New York - Supercars are famed for their exclusivity, but they don’t get much rarer than the 800-horsepower SCG 0003S being shown off by American Ferrari collector Jim Glickenhaus at the Geneva car show this year. Only 10 will be built.
The 66-year-old is one of a new breed of automotive entrepreneurs to take advantage of advances in software and computing power to start his own car brand, using virtual engineering and testing techniques.
And he is addressing a growing market, with members of the super-rich from industrialists and financiers to rock stars increasingly looking for customised designs that give their cars the ultimate individual touch.
“Software allows me to indulge in ideas, like the shape of the headlight, or an air conditioning vent. In the past the manufacturing costs of making just one or two components would have been prohibitive,” Glickenhaus said, pointing to the front of his white carbon-fibre car on display in Hall 1 of Geneva’s exhibition centre.
His company, Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus, works with Maniffatura Automobili Torino (MAT), a boutique engineering and design company set up in 2013 to design, develop and manufacture one-off racing and luxury cars.
“Some of the race cars today, they look like robots. I wondered if you could make a car which was aerodynamic and beautiful. So we built this,” Glickenhaus said.
MAT has its stand next to other boutique car design companies including Pininfarina, Touring Superleggera and David Brown Automotive in what amounts to a renaissance for so-called custom coachbuilding, spurred by software and new manufacturing techniques.
The SCG 0003S was made for Glickenhaus to race, but customers who want one of the few being built can get it for $1.8million (R23.44m). “I’m not making a profit on the cars, but the money helps fund the evolution of the next version,” Glickenhaus explained.
Using a fortune amassed from running the family Wall Street firm, he worked with Paolo Garella, the chief executive of MAT, to build his car from scratch.
The tailor-made car industry took off in 2006 after Pininfarina built a one-off Ferrari, the P4/5, for Glickenhaus. Garella worked at Pininfarina at the time, before starting up MAT.