Published July 15, 2013
A new supercar is brewing, one with the performance and looks to rival a Bugatti Veyron. The project is taking place in Australia, of all places, and right now is in its very early stages.
The new supercar, which hasn’t even received a name yet, is the brainchild of Australian entrepreneur Paul Halstead. The 67-year-old, who made his fortune in the IT business, has long dreamed of building his own car and came close to accomplishing it during the 1980s.
Back then, Halstead was running a performance car dealership and attempted to build and sell Alfa Romeo Sprint coupes modified to fit a mid-mounted V-8. The car was called the Giocattolo and was extremely advanced for its day, coming complete with Kevlar body panels, Brembo brakes and suspension developed by former McLaren F1 engineer Barry Lock.
Unfortunately, Halstead only managed to build 15 examples before he had to fold operations due to poor sales. Now, 30 years on since the Giocattolo, Halstead is working on a new mid-engined supercar.
Halstead is also in charge of an automotive design and engineering firm, HAL, which among its numerous duties supplied De Tomaso with Ford V-8 engines and built a Pantera race car. More recently HAL built a Holden Monaro concept powered by a 7.0-liter V-8 sourced from the Chevrolet Corvette Z06.
It is this engine, the race-bred LS7, that will serve as the basis of Halstead’s new supercar, albeit it with a twist: two of the engines, rolled over at 45 degrees, will be bolted together and used to power the wheels. Instead of merging their internals to form a single crankshaft, like in the aforementioned Veyron, which essentially features two V-8s on a common crank, Halstead explains that a “trick” transfer case will allow the two separate crankshafts of the LS7s to match up with a single six-speed sequential gearbox.
An estimated peak output of 1,200 horsepower will be derived from the 14.0 liters of swept capacity, which will then be channeled to the rear wheels via the sequential ‘box and a limited-slip differential. The mighty powerplant will be mounted to a lightweight carbon fiber tub and housed in a svelte body composed of more carbon fiber and Kevlar.
Looking at the official drawings, it’s clear Halstead and his design team were influenced by the McLaren F1 as well as some modern Maseratis. The front, in particular, is reminiscent of a Maserati GranTurismo, while inside there is a central driver’s seat with a passenger seat to either side, just like in the iconic F1 supercar. Instead of doors, Halstead’s design calls for a jet fighter-style sliding canopy.
As for production, Halstead says the project is simply a bit of fun and not a serious business venture. He plans to show the completed version, due in 2016, at the Detroit Autorama hot rod event where he hopes to win the prestigious Ridler Award. The final performance of the car and the level of interest, particularly from potential investors, will dictate whether a small run will enter production.
Halstead is a great admirer of men like Horacio Pagani and Christian von Koenigsegg, who have achieved their dream of building world-class supercars, but concedes it’s a very difficult business.
“I have been there with the 15 Giocattolos I built in the ‘80s and I really do understand just how difficult it is to become a Pagani,” Halstead explains. “That man is a true legend for what he has achieved.”