Auto industry heavyweights team up on wicked 745-hp VLF Force 1

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VLF Automotive reveals the Force 1 V10 at NAIAS 2016(Credit: Darren Quick/Gizmag)

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Since we first looked in on VL Automotive in 2013, it's earned itself a big F. Henrik Fisker has joined the team of Gilbert Villarreal and Bob Lutz. He's made his presence immediately known, penning the lines of the radical carbon fiber body on the new Force 1, an all-American Viper-powered sports coupe.

The Fisker Karma provided an intriguing starting point for VL's Destino project, but for its second car, VL got something even better: Henrik Fisker himself. The new, improved "VLF Automotive" officially announced its launch just before NAIAS 2016 started.

So far the move is paying off. While the Destino was really an uglier Karma with a big, 'ol V8 in place of plug-in hybrid tech, the Force 1 V10 is a more original, ground-up design with even more power under its hood. It's definitely a Fisker, but it's more than a Karma/Aston Martin redux (though Aston Martin's first thought was to disagree).

The Force 1's cabin is pushed all the way back, leaving a long, swooping hood up front. The front and rear fascias have been sliced and diced, leaving thin, sharp head and taillights and distinctive airflow elements that keep the car prepared for sucking and shooting air. The spoiler out back drops a nod to the car that generously lends its heart and bones to the Force 1 V10 project, the Dodge Viper. Other aero components that drive the look home include the big rear diffuser, front spoiler and distinctive wing spoiler on the roof.

"The sculpture on Force 1 is like a family succession to Destino, dramatic and powerful, relative flat surfaces on the high end of the body side, with lines full of tension, emerging onto a rounder lower section, where Force 1 has a large functional outlet," Fisker says of his work. "The windscreen wraps around into the side glass, followed by an elegant, yet aggressive side line sweeping up towards the rear deck. The graphics are uniquely sleek with ultra-thin lights in front and UTV laser-blade tail lamps, the thinnest tail lamps in the world, at the rear. The day light opening (DLO), or side window, has a completely new and never before seen graphic that ends up in a sharp spear."

The 8.4-liter Viper V10 is tuned to 745 hp and 638 lb-ft. It sends that output to the rear wheels, delivering the Force 1 to 60 mph (96.5 km/h) in a flat 3 seconds. VLF puts top speed at 218 mph (350 km/h) and the 1/4 mile at 10.97 seconds at 136.88 mph (220 km/h). Brembo brakes bring the Pirelli P Zero-wrapped 21-in aluminum wheels to rest.

Another partner in the project, car dealer, racer, team owner and all-around Viper guy Ben Keating developed the electronically controlled active suspension system. Using Viper race cars as a test bed, he fine-tuned the system for sharp on-track handling and daily driving smoothness.

While it has an original look, some might find the the Force 1's jack-o-lantern face a touch objectionable. We dig it, but we can see the argument that an "overdone to ridiculousness" camp might make.

The leather interior, on the other hand, is more a classic beauty built for widespread accord. VLF uses hand-stitched ultra-soft leather, Alcantara, suede and other premium materials, adding high-class organization with options like a champagne holder, milled aluminum pen holder and leather-and-suede sunglass compartment. Also on offer are an integrated Wi-Fi hotspot and a smartphone tray.

VLF plans to begin production in April and deliveries in the third quarter of this year. The limited edition car will start at US$268,500 and will be available through Ben Keating's Viper Exchange. Purchase will include a two-day/year pass to attend races with Keating.

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