An open letter, penned by the Lead Designer and Sometime Spokesperson of Gryphon Gear:
To all sports car enthusiasts,
I’m very pleased to be writing this, now that the Bellua has been officially released and can see the fruits of our joint efforts in the flesh. We are all honoured to have been a part of this collaboration; the passion and dedication shown by the GBF team went above and beyond even the legendary reputation traditionally held by provincial Italian sports car manufacturers, thus the results also exceeded our expectations. To explain about more about why this car exists and ended up the way it was, I’d like to talk about the background a little more.
Gryphon Gear (well, really, yours truly) first showed interest in the GBF Procurro almost entirely due to its classic yet unconventional beauty. It wasn’t until a serendipitous meeting on a closed session at a certain European track where GG does a lot of testing cough Nordscleife cough that the development crew had a chance to really look at the car and its potential as their next major project. At the time, powered by a V6 producing around 400bhp, it was most akin to a Lotus Evora 400. Coincidentally, the GBF team were starting to explore possible options to increase this performance, to achieve supercar levels.
To explain how fortunate this was, I’ll need to explain our circumstances: The GG of 2017 retains the brute aggression with which it exploded onto the scene in 2012. But under the considered direction of an attentive executive board, it always exerts its growing power with an agenda. If the proto-GG could be considered the crude art of more bang, more buck, Phase One was learning how not to go broke from overspending see the Znopresk Zeus, Phase Two was about going smarter (even if going harder anyway) see Mercury, Jormungandr, and Phase Three would be our egalitarian vision of making ludicrous speed normally reserved for rich people, available to the masses. The first example of which would be Lilith, the sub-7 car worth less than 100k.
Yet that isn’t good enough. I mean, yes, unless you want to cram yourself into a Radical, you’re looking at over 500k for an Aventador SV, or over a million for any of the hypercars, so under 100k is really bloody fantastic, if you don’t mind not having an interior sculpted out of platinum and rare animal bits. Yet, a starting price tag of 94k (before exporting costs, tariffs, registration and stamp duty etc. etc.) still places that car out of reach of many, unless I’m living in the wrong dimension and we’re all really driving M4s and 911s. But we want to revive Australian auto manufacturing and the everyperson’s love affair with the sports car. We tantalise and titillate by showing you what we can do with our ultimate tier cars, but we want to put the visceral sensation of pure speed within reach of people who work 40+ hours a week to pay the mortgage/rent and set aside everything they can for the garage because cars are life. That’s most of us over here at Gryphon Gear, so we’re all kinda inspired in the same way, and we hope that more people will be similarly swept up in what will become our renaissance.
To summarise that, on one hand, you have a company that produces beautiful, budget track cars looking to expand and see how much performance they can fit onto their platform. On the other, you have a company that produces hyper speed machines looking to expand and see how budget they can squeeze out of their performance. It’s a match that was meant to be.
Some of us Aussies like to ironically poke fun at the Americans, but one leaf we unabashedly took out of the book of good ol’ American wisdom was, for the same money, you can always get more power out of bigger blocks, which is why Pony and Muscle is what it is. Our particular specialty is boosting the hell out of them, then making the rest of the car work with whatever behemoth we can fit in the body, which is why the SR8 Bellua series has a 9L V8 with a single cam. There’s nothing in the world like it, but in terms of sheer bang for your buck on commonly sourced parts, it just can’t be beat. As for the rest, the real challenge we faced was that we had no option to develop bespoke parts like we normally do: the entire car had to be built on stuff you can buy off shelves. We had to also rethink our production line processes from the ground up, with simplicity and minimalism, which is where our Japanese production strategists and floor managers became heroes: the entire line-up is highly modular with about 90% of the parts being shared across all three trims. Even the cabin is arranged in modular components to facilitate easier building of both single seater and 2 seater configurations. The biggest difference is in the tuning.
On that note, you can think of the trims in terms of similarly performing cars and their comparative price:
The SR8e is coded such because it’s the ‘economy’ model. Sure, it’s not that frugal (at a smidge over 10L/100km mixed regular driving), but it’s as economical as we could get it while pumping out over 700bhp (with peak torque available all the way from 1700rpm, I should add). At the base price of 50K AUD/35K USD, it’s priced at the level of a FK8 Type R, and less than, say, a Focus RS or Golf R. But it goes like a 458. It doesn’t quite have the cargo versatility of a hatchback, but twice the power of the hottest of hot hatches, at about an eighth the price of a Ferrari? As I mentioned, it doesn’t have hand-crafted leather upholstery with double stitching and the paint doesn’t cost 15k for a single coat or whatever it is that makes Ferraris so expensive, but it’s got bucket seats, A/C, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and you can dial the driving aids all the way down to OFF. What more could you want? I suppose if you wanted a fairer, more contemporary comparison, you can look at the American marvels of today, such as the Camaro ZL1: 100% the performance of a ZL1, for about half the price.
This is a somewhat self-indulgent nod to ourselves, the acknowledgement that we can’t resist making a car without giving it 1000 horses and a top speed of over 400km/h. So that’s what this gets, well, more like 1050bhp. I suppose this makes it a wannabe Veyron for a fraction of the engineering. But track wise it’s running with the likes of LFA, GT3, ACR, thanks to… you guessed it, using bigger turbos and stiffening the suspension.
##[color=gold]SR8 “GG Tune” Competizione[/color]
a.k.a. Bumblebee a.k.a. “Mac’n’Cheese Beest”. What we ran in Goodwood. This is a proof of concept. The one overriding challenge we had was to prove it was possible to squeeze a sub-seven car out of our base. And when you don’t have money, or time, or really fancy parts and you only get the tyres you can buy at the local dealer, that sub-seven can look like a daunting goal. Or, if you have a driver whose only fear in life is going slow, you can strip the interior, crank the BOOSCHT dial up to eleven and squeeze out close to 1500 ponies, and hope for the best.
Note that the top speed barely changes after the addition of 400 extra horses, that was because part of our limitations was not being allowed to alter the body at all. All three trims share an identical body. The only thing that changed, was the default angle of attack on the lip and the wing. I think it goes without saying that we’ll be producing the “GG Tune” trim in exceedingly limited numbers, and we’ll be vetting customers on that one, because we don’t want all of them going on unscheduled dates with barriers, poles, walls or trees.
What really gets me is that this is a car as tuned as a base model. I just wonder what will happen once the modders get their hands on it, as I’m very sure they will. And that’s all part of the spirit that we hope to share and foster.
As excited as I’ve been working on this beast of a machine, I think I’ve blabbed on quite long enough. In fact, I think it’s time I reserved my own SR8e!
vroom vroom mother[spoiler]fuckers[/spoiler],