Last revised: 29-01-2012

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Car of the Month - November 2011

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Savage_Rivale_Roadyacht_GTS_prototype_2011

Savage Rivale Roadyacht GTS - 4-door convertible coupe body - prototype 2011

There are plenty of pages in the Car of the Month section about people who became car manufacturer out of passion, out of the desire to create a car based on their own vision. It seems that the days you could do that with some degree of success have long gone. Car development and production costs have skyrocketed as a result of safety and environmental legislation, increasing labour expenses and ever more complicated technology. And yet there still are pioneers, intensely motivated to put the car of their dreams on the road. Emile Pop from Holland can be regarded as one of those.
About ten years ago young Emile started sketching and creating his personal supercar. After funds ran out he focussed his attention on a study industrial design in The Hague and teamed up with Justin de Boer. Together they continued working on a prototype which became their graduation project for 2009. It was however not just some graduation project, they fully intended to develop it into a production car and in order to do so they had established a company a year before to support their efforts. The full scale prototype that was presented in 2009 looked like a regular wedge shaped sportscar but there was an unique twist to it: not only was it a coupe with 4 doors instead of 2, it was a convertible as well. And to top it off the 4 doors opened in fancy gull wing style with the front doors hinged at the windscreen posts while the rear doors had hinges behind the rear seats and opened in the opposite direction, creating a huge entry. Segmented glass panels formed the roof and could slide away into the storage in the rear deck after which the arced frame above the doors could be removed (reminiscent of the Citroen Pluriel) and stored away as well, converting the coupe in a truly open car.
Pop and De Boer baptized their car Savage Rivale Roadyacht GTS, with Savage Rivale being the brand name, and both the design and the model name received some criticism. Each was unusual and needed some getting used to. But its creators weren't discouraged and could count on sufficient sponsors to further flesh out the design. Technically the Roadyacht is based on a modified Chevrolet Corvette C6 platform complemented by the 6.2 litre V8 engine with Eaton supercharger from the Corvette ZR1 in front, producing 670 hp @ 6200 rpm. Top speed is claimed to be beyond the 330 kph mark and 0 tot 100 kph acceleration is done within 4,1 seconds. Body and interior panels will be fashioned from carbon fiber composite material to reduce vehicle weight. In front and rear there is a double wishbone suspension with adjustable ride height and air springs in the rear. To give credit to its curious Roadyacht name the interior is very luxurious, finished in leather and Alcantara with heated seats and even a champagne cooler...
The first driveable Roadyacht prototype was tested in 2011, that's the car that you see here. In the second half of 2012 the first production model, within a small series of 4, should be finished. If all goes well a yearly production of 20 is planned, made in a facility in The Hague. Additionally a racing version has been announced, the Savage Rivale GTR. It features a more powerful engine, a special computer developed chassis and of course all the trimmings that go with a modern circuit racing car. An optimistic "limited" production run of 69 is planned for the GTR; apparently the first of those has already been ordered.

Great to see that creative and motivated people can still realize their own cars, completely independent from the large automotive concerns. The future will prove wether the unique Roadyacht is more than a dream car; finding a profitable market for it will be difficult. The creators however are optimistic and if they're right, another colorful entry will have been added to car history. An enviable accomplishment.

© André Ritzinger, Amsterdam, Holland

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