Bob Lutz’s De-Electrified Fisker Karmas Will Be Reborn As The Destino in 2014

OCT 19 2013 BY JAY COLE 11

Ever since the beginning, this story has never has felt quite right.

Removing Everything "Green" Instantly Results In 1,100lbs Of Weight Savings Over The Karma

Removing Everything “Green” Instantly Results In 1,100lbs Of Weight Savings Over The Karma

Bob Lutz, known widely to this generation as the “father” of the Chevrolet Volt and frontman for the plug-in extended range VIA lineup of trucks, vans and SUVs, starts up VL Automotive (he is the L in VL) with plans to de-electrify Fisker Karmas and replace all that plug-in goodness with some old school Corvette muscle.

It is very much a return to classic Bob – father of the Dodge Viper (video of Bob Lutz on that car’s debut in 1991 below).

Yet in the wake of Fisker’s sale (and potential rebirth) to Hong Kong businessman Richard Li, that is what Mr. Lutz has announced will finally go ahead in 2014 as VL Automotive has acquired 25 Fisker Karmas, and now settled an IP dispute with an Asian investor that was blocking VL’s ability to interact with the Karma’s notoriously not-so-good infotainment center.

In speaking with Automotive News, Mr. Lutz explained why accessing the Karma infotainment brain so important:

“Without getting those codes, it was close to impossible to get a working car.”

Ability To Access The Car's Infotainment Center Means The Destino Will Come To Market In 2014

Ability To Access The Car’s Infotainment Center Means The Destino Will Come To Market In 2014

VL Automotive already has a booth booked for the NAIAS (or Detroit Auto Show if you will) and will once again display the Destino, which will be offered to consumers from around $200,000.

Estimated Price For A Destino?  Around $185,000

Estimated Price For A Destino? Around $185,000

The de-electrified Karmas will now be offered with two engine choices and a transmission normally found in the Chevrolet Corvette; one engine being the base 450 hp  V-8 and the other an optional 638hp supercharged variant.  VL expects to start delivering the cars in mid-2014, and Mr. Lutz says he has high expectations for the car.

“It’s going to take time. I don’t want a rough car that’s hard to drive with  a bad transmission and high noise levels. At close to $200,000, these things are  going to have to be silky and buttery to drive. The sound and feel have to be  just right.”

Automotive News also notes that Mr. Lutz said VL Automotive had confidence that the company had “secured a source of body panels and gliders,” meaning that production can proceed past the initial 25 cars the company has planned to convert.  VL will also offer a conversion program for current owners of Fisker Karmas for about $100,000.

Below: Video of Bob Lutz, then President of Chrsyler, talks all things Dodge Viper in 1991

Automotive News

Categories: Fisker / Karma


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11 Comments on "Bob Lutz’s De-Electrified Fisker Karmas Will Be Reborn As The Destino in 2014"

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There’s always a market for conversion vehicles. Hennessy, Lifgenfelter, etc. God Bless the USA for options.

Not for 200k, when rollers can be had for <60k.

Again with price myopia.

For example, Hennessy Venom GT starts a 600k and it’s a Lotus Exige chassis.

People will pay the money for this car.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Front end looks Maserati-ish, rear end like a Mitsubishi Eclipse. For $200k it better be putting down sub-10s quarter miles and low 3s to 60.

Mister, “My cigar is bigger than yours.”, likes big engines. Where is the news story here?

Father of the volt gives up on even partial electric vehicles.
Where’s the news in this?

It’s not a story because is hasn’t happened.

Lutz is as always a fool. Two wrongs don’t make a right

Not sure what Lutz is playing at here. The Cougarish front end of the Kharma didn’t need changing.

$200k is too much for what you get. $110k was pushing the limit for a Kharma, but at least THAT vehicle was unique and most everyone drooled over it.

Lutz is pursuing an ‘also ran’ here. This seriously makes me want to question his judgement. Wish he would stick to his knitting at VIA Motors and start coming out with retail releases.

Personally, I’d like a big EV or PHEV, without issues. The Model S almost makes the grade, but not quite for me.. I suspect many others feel the same way.

I test drove a Kharma twice and ALMOST bought it. This DL thing is going in the wrong direction for me.

As far as I’m concerned, he’s welcome to them. When Fisker had potential, I wouldn’t have considered a Karma anyway. And now, if I wanted a Corvette, I’d buy a Corvette.

I see this going the same way as the Avanti did after Studebaker folded.

I seem to recall Lutz was bullish on ICE cars up until a few years ago. Just maybe he was “encouraged” to change his tune as he had long dismissed the idea of EVs.

I’m sure for a certain amount of MILLIONS, one could have had a change of “heart” with the Volt and EV technology in general.

Just wish he wasn’t so goofy as a front man.