RML's Reborn Ferrari 250 GT Will Be As Reliable As A Toyota

Sports Cars / 11 Comments

A rigorous testing program aims to guarantee outstanding quality and overall excellence.

As Ferrari prepares to launch its first-ever SUV, one can't help but wonder if the Italian automaker has lost its way. Whatever you think of so-called super SUVs, there's no doubt that Maranello's prettiest cars were made before many of us were even born. RML Group agrees and decided to do something about it by promising a reborn Ferrari 250 GT SWB with classic styling and modern engineering. That promise came last year, and since then, we've been shown a gorgeous interior and seen the first completed car. But unlike so many other niche companies that will spend millions on bodywork and interior design alone, RML is testing its limited run of restomods as intensely as a mass-market manufacturer might. In fact, this car is being tested more strenuously than something like a Ferrari 296 GTB ever will.

RML Group
RML Group
RML Group
RML Group

The car we see here is 'Car Zero', the very first of RML's short wheelbase cars to turn a wheel. This is being used as RML's testbed to prove its simulation work, so it was taken to the UTAC Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire, UK, "to embark on a test program which is normally the preserve of OEMs signing off high-value products, and rarely associated with cars in this sector."

"We've undertaken over 30 whole-vehicle programs over the years, most of which are 'white-label' and confidential," said Michael Mallock, RML Group's CEO. "So a comprehensive test program is just part of our normal process and one which we've also applied to the Short Wheelbase. The only difference is that this car has our name on it."

RML Group
RML Group
RML Group
RML Group

The first month of testing will see the engineering team focus on validating all the simulation work carried out so far, from chassis dynamics to powertrain and overall quality. The numerous test tracks at the facility will help the team ensure a comprehensively well-built product is delivered to customers. The project's chief engineer, Nic Rutherford, says that things are progressing as expected: "Although we're relatively early in the full test program, we've seen a strong initial correlation between the car's predicted behaviors and how it performs in real life."

Once the team is happy with the drivability aspect of the car, the hardest test comes: durability. The car will undergo an "intensive and industry-grade, six-week test [that] replicates three years' typical usage for a driver of a mainstream vehicle." For a car that will likely only get driven on the lawns of Pebble Beach and the like, this is astonishing.

RML Group
RML Group
RML Group
RML Group
RML Group

Thereafter, a visit to a climatic wind tunnel will ensure that the car's HVAC system can handle extreme cold and heat, even if you're in a traffic jam somewhere in the UAE. Next will be a 2,000-kilometer (1,242-mile) stint on the High Speed Bowl, followed by hundreds of miles of Belgian Pave to thoroughly and brutally evaluate the suspension. If that's not enough, RML will then add 'medium pothole' tests to guarantee that driving this car daily won't be impossible. Body torsion twist tests will then reveal any weaknesses in the car's carbon-composite structure. This means that customer cars now entering production will need minimal, if any, tuning before delivery later this year. Car Zero will live on as a demonstrator and press car. Hopefully, we'll get to drive it soon.

RML Group
RML Group
RML Group
RML Group

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