fairly empty oversize garage. There is no voiceover on the video and no evidence that this is taking place in the new factory. What De Tomaso does seem to be good at is repainting the prototypes and put them on display at various events. To date there have been no reviews or test drive reports in any of the major automotive publications.
In early 2022, De Tomaso stated that customer deliveries were targeted to start in the first half of 2023. De Tomaso promised the P72 would be fully homologated, and I have not been able to find any evidence that that process has started. The early 2023 delivery timing now feels like it is somewhere between overly ambitious and downright delusional. Given the amazing progress on developing the P72 over the last 4 years, this De Tomaso has naturally announced a second model, the P900 of which 18 will eventually be built at a price of $3 million each. If Praga seems to have learned from Aston Martin’s foibles on the Valkyrie & Valhalla, De Tomaso seems to be embracing their philosophy.
Gordon Murray Automotive (GMA)
GMA continues to get everything right. The GMA T.50’s debut at the Goodwood Members’ Meeting this year was a smashing success and came off flawlessly. GMA followed that up with an impressive showing at the Goodwood Festival of Speed before its US debut in Monterey in August. GMA has been quite transparent on the development progress and is quite active on social media. Having the great Dario Franchitti narrate a series of T.50 Vlogs on the development progress is a stroke of brilliance. It appears now that both hot weather and winter testing have been completed. While the T.50s fan still feels a bit gimmicky, the rest of the T.50 on paper is pure brilliance. A high revving V12, manual gearbox, central driving position, and carbon fiber tub is as good as it gets. There have been a steady stream of customers posting on social media about the spec’ing process. First deliveries are now set for early 2023 which is a slight delay from the original 2022 target. From what I have heard, the slight delay is due to Gordon Murray being a perfectionist. Not a bad thing from a customers standpoint.
The second model, the T.33, sold out instantly and also seems to be on track. GMA is in the process of building a new Headquarters and Production facility in the UK with phase 1 completed in October. The T.50 will be built at GMA’s current location with the T.33 and future models to be produced at the new site.
The winner in the interesting timing category has to be the latest iteration of the French manufacturer Delage. After 70 years of being comatose, the new owners decided August 2020, during the heart of COVID, was a good time to resurrect the brand and announce a new $2 million V12 hypercar. In April 2022, the first running prototype made its appearance on track and the D12 was displayed at a number of events over the balance of the year. Power is supplied by a V12 and two electric motors producing a combined 1,100 bhp. The D12 is a tandem seater with the passenger seat mounted right behind the driver’s seat. If you are looking to get rid of your partner, a few days road trip in a D12 should do the trick as I can’t imagine it is even remotely comfortable. Of the 30 cars Delage is hoping to sell, 9 are slated for the US market under “Show & Display” with deposits down on 7 of the 9 so far. How many deposits have been taken on the other 20 is unknown but it does appear build slots are still available.
This is one hypercar where I don’t see how the math adds up. 30 cars at $2 mil. a car is $60 mil. in sales. The development and build costs alone will likely eat up most of the optimistically projected revenue.
2022 has been a year of great progress for almost all the Boutique Hypercar manufacturers. I expect we will see deliveries for at least 4 out of the 5 reviewed here by the end of 2023. Of the companies, the ones that really seem to be thriving are run by highly successful businessmen with extensive backgrounds in racing, deep connections in the industry, & decades of experience in the supercar arena. If you are in the market for a hypercar, there has never been a time where you had more choice. The downside to this is a considerable risk that the market is now over saturated especially when you include the recent launches from Aston Martin, Ferrari, Koenigsegg, McLaren, and Pagani. It’s now a highly competitive field and not all will survive.
Thoughts and comments? Please see the comments section below.
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Always interesting SSO, a nice Christmas present, thank you.
I too love the Praga. I’m curious about the price though. The R1R was based on the race car and was much cheaper with a space frame chassis IIRC. It didn’t obviously suffer from flex or weight issues.
The Bohemia apart from the tub isn’t that exotic (Nissan V6 albeit Litchfield tuned, Hewlands box etc) so I wonder why they didn’t pitch it at the Senna price point as the (latest) ultimate drive-to-track trackday car, which is really what if is and go for higher volume? I think there is a (small) market for keen drivers who find a Pista or a GT3 a bit too compromised but who are not ready or able to step up to full on racing. There’s zero justification for a hyper car on road other than as a moving art object, yet track cars are either too heavy (GT3 etc) or too basic (Radicals etc). At £1.3M they’re competing with some quite ‘exotic’ marques.
That being said I’d buy one over a Valkyrie, for anything other than a professional racing driver this has way more performance than you could exploit.
From what I understand and read about the T.50 fan is that it helps adjust and makes the aerodynamics work more effectively for a smaller diffuser than was installed in the Valkyrie. Plus, it’s got a filter to prevent anything from passing through and damaging anything following!
Hopefully that alone will make it better than the Valkyrie, better for everybody but Autoglass!
Even now I’m surprised just how few videos there are of the Valkyrie, and I’ve not come across any from the owners driving them in anger and showing how all the different driving modes work. Nothing from reviewers like Eve or Autocar. I’ve seen videos of other cars, but very quiet on the Aston front.
GMA will be a success because with the reputation Gordon Murray has with the McLaren F1 he’ll be able to sell anything he builds. And that rubbed off with the Valkyrie because of the Adrian Newey connection. What’s interesting is that Red Bull have during the year announced that they’re going to build their own hypercar. The only sketch I seen, which may not have been from Red Bull themselves, looked very much like the Valkyrie! Likewise it will be a sell-out because of Newey, because of that F1 connection. Regardless if it’s any good as a road car.
How the others will fair is a different question. Those still struggling with a long gestation period I suspect will continue to struggle if not disappear completely. TVR is one that keeps making noises in the UK and so far has done absolutely nothing, even though I believe it will use the GMA I-Stream process.
Although you did miss one of the biggest and newest boutique car manufacturers: Jaguar. With the decimation that the world’s worst automotive CEO, Thierry Bollore, has done to the company, it’s definitely a candidate for this sector. He’s wanting to convert the company to compete with Bentley. I’d guess that means they’ve got to scale down by over 95%. He helped this by refusing to build practically any Jaguars this year and blaming the semiconductor shortage. Other marques have negotiated this problem far better by comparison. Certainly, no other has almost been killed off as Bollore has done to Jaguar.