UK-based RML’s Short Wheelbase model – a reimagination of the legendary Ferrari 250 SWB – is nearing production following a two-year development process. According to the project’s lead engineer, Nic Rutherford, “attention to detail” has been the development team’s mantra.
Outlining the process involved in refining the car’s body-in-white, Rutherford explained, “There are three areas we focus on. The all-new components used in the chassis; detailed refurbishment of any carry-over sections; and then modification of certain components which are carried over from the Ferrari 550’s platform. What has helped us achieve such a high standard throughout this process is scanning every component and then reverse-engineering them so they integrate perfectly with the new design of the Short Wheelbase.”
RML says it has now completed body-in-white jig. With each part of the jig scanned and then laser cut, the company says the system allows for a maximum 0.25mm tolerance, putting it on a par with even the most premium production vehicle jigs. “Of course, this is something we’re used to doing,” noted Rutherford. “RML already has vast experience in developing and producing high-end vehicles for well-known OEMs. It’s just that this time, the car has our name on it.”
Before the Short Wheelbase’s carbon-composite body is fitted, the Ferrari 550 central chassis on which it sits is aligned with the suspension mounts on the jig to make sure that it locates correctly. The newly formed sections are then added, along with the seat and body mounts, before everything is finally welded and sent to be e-coated (an electrophoretic application) and powder-coated.
Tight tolerances are a must as the main body section is formed as one complete part, from windshield to tail. This not only minimizes the risk of tolerance deviation, but also creates a safe and rigid structure in the event of an accident. Once the main and front sections are fitted to the chassis, the structural build is complete and sub-assemblies including the V12 powertrain, bespoke interior and modified suspension can be added.
“After two years of development, the 60-strong team from RML dedicated to the Short Wheelbase is on the brink of productionizing a truly unique car that embodies everything that our company does so well,” said CEO Michael Mallock. “We’ve talked a lot about the Short Wheelbase combining classic form and contemporary function, but what will also set this car apart is the team’s uncompromising attention to detail throughout the production run.”
Each car from the proposed run of 30 Short Wheelbases will take around six months to complete, with the capability of up to six builds in process at any one time to meet the already strong demand from around the world. Production of the first Short Wheelbase will start before the end of this year, with initial customer cars being delivered in early 2022.