Despite its shortcomings as a green car, the Fisker Karma is still very much a gorgeous vehicle. It was so sexy that the Bob Lutz-backed VL Productions planned on producing a V8-powered version called the Destino. As it turns out the failure of Fisker may have been a blessing for Destino fans, as hundreds of Karma owners are seeking the 556 horsepower V8 conversion.
VL Productions reportedly purchased 20 Fisker Karma “gliders” lacking the plug-in hybrid drivetrain for the V8 conversion. Using GM’s 556 horsepower supercharged LSA engine, Lutz and VL Productions planned to offer a limited run of the $185,000 Destino. But with Fisker’s very existence in question, VL has fielded inquiries from hundreds of Karma owners seeking a more common drivetrain, for which the technology and expertise won’t soon disappear.
Existing Karma owners would have to fork over about $85,000 to $90,000 for the conversion, and Lutz says that there are over 100 orders for conversions so far. Middle Eastern customers were especially interested in the conversion, where low gas prices and unique supercars are the order of the day. I think that is called irony.
The Destino had originally intended to use the 638 horsepower LS9 engine found in the Corvette ZR1, but many customers wanted an automatic transmission, which the Corvette ZR1 doesn’t offer, but the Cadillac CTS-V with the LSA engine does. Yet either engine will be easier to maintain than the Fisker’s patented hybrid drivetrain, which may or may not have any support a year from now.
While I’m glad that Karma owners will have a chance to give their beautiful cars a decent drivetrain, it really is a sad, ironic footnote at the end of the long and sad story of a promising performance hybrid. Who would have thought the end of Fisker would be good for a Fisker conversion business?
Source: Wards Auto