Every once in a while, you come across a story that just perfectly encompasses everything that’s weird and wacky about the wannabe supercar business. The Renovo Coupe is just such a story.
You can read Renovo’s publicity materials here but insofar as I’m filling in for Derek today and I’m also a former customer of the people who built the Renovo, I thought I’d take a minute to discuss the reality of the vehicle as opposed to the splendid PR work that’s being done on it.
The “Shelby” CSX9000 that forms the basis of the Renovo is built by Superformance in South Africa. What makes it a “Shelby” at all? Well, shortly before his death Carroll Shelby got tired of suing Superformance so he made a deal with them to use his name. Don’t for a minute think that this is anything other than a “fake snake” with some authentic licensing troweled on. It’s as if Rolex got sick of fighting the Fraudemars Piguet people and just decided — hey, you pay me and you can use the name.
The last time I spoke out in public about my personal experience with Superformance ownership, I received a bunch of threatening calls from their US distributor of the time reminding me that they could afford to sue me more often than I could afford to defend myself. So I’ll hold off on telling you what happened when I took the Superformance that I bought brand-new and had assembled by the US distributor to the racetrack. Suffice it to say that I’d never buy one again at any price including free.
To this less-than-legendary platform, Renovo adds a battery and motor package that is supposed to be twice as powerful as the Tesla Model S and reportedly offers a thousand pound-feet of torque. The price is $529,000.
There’s no sense in piling on the Renovo folks, who from the press material are very nice people. It’s entirely possible that the combination of fake Cobra and batteries will be wildly successful. It’s also entirely possible that the so-called “Kaiju” will start coming out of the Marianas Trench like they did in the movie Pacific Rim.
In the meantime, if you want to see the thing, it’s at Pebble Beach.