MARK VAUGHN

Henrik Fisker readies 2 cars for Detroit auto show

Mark Vaughn has been a journalist at Autoweek, an affiliate of Automotive News, since 1989.

Designer Henrik Fisker, he of the Aston Martin DB9, BMW Z8 and his very own Fisker Karma, will introduce two new cars at the Detroit auto show.

He is only talking about one of them, though, and it looks like it’ll be a doozy -- The Force 1 (yes, he capitalizes the “The”).

But when we say talking, it’s more like hinting. As you can gather from the design drawing here, the car will be a two-seat sports car/super car.

Fisker says it will be based on an existing front/mid-engine rear-drive American car, but he would not say which front/mid-engine rear-drive American car. If we had to guess, we’d guess Corvette.

“This high-performance automobile is an American take on a super sports car featuring powerful, dramatic sculptural exterior styling, Ultra Thin Ventilated (UTV) laser blade tail lamps and a luxurious contemporary interior for two people,” Fisker says in a statement. “The body on the limited edition auto is all carbon fiber sitting on 21" wheels with high performance Pirelli P Zero tires, controlled by a unique new active suspension.”

Clearly, Fisker is a designer because who else but a designer would point out the taillights and the 21-inch wheels before saying anything about the drivetrain? He did clarify that the drivetrain would have a powerplant that would be “…amongst the world’s highest output natural(ly) aspirated engine(s) in a road car, driven by the rear wheels either by a six-speed manual or optional paddle shift auto box.”

Pricing would be between $200,000 and $300,000 when the car starts its production run of "up to" 50 units, all built in Michigan.

So he’s putting a carbon fiber body of his own design on what, a Corvette? Maybe it’s those guys putting the Corvette engines into Fisker Karmas? He wouldn’t say. If you can think of any other possibilities, e-mail them to us.

Fisker did say that the suspension was designed by “…an acclaimed American race car driver.”

“I met and talked with an American racer, who still races, and he had developed an active suspension for a vehicle he’s racing so we thought it’d be the right type of setup for us,” Fisker said when we caught up with him by phone as he himself raced between airports on his way to Detroit.

No details were spilled about that suspension nor even about the mysterious race car driver. Which of course lead us to speculate wildly about that, too. Which active American Corvette racer also has engineering smarts? Let’s see, John Heinricy (retired in 2008), Ron Fellows (no, he’s Canadian), uh… Antonio Garcia (Spanish), Jan Magnussen (Danish, like Fisker, but maybe he got a green card or something?), Oliver Gavin (British), Tommy Milner? Hey, we know Milner. Milner, is it you?

But we’re also speculating that it is a Corvette racer, and it could be any American racer/engineer. And the racer isn’t the only one.

“There’s a couple more people involved in this venture whom you know very well,” said Fisker, though once again, adding nothing in the way of details.

But that’s how you build up suspense. Otherwise it’d just be another car lost in the Detroit River tidal wave of new cars. Very clever, Henrik.

“I’m trying to keep up the suspense and excitement,” Fisker said, just before hopping on his flight. “It’s exciting to see an American small car company in this market dominated by Europeans. You’re seeing traditional larger carmakers looking for this perfect all around-vehicle. We’re going to be a little more on the edge in luxury, style and power. It’ll be more radical.”

We’ll just have to wait another month to find out how radical and just how close our wild speculation was to the truth. But so far it sounds like a pretty cool car.

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