$529,000 For A South African Fake-ish Shelby Full Of Batteries?

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth

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.

Jack Baruth
Jack Baruth

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  • Mnm4ever Mnm4ever on Aug 16, 2014

    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.

  • Dr. Kenneth Noisewater Dr. Kenneth Noisewater on Aug 17, 2014

    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.

  • Wjtinfwb Funny. When EV's were bursting onto the scene; Tesla's, Volt's, Leaf's pure EV was all the rage and Hybrids were derided because they still used a gas engine to make them, ahem; usable. Even Volt's were later derided when it was revealed that the Volt's gas engine was actually connected to the wheels, not just a generator. Now, Hybrids are warmly welcomed into the Electric fraternity by virtue of being "electrified". If a change in definition is what it takes, I'm all for it. Hybrid's make so much sense in most American's usage patterns and if needed you can drive one cross-country essentially non-stop. Glad to see Hybrid's getting the love.
  • 3-On-The-Tree We also had a 1973 IH Scout that we rebuilt the engine in and it had dual glass packs, real loud. I miss those days.
  • 3-On-The-Tree Jeff thanks. Back in 1990 we had a 1964 Dodge D100 with a slant six with a 3 on the tree. I taught myself how to drive a standard in that truck. It was my one of many journeys into Mopar land. Had a 1973 Plymouth duster with a slant six and a 1974 Dodge Dart Custom with 318 V8. Great cars and easy to work on.
  • Akear What is GM good at?You led Mary............................................What a disgrace!
  • Randy in rocklin I have a 87 bot new with 200k miles and 3 head gasket jobs and bot another 87 turbo 5 speed with 70k miles and new head gaskets. They cost around 4k to do these days.