I saw the future of Kiwi supercars, and it’s expensive

I saw the future of Kiwi supercars, and it’s expensive

I went to the launch of the roadgoing Hulme CanAm last Saturday. Being a two-seat open-top sports car, the weather should have played fairer, but despite the assembled Hulme team praying like mad (they’re fairly religious), Allah, Zeus and the other deities decided that torrential rain would be better for the plants. Still, to get where they’ve got with just NZ$5m is quite an accomplishment and no one should rain on their parade just yet.

The purpose of the day was to show the first on-road drive of the car – Jock Freemantle, founder of Hulme, taking Auckland Mayor John Banks for a quick spin around the block. But it didn’t happen. The second purpose was to canvas for further investment.

Being the inquisitive little bugger that I am, I had to know the price because in the crowded world of low-volume supercars, you need to be able to sell enough to make it worthwhile.

Originally this car was pegged as being up to NZ$1.3m, which is frankly ludicrous. The answer on the day was UKP220,000 – about NZ$600-700,000. Still ludicrous. That is Caparo T1 money but without the gigantic corporation and expertise in carbon fibre to back it up. If they’d said NZ$200-250,000 I would have thought that was more realistic.

The smart thing is that they’ve called it ‘Hulme’ – that’ll get some of the nostalgic baby boomer money that remembers the halcyon era of CanAm when the Bruce and Denny show won everything in their orange cars. But me, I’d rather have an equally specified Ultima GTR and $400,000 change.

I hate to be a naysayer (and not just because optimism is far better and more abundant), but I really can’t see a market for this car without

a) a dedicated race program

b) them moving to Europe or America so that they can address the primary market more closely, and

c) Making the price more realistic for something that has, essentially, just got an LS7 from a Corvette in it.

This could prove to be an exercise in radical design, and a great boost for NZ’s image, but it’s unlikely to have the success of the Britten motorcycle, or even the success that Saker has had in Europe with its racing.

Hulme

I went to the launch of the roadgoing Hulme CanAm last Saturday. Being a two-seat open-top sports car, the weather should have played fairer, but despite the assembled Hulme team praying like mad (they’re fairly religious), Allah, Zeus and the other deities decided that torrential rain would be better for the plants. Still, to get where they’ve got with just NZ$5m is quite an accomplishment and no one should rain on their parade just yet.

The purpose of the day was to show the first on-road drive of the car – Jock Freemantle, founder of Hulme, taking Auckland Mayor John Banks for a quick spin around the block. But it didn’t happen. The second purpose was to canvas for further investment.

Being the inquisitive little bugger that I am, I had to know the price because in the crowded world of low-volume supercars, you need to be able to sell enough to make it worthwhile.

Originally this car was pegged as being up to NZ$1.3m, which is frankly ludicrous. The answer on the day was UKP220,000 – about NZ$600-700,000. Still ludicrous. That is Caparo T1 money but without the gigantic corporation and expertise in carbon fibre to back it up. If they’d said NZ$200-250,000 I would have thought that was more realistic.

The smart thing is that they’ve called it ‘Hulme’ – that’ll get some of the nostalgic baby boomer money that remembers the halcyon era of CanAm when the Bruce and Denny show won everything in their orange cars. But me, I’d rather have an equally specified Ultima GTR and $400,000 change.

I hate to be a naysayer (and not just because optimism is far better and more abundant), but I really can’t see a market for this car without

a) a dedicated race program

b) them moving to Europe or America so that they can address the primary market more closely, and

c) Making the price more realistic for something that has, essentially, just got an LS7 from a Corvette in it.

This could prove to be an exercise in radical design, and a great boost for NZ’s image, but it’s unlikely to have the success of the Britten motorcycle, or even the success that Saker has had in Europe with its racing.

Hulme

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