By on August 15, 2014

electricobra

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.

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20 Comments on “$529,000 For A South African Fake-ish Shelby Full Of Batteries?...”


  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    How do they pass safety regs with this thing?

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      After one of the wheels falls off it is considered a motorcycle.

      In all seriousness with conventional IC cars the trick is to import the chassis/body and engine separately, and then have the engine installed in the US. It is then a home built car that is generally free of federal regulations. I’m not sure how all of this works with motors instead of engines.

  • avatar
    TwoTone Loser

    I want to get a kit of this Cobra bodystyle, not the proper Cobra,but this thing.

    Under the hood? The best engine ever made.

    The Iron Duke.

    All kinds of fun at car shows.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      The Iron Duke has powered many replica Ferraris and Lamborghinis, no reason it can’t power a Shelby Coupe replica.

      • 0 avatar
        TwoTone Loser

        I’m talking about painstakingly handcrafted, can’t tell the difference replica that people familiar with the cars would not be able to see any difference. Looks perfect, and you shuffle to the open hood at Pebble Beach where in the mostly empty engine bay sits a completely stock IV tech(air cleaner sticker proudly displaying this)

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Blasphemy of the worst sort! The Daytona coupe was mostly powered by the dainty version of Henry’s pushrod V8 and so it should remain ( probably cheaper to build than the iron duke to boot when you start looking into after market parts despite twice the cylinder count)

        Also Factory Five makes one as well called the Type 65.

        Jack, how do you feel about there stuff? I had a buddy build the Cobra version and he loved the chassis but was a bit disappointed by the body.

        • 0 avatar
          TwoTone Loser

          2.5 Liters, Eight Valves, 90 horsepower! Why on earth would I want to upgrade any part of that?

          Still, it would probably be faster than my Custom Cruiser with the laziest 305 I have ever sat behind.

          • 0 avatar
            raph

            The mellifluous sound of a well cammed 5.0 feeding into a set of equal length long tubes and side pipes would be reason enough.

            Besides the rocker panels have coves for the exhaust if it’s a proper reproduction.

            Also a period correct IR manifold and carbs/injection is another reason to run that eight.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Iron Duke seriously contends with Hellcat for the best moniker for an engine.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        @davefromcalgary, the Iron Duke shrugged off abuse in roughly the same manner of the Leaning Tower of Power (slant 6). Trying to kill an Iron Duke was like trying to shoot John Wayne (the Duke) in one of his own movies.

        • 0 avatar
          TwoTone Loser

          “Listen pal, We’ll get up this hill when I’m damn good and ready, and don’t ever ask me to hurry up. Don’t ever ask me, Long as you live, don’t ever ask me more.”

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    Anytime some kind of kit car thing comes up I have to mention Factory 5. If I even try to build one, or buy a pre-owned already built one, I’m going with them.

    https://www.factoryfive.com/

    I bet an enterprising person could put an electric motor and batteries in a 65 Coupe for significantly less than over half a million.

    • 0 avatar

      I laugh at your Factory Five, and link you to The Ultima Can-AM http://www.ultimasports.co.uk/Content.aspx?f=canamintro (and Robert Farago’s review of it on this site as well http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2002/05/ultima-can-am/ )

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Jeez, how much is an Ultima GTR these days? The Factory Five cars can be hard for less than 20k in base kit form and the Type 65 (Daytona Coupe) is 21k in complete form and fully optioned out probably around 25k

        Ultima just says “email me bro” which I suspect is another way of saying “If you have to ask you cant afford it”

        Not that I wouldn’t mind having an Ultima GTR with a sweet Hartley… err Bolt V8 (they have a 2.0 V8 that can be boosted for 600 horsepower)

        http://www.h1v8.com/page/page/1562068.htm

        • 0 avatar
          mnm4ever

          @Raph +1

          Anything over $20k or so for a replica or a kit doesn’t make sense to me. Once you hit $30k you can buy some pretty nice “real” cars so why bother with a fake anything?

          The Factory 5 replicas seem like a screaming value in that price range. If I were to build a replica, I would go with one of them, or perhaps one of the 356 coupe replicas you can get for around the same price range.

          • 0 avatar
            FormerFF

            I’m particularly enamored of the 818. It looks like it would make a wonderful track day car. Plus, it’s not a replica.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    I’d love to buy a matte black Lenovo Thinkmobile with little green status lights on the dashboard.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    The obvious answer to what should be powering a repli-cobra is… Coyote.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    I love the idea of an electric drivetrain conversion in a replica or just an older car. There is an electric 1970s 911 making the rounds on eBay, if it weren’t painted 70s gold/beige I think it would have sold by now. EV West makes conversion kits for Porsches, VWs, Rangers, kit cars, even my MR2 Spyder, which I think would make for a perfect budget electric car. The only problem is once you option up the $7k kit with batteries and a stronger motor you are in for all of $10k or so. But hey, way less than $529k right? If my MR2 engine ever gives up the ghost I would seriously consider converting it to electric.

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    For slightly more $$ you could get a SLS AMG electric with 4 motors, torque vectoring, etc.,

    Still, I wonder if they’re using uprated Axiflux motors. They should have 4 of them, which, with torque vectoring and traction control accelerometers/gyros, would offer lots of opportunities for tweaking ride control.


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