Show plan gathers speed
Timing is critical if this car is to hit the show circuit, writes PAUL GOVER
THE home-made hero of the Melbourne Motor Show is being groomed for international stardom. The FR-1 concept car could be going to Europe and the US after a solid reception at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre.
It’s being groomed for the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany, the biggest event of the European motoring year, then the huge SEMA aftermarket show in Las Vegas.
But it has already found plenty of backers at home.
‘‘I have had people wanting to give me a deposit so they can buy a car,’’ the man who heads the FR-1 project, Brian Tanti, says.
‘‘They are surprised we only want to build one. They wonder why we’re not going into production.
‘‘So I haven’t taken any money, but people are keen. They are also supportive when they hear what we’re doing with the car and that it’s being used as a fundraiser for charity.’’
The 21st-century roadster — with an advanced composite chassis, E85 Holden V8 engine and hand-beaten aluminium body — is a showcase for the skills of people in the motor industry. It has been designed, engineered and built by youngsters from the industry using a base at the Automotive Centre of Excellence in Melbourne.
The plan for the international tour by the FR-1 was hatched by Tanti and his team and they hope to get backing from the Victorian Government to make it happen.
‘‘At this stage I think the chance of it going is reasonably good. It’s not confirmed but we have had interest from the automotive division of Victoria’s Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development,’’ Tanti says.
‘‘We’re not sure if they will have the money for Frankfurt and SEMA, but we’re hopeful. We’re working through a budget and we have support from the Victorian Centre for Advanced Materials Manufacturing.’’
Tanti is keen to take the display from Melbourne, including a bare aluminium body and rolling chassis, but is not sure how the plan will develop because the FR-1 team also hopes to have a driveable prototype by August.
‘‘We wouldn’t want to take a finished car because we want people to see what’s inside. And a painted body would not show the work in the aluminium,’’ Tanti says.
To get from Australia to Frankfurt, the display would need to leave about July 27.
‘‘To get from Frankfurt (to SEMA) would be tight, but we could do it with sea freight, then drive it cross-country from Los Angeles,’’ Tanti says.
the FR-1 team is hopeful of making it to Frankfurt.