(Repeats MARCH 8 story, adds photo availability)
By Edward Taylor
GENEVA, March 8 Supercars are famed for their
exclusivity, but they don't get much rarer than the 800
horsepower SCG 0003S being shown off by American Ferrari
collector Jim Glickenhaus at the Geneva car show this year. Only
10 will be built.
The 66 year-old is one of a new breed of automotive
entrepreneurs to take advantage of advances in software and
computing power to start his own car brand, using virtual
engineering and testing techniques.
And he is addressing a growing market, with members of the
super-rich from industrialists and financiers to rock stars
increasingly looking for customised designs that give their cars
the ultimate individual touch.
"Software allows me to indulge in ideas, like the shape of
the headlight, or an air conditioning vent. In the past the
manufacturing costs of making just one or two components would
have been prohibitive," Glickenhaus said, pointing to the front
of his white carbon-fibre car on display in Hall 1 of Geneva's
His company, Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus, works with
Maniffatura Automobili Torino (MAT), a boutique engineering and
design company set up in 2013 to design, develop and manufacture
one-off racing and luxury cars.
"Some of the racecars today, they look like robots. I
wondered if you could make a car which was aerodynamic and
beautiful. So we built this," Glickenhaus said.
MAT has its stand next to other boutique car design
companies including Pininfarina, Touring Superleggera, and David
Brown Automotive in what amounts to a renaissance for so-called
custom coachbuilding, spurred by software and new manufacturing
The SCG 0003S was made for Glickenhaus to race, but
customers who want one of the few being built can get it for
"I'm not making a profit on the cars, but the money helps
fund the evolution of the next version," Glickenhaus explained.
Using a fortune amassed from running the family Wall Street
firm, he worked with Paolo Garella, the chief executive of MAT
to build his car from scratch.
The tailor-made car industry took off in 2006 after
Pininfarina built a one-off Ferrari, the P4/5, for Glickenhaus.
Garella worked at Pininfarina at the time, before starting up
Other examples followed, including a modern version of the
Lancia Stratos which Pininfarina made for Michael Stoschek,
chairman of German auto supplier Brose Group, and the Ferrari
SP12 EC, which was made for rock guitarist Eric Clapton.
Since then, Glickenhaus has become more ambitious. Rather
than focusing on unique design, he wants his SCG 0003S racecar
to set lap records on the northern loop of Germany's
Nuerburgring, a holy grail among speed freaks.
"It's a different emotional experience if you are standing
in the rain watching a car that you built compete against
Mercedes and Porsche," Glickenhaus said.
Computers allow designers and engineers to develop a project
virtually with only a handful of experts. Pre-digital age, car
design often entailed hundreds of workers involved in sculpting
clay, making components out of metal and then testing the parts
for rigidity and reliability.
"There was often a fight between designers and the workshop
that built the car. The life-sized drawings rarely translated
into something engineers were able to reproduce," Garella said.
Designers would have to wait for the workshop to come up
with something that was feasible from a manufacturing point of
view, before pursuing further development – and often had to
take a step backwards because the vehicle body was now
interfering with something it should not.
"Today’s design and engineering software work in harmony,
allowing us to design and engineer simultaneously," Garella
Custom coachbuilding has experienced a revival in the past
decade, revolutionising an industry which traces its roots to an
era when owners of horse-drawn coaches commissioned a body to go
on top of an undercarriage.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the market suffered as mainstream
carmakers started to make niche models in-house, and after new
safety regulations all but ruled out extensive modifications
without requiring new crash testing.
Software has changed that.
"You can show a regulator via software that the car meets
minimum crash test requirements. That helped to make my car road
legal in New York," Glickenhaus said with a smile.
(Editing by Mark Potter)