Bov­ing­don loves reimag­in­ing; Keen loves drag rac­ing; Mor­ley loves risk...

Motor (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

“THERE ARE PLENTY OF MORE AF­FORD­ABLE CARS THAT WOULD BEN­E­FIT FROM REIMAG­IN­ING”

AS I WRITE THIS, the mo­tor­ing world is abuzz with news of a ‘reimag­ined’ Lan­cia Delta In­te­grale. Called the Lan­cia Delta Fu­tur­ista, it’s the brain­child of en­thu­si­ast Eu­ge­nio Amos and will be built by Au­to­mo­bili Amos in Italy. Amos is un­doubt­edly a man of good taste; he owns a re­stored F40 fin­ished in a gor­geous dark green called Verde Abe­tone, a match­ing GT2 RS, and some proper odd­i­ties like a MercedesBenz CLK GTR. Oh, and a road-go­ing Delta S4.

The Fu­tur­ista adds wider hand-beaten alu­minium and car­bon-fi­bre body pan­els to a donor In­te­grale 16V to cre­ate a three-door shell. The in­te­rior, en­gine and four-wheel drive sys­tem are trans­formed too. Think of it as a Singer-style in­ter­pre­ta­tion of an In­te­grale.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Com­pact, light and sim­ple, us­ing mod­ern ma­te­ri­als and a gor­geous S4-style in­te­rior drip­ping in Al­can­tara, the Fu­tur­ista high­lights the fact that man­u­fac­tur­ers are fail­ing to ex­cite the imag­i­na­tion of car en­thu­si­asts, with an end­less stream of SUVs and ever faster, grip­pier but less us­able su­per­cars.

Mer­cedes-Benz summed it up just 24 hours after the un­veil of the Fu­tur­ista by launch­ing the new EQC. Its first full EV is a 2.5-tonne SUV with all the de­sign flair of a park bench. If this is the fu­ture of pas­sen­ger cars it’s no won­der so many are look­ing to the re­cent past for ex­cite­ment.

Now that we’ve seen ‘reimag­in­ing’ spread from Porsche to Lan­cia, where could it go next? I think Au­to­mo­bili Amos has pretty much cho­sen the per­fect car: rare, but not so scarce that mess­ing around with a small run of cars means de­plet­ing the pool of orig­i­nal cars too se­verely; al­ready iconic, so find­ing a cus­tomer base should be easy; and with an en­gine and chas­sis that could eas­ily de­liver and har­ness more power.

You could make a sim­i­lar ar­gu­ment for, say, an E 30 M 3. Lose 150 kg with even more ex­treme com­pos­ite body­work, get that S14 revving to 9000rpm, add DTM-style car­bon-fi­bre wheels and a beau­ti­fully crafted in­te­rior, and you’d be onto a win­ner. It might even suit a mod­ern du­al­clutch ’box for real track fo­cus. But that all seems a bit ob­vi­ous.

What else? How about the new NSX? As it stands, it’s too weight com­pro­mised by its com­pli­cated hy­brid driv­e­train, but an orig­i­nal NSX with the 3.5-litre, 370kW JGTC en­gine, NSX-R sus­pen­sion, car­bon ce­ramic brakes, car­bon-fi­bre pan­els, seats, wheels and the sim­ple, stripped-back am­bi­ence of an NSX-R? Sign me up.

I’d be happy with a Sky­line GT-R in­spired by the one-off LM too. There are plenty of more af­ford­able cars that would ben­e­fit from reimag­in­ing, but the eco­nom­ics of tear­ing down, restyling and up­grad­ing a car with ex­otic ma­te­ri­als make it a dead-end fan­tasy. The Fu­tur­ista is $430,000 plus a donor car, plus lo­cal taxes.

With that in mind, my fi­nal nom­i­na­tion is the bril­liant Lo­tus Carl­ton. I want one with a body shell made from bare, per­fectly weave-matched car­bon fi­bre in­fused with Im­pe­rial Green. I want 19-inch wheels built in ex­actly the same style as the orig­i­nal 17s but in mag­ne­sium with Miche­lin Cup 2s. I’d have ce­ramic brakes from a GT2 RS, mo­tor­sport dampers set up for fast road use, quicker steer­ing and a 250kg weight re­duc­tion. Un­der the bon­net, a nice 450kW. The in­te­rior would be el­e­gantly ex­e­cuted with two Re­caro Pole Po­si­tions up front and two in the rear, all trimmed in lux­u­ri­ous cho­co­late brown leather. There’d be a Pa­gani-like at­ten­tion to de­tail. Let’s call it the Lo­tus Carl­ton Sport 600.

Got any bet­ter ideas? Email us – mo­[email protected]­dia.com.au.

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