1996 Erin Scarlet (Mk 3)
It's the big one! The one Erin fans cite as being the best car the company has ever made - the Scarlet Mk 3.
With the Scarlet now clearly looking like a car that would be one of Erin's defining marques for all time, the need for a seriously good third iteration of it was great. Erin let nothing get in the way of making this car phenemonal - an all new chassis, the very latest innovations from the X Department and no expense spared in refining this thing into the greatest drivers car ever made by the company.
The result was a premium sports coupe that could rival most supercars in terms of performance, was elegant enough to fit in on the French Riveria and gave any lucky owner one of the best driving experiences you could ask for.
Design and Styling
The Mk 3 was a departure from previous generations, with curvier and narrower front end features, no more pop-up headlights, a shorter bonnet and completely unique tail light design. It was modern, fresh and tasteful, with just enough menace to hint at the power that was under the bonnet but very welcoming too.
Differences between the Lex and X trims were more prominent here than on any other version of the Scarlet, with the latter featuring a bulged bonnet, side vents at the front and rear and flared wheel arches.
Specialist steel alloy chassis, composite body panels and even aluminium were used to make up the monocoque chassis. Sadly, increased safety regulations forced the car to be heavier than before, but Erin were able to accommodate for this well. Major advancements were made with the suspension, where semi-active dampers were utilised.
Computers also found there way into the new engine management system, which could adjust performance based on need. The Mk 3 certainly had an edge of advancement to it, but it never got in the way of the car; at the end of the day, Erin had still designed this as a two door performance coupe.
Power and Performance
A brand new version of the 3.8l V8 was designed for the X trim, with adjusted bore and stroke to make a more rounded unit. It now featured independent throttle bodies, race-derived injection system and a bespoke performance exhaust, and knocked out 394 hp, almost 100 more than the previous generation. The Lex trim got a fully reworked 3.3l V6 which produced 270 hp.
Both manual and automatic gearboxes were available, the latter being the first 6 Speed unit that Erin had ever made. On the X trim, 0-60 took just 4.6 seconds and it topped out at 183 mph. While noticeably heavier than the previous generation, this encouraged a slightly softer suspension setup that created a rounded driving experience that was sharp and exciting enough to be pushed to the limit but didn't twitch quite like the previous generation.
Upon release, the Mk 3 Scarlet received major acclaim and was widely praised as being one the best cars Erin had ever made. Its feel on the road was quickly picked up as being its best feature; although very capable on a track, it was most at home on a B road. Indeed, much of the marketing campaign was filmed in the Yorkshire Dales to reflect this.
The innovations made with this car would find there way on to the Berlose X-AllDrive, also from that year, and the two cars quickly became seen as a 'power couple' of the automotive world. Indeed, this connection is believed to have increased sales of both cars, and was hugely influential on future Erin cars.
Where the Mk 3 took really precedence though was on the race track, more specifically in the FIA GT Championship. Here, along with the ErinSport GT95, it embroiled itself in the hotly contested GT1 battle of the 90s, and heightened its fierce rivalry with the 911. Around the world, it would also compete in the GTR Euro Series and various IMSA Series too. And, of course, it raced at Le Mans every year of its production.
Prices and Specs
Lex Trim - Engine: 3.3l V6
X Trim - Engine: 3.8l V8
End of the Scarlet and its return
But, it would sadly all come to an end. By the end of the 90s, Erin was moving in a new direction, and the highly inefficient Scarlet didn't quite fit in to the new focus on economy and wider-market cars. Further to this, the new GT01 had become the main focus for ErinSport, reducing the need for another GT racer. So, in 2002, the Scarlet ended production without replacement.
That was where the story ended, until 2013 when it was announced that Erin had a new Scarlet in development. And, in 2016, it finally arrived. Some have speculated that the real reason the company ended the Scarlet in 2002 was because they couldn't make a follow-up that was as good, though the only people who truly know that are the company executives, more specifically former CEO Marco Erin, none of whom have ever given a definitive answer.
Boom! At last, a proper post for this car. Comments, critique, complaints, constraints, constitutions, constituents, constabularies and Confucianism theories are all welcome! And as before, please post/link any rivals to this car