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
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
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
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