R&D

RML reimagines the 250 GT SWB

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UK-based motorsport and automotive engineering company RML Group has shown off its latest project, a modern reinterpretation of the Ferrari 250 GT SWB that saw considerable success as a road racer.

Known as the RML Short Wheelbase, and now reaching the end of an intensive development program, the model pays homage to the driving purity of supercars from the past, while offering occupants 21st-century comfort and convenience. With a front-mounted Ferrari V12 engine and instantly familiar lines – albeit with hand-formed alloy bodywork now replaced with carbon – the company says it has tried to build a car that is striking yet usable.

The Short Wheelbase is powered by a 5,474cc Ferrari V12 engine, producing 478bhp (485PS) and 419 lb-ft (568Nm) of torque. Drive is delivered to the rear wheels through a Ferrari six-speed manual gearbox and controlled by an open-gated manual shift. Performance is ‘ample’, according to RML, with 0-96km/h arriving in 4.1 seconds, and a top speed above 297km/h.

“The Short Wheelbase was never conceived to compete, Top-Trumps-style, with a typical supercar’s acceleration or top speed,” said Michael Mallock, RML’s chief executive. “Our car takes a step back from that, and while it’s certainly rapid, our emphasis has always been on capturing a more organic driving experience, with less intervention and more usable performance, while still making it comfortable and convenient enough for people to enjoy regularly on modern roads.”

That convenience has extended to a cabin that will accommodate occupants up to 2m in height on electrically adjustable seats. And while the Short Wheelbase’s interior design captures a classic style, modern technology – such as satnav, air-conditioning, cupholders and smartphone connectivity – has been artfully and discreetly integrated throughout.

Maintaining the familiar classic proportions was a priority for the company. While the car is larger than the original dimensionally, the proportions have been retained and features like the stacked rear lights, exposed fuel filler, front grille and vents behind each wheel and on the hood have all been carefully reimagined.

“After almost three years, we are nearing completion of the Short Wheelbase’s development,” said Mallock. “While this is the first such car to wear RML’s name, our experience working on a variety of whole vehicle programs – as a ‘white label’ partner to various OEMs – is extensive and second to none. So this car showcases much of the experience we’ve gained from not only designing and building low-volume, high-end motor cars but also implementing thorough testing procedures to make sure that driving them is an emotional experience for all the right reasons.”

The RML Short Wheelbase will go on sale in the last quarter of this year, with a limited production of around 30 cars.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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