[size=200]A[/size]lmost immediately preceding the Second World War, some blokes in the United States Navy decided that, in the event of battle, the carrier fleet needed a dive-bomber to replace the Douglas SBD Dauntless. The Dauntless had just been deployed to American carriers, but almost instantly, aircrews complained about its lack of speed, armor, and brute power of the aircraft. So, in record time, the mad scientists employed by the military were able to develop a replacement: the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver!
The Curtiss was not only a replacement to the Dauntless, it was a worthy successor. It was bigger, better armed, and was, most importantly, more powerful. It had a Pratt & Whitney R-2000 Twin Wasp engine, producing 1,300 horsepower, and making the aeroplane the fastest dive-bomber in the Pacific Theatre. Still, the pilots complained, citing its lack of handling and range… But no matter, it had one of the best combat records of any plane in the war.
Enough of this boring military history…
If I were to introduce to the world a car that is naturally aspirated, not a soul would bat an eyelid at it. It would go down in the annals of history as nothing more than a footnote, a meager notation in the wide world of cars. If I were to introduce a car that was capable of more than 9,000 RPM, again, it would not make more than a slight indentation in the impressionable mould of the world of cars. Some people might remark over its abilities, but really, it would be nothing special. If I were to introduce a car with 1,300 horsepower, it would be quite the attraction, a sure sign of the technological advances being made in this day and age. But this car would not be alone in its achievement. Both the Koenigsegg One:1 and the Hennessy Venom GT are at this threshold, and the One:1 even exceeds it by a sizeable margin. Therefore, this car would not be a milestone in automotive history, but a slight advancement.
Now, imagine a car with that combines all three of these characteristics, a car that is naturally aspirated, a car that can reach over 9,000 RPM, a car that can achieve 1,300 horsepower. All in one car.
Now, you might say:
And I will respond:
At this time, it is excusable for one to ponder if this is a concept car, a showing of automotive might by a large company with a history of cars like this. It is not. Another reasonable thought is that this car is nothing more than a “vaporcar”, a car by a start-up company, often with unbelievable claims of power and speed. Almost always, these claims turn out to be false, no car is ever produced, and nothing more is heard from that company again. It is not.
Nothing like this has ever come off a production line before. Nothing like it has even dared to set foot on public roads.
A road legal car, naturally aspirated, capable of exceeding 9,000 RPM, with a power output of 1,300 horsepower. This is something new, destined to change the way supercars are looked at for the rest of eternity (okay, maybe just the next few decades). This is an air-breathing, fire-spitting, tyre-killing supercar, forged in Hell’s furnace of fire and brimstone.
This is the Smolensk Helldiver.
Smolensk has never given its models “names”. Every car carried a designation of one, two, or three letters because, frankly, they didn’t deserve anything more than that. Smolensk’s previous, turbocharger-assisted feats have been reduced to next to nothing by the Helldiver. The car is the first by Smolensk to warrant a name, and the name it gets is justified.
Like it’s aeroplane predecessor of yore, the car develops 1,300 horsepower. This time, instead of coming with a 32.8 liter, 14 cylinder radial engine, it comes with an 8.6 liter V8, sending power to all four wheels. The engine is about the same size as the one found in the Dodge Viper, however, there is one crucial difference. The Viper’s engine produces about 660 horsepower less than the Helldiver’s. How’s that for power per liter? Likewise, the Bugatti Veyron has a similar sized engine, and that one produces similar horsepower numbers. The difference in that comparison is the fact the Veyron has 4 turbochargers on its engine.
Rookie pilots often derided the plane because it was extremely hard to fly. Veteran pilots, however, found that once they could control the plane, it became capable of doing things that the less experienced fliers could not even dream of executing in the bomber. Likewise, the Smolensk requires an expert driver to even come close to the limits of the car itself. Even though the car contains a multitude of driver assists, no amateur can drive this beast the way it was meant to be driven. It takes a pair of skillful feet (and hands) to manipulate the throttle, brake, and the 7-speed dual-clutch manual transmission, but once this is done properly, the Helldiver is capable of amazing things.
One thing that the aeroplane was rightfully criticized for was its lack of handling. Luckily, this is one area where the Smolensk Helldiver is different from its namesake. The car will achieve 1.51g in the corners, making it one of best handling cars ever produced. Make no mistake, the car is not just meant to go in straight lines, it can go around the Automation Test Track in under two minutes, putting it in second place, right behind the ubiquitous Nightfury. And let’s not forget, this car is not designed to be a track day car.
Inside the Helldiver is not a bare bones interior, but a high-end, lightweight luxury cockpit, finished in carbon fibre, aluminium and heavily bolstered Recaro seats comprised of the finest leather, and hand-tailored to meet each customers needs. The flat-bottom, racing inspired steering wheel has a Manettino dial to select the presence (or absence) of electronic aids. Both the interior and exterior are designed by TheTom, creator of some of the best looking cars in the world. One would expect a car of such speed to contain nothing but the bare-bones minimum of entertainment. Therefore, when you find that the car has one of the best infotainment systems in any car ever sold, you are in for quite a surprise. It contains a 20 speaker Naim audio system, the same one found in the ultra-luxurious Bentley Mulsanne. The multimedia display is adapted from BMW iDrive, and is refined to be a more intuitive system to control the functions of the car. Looking at this car and its lap times, you expect it to have nothing more than the legal requirements for safety. In reality, this car has one of the most advanced safety systems in a car on the road today. From its carbon fibre chassis, to its 12 airbags, the entire car is built to withstand the worst of crashes, whether on the race track or on the road. Even with all of these features, it is still only a few seconds slower than the fastest purpose-built racer, the Nightfury.
So now comes the time to reveal what the Helldiver looks like. To keep it short, the car looks amazing.
This is the roaring beast of an engine that powers the Helldiver. Don’t worry, with adequate cooling, the MTBF is over 30,000 miles
From the side, you can see the aerodynamic shape of the body, as well as it’s aggressive stance.
The car’s front fascia exudes aggression and dynamism.
The rear, with Smolensk’s signature double wing, is a brand-new combination of styling and functionality.
The Smolensk Helldiver is not to be mistaken for any other car in the world, and its price tag reflects that. Starting at $865,000 only 130 production models, along with 3 prototypes, will be made. If you have the money, time, and driving skills necessary to purchase and drive a Helldiver, reserve your spot quickly. This is not an opportunity to be missed.