For some brands, the EV craze has turned into a weird, pink acid trip. There’s no reason Renault couldn’t have sold a car that looked like what was to come Renault 5EV with an internal combustion engine, or Hyundai couldn’t have made a gas-powered one Ioniq 5 years ago. But apparently automakers have suddenly realized that nostalgia is the easiest way to sell something new and unfamiliar, even if the nostalgia doing all the heavy lifting isn’t their own.
It’s that last point that really sticks in my mind as I flip through the renderings of the Vanwall Vandervell: an electric five-door that couldn’t be more of a Lancia Delta Integrale sendup if it tried, fielded by a German endurance racing team the may or may not own the rights to a long-dead British Formula 1 designer. (You see, “Vandervell” was the last name of Vanwall’s founder, Tony Vandervell, making this species their species enzo.) The EV that bears his name is expected to cost around $138,000, with just 500 units slated to be built by the third quarter of this year.
I’m not going to deny that the Vandervell looks good, but let’s face it – you can’t Not with those Giugiaro-aping, two-box proportions. Plus, the sharp exterior doesn’t change the fact that Vanwall’s decision to build an electric hot hatch inspired by an Italian four-wheel-drive rally icon makes about as much sense as Polestar’s next car makes a declaration of love him is the Nissan Silvia. Neat I think, but why?
As far as specs go, Vanwall — or ByKolles, if we’re considering it who actually made the announcement – claims the base model will offer 315 hp, hit 62 MPH from standstill in 4.9 seconds, get out at 114 mph and last 279 miles on a full charge, per car car. That’s not particularly lively, at least compared to other high-performance EVs. For that, there’s the Vandervell S, which has 572 horsepower, a 0-62 MPH sprint in 3.4 seconds, a top speed of 144 MPH and a 260-mile lifespan. We don’t yet know how much that will cost.
We also don’t know how much the Vandervell will weigh despite being described as ‘lightweight’, nor what the interior will look like despite being said to have ‘superb ergonomics’. â€ Also leather and visible carbon. What a time to be alive.
External representations are all we have at the moment. Vanwall certainly isn’t the first new (or newborn) car company to lead the way with video game models, but given that the Vandervells are only six to nine months away, pictures of a real car would lend valuable credibility. ByKolles also plans to build and sell a roadworthy version of its Le Mans hypercar, which is gearing up for its first bid for the World Endurance Championship when the 2023 season kicks off with the 12 Hours of Sebring in March.