VL Destino Could Save the Karma

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With Fisker all but certain to declare bankruptcy, Bob Lutz and company are getting more interest for their V8 conversion.

The Fisker Karma is a good-looking car. It was, after all, designed by the same talent behind such beautiful creations as the BMW Z8 and Aston Martin DB9. We have just two reservations: that weird split grille and the lack of a decent engine. Fortunately we’re in good company, as Bob Lutz thinks so, too. The former fighter pilot and longtime auto-industry executive (who held senior positions as GM, Ford, Chrysler and BMW) is the driving force behind the VL Destino. Well, him and a supercharged V8.

In case you don’t recall, Lutz and business partner Gilbert Villarreal revealed the Destino back in January at the Detroit Auto Show, taking the Fisker Karma and replacing that grille and the hybrid powertrain. In the latter’s place, VL initially stuffed the 638-horsepower LS9 V8 from the Corvette ZR1, but has reportedly switched to the Cadillac CTS-V’s 556-horsepower engine due to the automatic transmission it’s mated to and which VL figures most buyers will want. The VL Destino is earmarked to sell for $185,000, and VL is apparently lining up hundreds of prospective buyers.

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Among them are existing Karma owners who are concerned about what will become of their cars if and when Fisker folds. But beyond the $90,000 conversion process, VL has reportedly acquired twenty Karmas without the batteries and electric motors, ready to receive the supercharged V8s they always deserved. With Fisker having stopped production months ago when its battery supply dried up, who knows how many "glider" Karmas it has in stock, how many VL could get their hands on - and at what price.

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