Rare Rides: A 2017 Gillet Vertigo - The Best a Man Can Get?

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides a 2017 gillet vertigo the best a man can get

In what may be a Rare Rides first, today’s featured coupe is sporty, aggressive, and completely off the map. Don’t bother searching TTAC for Gillet, because there are zero results. Let’s learn a bit more about whatever this is, as it’s surely very good.

Not to be confused with the razor blade company, this Gillet was the creation of a Belgian company founded by retired race car driver Tony Gillet. Since 1992, Gillet has built hand-made cars using carbon fiber construction.

Mr. Gillet got his start doing things like hill-climb events and the Paris Dakar rally. In the early Eighties he branched out into automobile importation, becoming the official Belgian importer for Donkervoort. Based in the Netherlands, Donkervoort has produced hand-built lightweight sports cars in the style of Caterham since 1978. But that’s another Rare Rides; today we’ve got Vertigo.

The first Vertigo was a cross between the Donkervoort and a Caterham, and Gillet had it in prototype form in early 1992. Finalized in its design thereafter, a production version was shown around the glitzy Euro car show circuit in 1993. The first production car was built in 1993 or 1994 and was used for crash testing and certification.

The Vertigo also went racing between 1998 and 2008, though it’s unclear exactly how many original Vertigo racing and passenger examples exist.

Along the way, the Vertigo added power. Initially it used a Ford Cosworth 2.0-liter mill, but switched after a few years to a 3.0L Alfa Romeo V6. A revised Vertigo .5 (and a half?) debuted at the Brussels auto show in 2008, bringing us to the current version.

With a considerably less Caterham-like exterior, the modern Vertigo features a lightweight carbon fiber body and an Alfa Romeo V6. When it started life, said engine was a 3.6-liter, but was reworked by the engineers at Gillet to 3.9 liters in displacement. The transmission is manual, and the interior errs on the workshop side of basic. The front is very long; the rear deck very short.

Gillet still exists today, and has a current website and a factory location. Take this one to your local voiture et café for $209,000.

[Images: seller]

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  • Dal20402 Dal20402 on Oct 29, 2019

    I'm sure it sounds great with that Alfa V6. As a bonus, if it drives away to show off the sound, I won't have to look at it.

  • PeriSoft PeriSoft on Oct 29, 2019

    I produce electronic music. Sometimes you'll work on a track and keep working and working and reworking, and you start out with good ideas, but you get ear-blind and just expand and extend and distort them without realizing it. So you end up with something that you think is just amazing, because it took these basically good ideas but you've gotten used to this gradual but huge extension and distortion of them until it's totally unlistenable to anyone else. I feel like something similar may have happened here.

    • See 1 previous
    • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Oct 30, 2019

      ... tests the idea of applying PeriSoft's comment to SUV's ...

  • Jim Bonham Full EVs are not for everyone, they cannot meet all needs. Hybrids do a much better job of providing the benefits of EVs without most of the drawbacks. I have a hybrid sedan with plenty of room, plus all the bells and whistles. It has 360 hp, AWD, does 0-60 in just over 5 sec.(the instant torque is a real benefit), and I get 29 mpg, average. NOT driven lightly. I bought it used for $25k.Sure, it's a little heavier because of the battery, motor, etc., but not nearly as much as a full EV. The battery is smaller/lighter/cheaper and both the alternator and starter motor are eliminated since the motor assumes those functions. It's cool to watch the charge guage show I'm getting energy back when coasting and/or braking. It's even cooler to drive around part of the time on battery only. It really comes in handy in traffic since the engine turns off and you don't waste fuel idling. With the adaptive cruise control you just let the car slowly inch along by itself.I only wish it were a Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV). Then, I'd have A LOT more EV-only range, along with even more of that instant torque. The battery would be bigger, but still a fraction of the size of a full EV. I could easily go weeks without using much, if any gas (depending upon my commute) IF I plug it in every night. But I don't have to. The gas engine will charge the battery whenever it's needed.It's just not as efficient a way to do it.Electric companies offer special rates for both EVs and PHEVs which lower your operating cost compared to gasoline. They'll even give you a rebate to offset the cost of installing a home charger. You can still get federal (up to $7,500, plus some state) tax credits for PHEVs.What's not to like? My next daily driver will be a PHEV of some kind. Probably a performance-oriented one like the new Dodge Hornet or one of the German Hybrid SUVs. All the benefits, sound, feel, etc., of a gas vehicle along with some electric assist to improve fuel economy, performance, and drivability. None of the inherent EV issues of cost, range anxiety, long charging times, poor charger availability, grid capacity issues, etc. I think most people will eventually catch on to this and go PHEV instead of going full EV. Synthetic, carbon-neutral eFuels, hydrogen engines, and other things will also prevent full EVs from being 100% of the fleet, regardless of what the politicians say. PHEVs can be as "clean" (overall) as full EVs with the right fuels. They're also cheaper, and far more practical, for most people. They can do it all, EVs can't.
  • Ron rufo there is in WaSHINGTON STATE
  • ToolGuy @Chris, your photography rocks.
  • ToolGuy No War for Oli.If you have not ever held a piece of structural honeycomb (composite sandwich) in your own hands, try it.
  • ToolGuy You make them sound like criminals.
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