If you had your boots on the ground at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit this month, you would’ve passed a lonely car parked behind a barricade and hidden under a tarp right around the Lexus and Scion exhibits.
It waited below the shield-shaped logo of VLF Automotive – an American boutique supercar maker based out of the Detroit suburbs. Those initials come from the automotive giants behind the company — former General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, entrepreneur Gilbert Villarreal and automotive designer Henrik Fisker. Yes, that Fisker.
Originally born as VL with Villarreal and Lutz, the company wanted to take on Fisker’s artistic aesthetic from the hybrid car that carried his name. They’d get rid of all that electrical nonsense and drop in a pure, blessed, fossil fuel, 200 mph+, V8 powerhouse from a Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. The result would be a very limited edition, bespoke, ultra performance luxury car.
But, why look to take on just Fisker’s design when you can work with the man himself. With Fisker onboard, work began on a new supercar — the very machine under that tarp.
When the veil was pulled away at NAIAS 2016, the world got its first look at the VLF Force 1 V10. A rocketing symphony in silver, the Force 1 V10 in Detroit uses an all carbon fiber body set above 21-inch wheels wearing Pirelli tires stopped by Brembo racing quality brakes.
In keeping with the original concept of a Fisker crossbred with a Corvette, the Force 1 V10 rages under the power of a massive 745 horsepower, 8.4 liter v10 engine. At full tap, the Force 1 will hit 60 mph in three seconds flat and top out at 218 mph. A look at the car’s front end reveals the six air intakes that blazing power plant requires — in addition to the low-hanging, but aggressive grill that greets the world.
If you have $268,500 burning a hole in your pocket, you can order your Force 1 V10 with a six speed automatic transmission. But, if you do that, I hope Dante saved a ring of hell just for you because you can get this car with a six speed manual — and the thought of driving this beautiful monster with a stick on the floor is absolutely sticky filthy.
Behind that sweeping expanse of hood, the interior of Force 1 V10 is composed of top class materials and assembled by hand — as a bespoke automobile must be. Every inch of the leather is hand-stitched, with Alcantara Suede (which exists, apparently) filling in the gaps.
Of course, the car features power everything, a full infotainment system and some unique features — like a champagne holder. (I think it’s a safe bet the folks at VLF aren’t encouraging the consumption of Champagne while driving, but it’s good to know you have a chilled bottle of Dom ready to go upon arrival.)
Since the car was new to the world as it debuted in Detroit, the main buzz about the Force 1 was that external styling. While the car features an original design, there are echoes of other beloved high performance cars emanating from this VLF offering.
Looking down the Force 1’s barrel, you might catch a glimpse of a Mercedes-Benz SLS. From the rear haunches, there’s a little bit of an Aston Martin or an F-Type Jag teasing the eye. When take in the length of the hood needed to house that titanic engine, there’s some Dodge Viper there.
None of those touches are negatives as the Force 1 steals nothing from any of these cars. Those are just nice reference points by way of comparison. One thing is certain: With the exception of maybe the Gumpert, there are few supercars on Earth with as many little flourishes from air intakes to door grooves to hidden lights.
Taking orders this year, VLF is delivering a car that looks like the futuristic flying machines we were all supposed to be driving by now. And, for all intents and purposes, this will indeed be a flying car. It’s just that the four wheels aren’t really supposed to leave the ground. Your experience may vary.
As always, you can enjoy some additional takes on this four-wheeled bullet in the gallery below.