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.
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.
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