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After nearly 40 years building and preparing some of the world’s greatest road and race cars wearing other OEM’s names, RML is now tantalisingly close to completing Short Wheelbase ‘Car Zero’, the first model to carry the company’s own name and logo, and the pre-cursor to a limited series-production run. The pre production prototype is revealed here, its classic V12 engine being installed into a freshly-painted carbon composite body.
In the last month, RML’s Short Wheelbase team has started to bring disparate elements of the car’s build together, with completion of the body’s exhaustive paint process being the latest strand. Achieving the paintwork’s rich lustre you see in the pictures is an arduous task, involving layers of special carbon primer, regular primer and a silver base coat that gives Car Zero’s yet un-named blue colour a real ‘pop’. Even carbon-composite parts of the Short Wheelbase that remain unpainted – for example, around the door shuts – are treated with a clear carbon primer, flatted back and then coated with a smoked-carbon lacquer.
Installation of the Short Wheelbase’s 5.5-litre V12 engine marks the start of the final stage of build before Car Zero is completed next month and ready to embark on an intensive, highly concentrated durability programme, matching the highest industry standards. In the meantime, RML has started preparation of the first two customer cars, each of which will take six months to build.
‘Having a fully painted body-on-chassis with engine installed is a real landmark in the Short Wheelbase’s birth,’ said Michael Mallock, RML’s CEO. ‘This first example will now be completed by next month, ready for the industry-standard test schedule we have planned. But it’s also given us the green light to start build of our customer cars, which makes the whole programme very real all of a sudden!’
Passenger safety was also prioritised from the start of the programme, and simulated tests based on the Short Wheelbase’s reduced kerb weight (versus the donor car’s) and carbon-composite construction have produced extraordinary results. Using industry standards for analysis, RML’s own roof-crush test produced just 15 per cent of the permissible displacement after a 23.9kN load was reached in a roll-over simulation.
‘This has been a labour of love for us all in the Short Wheelbase’s development team,” said Michael Mallock. ‘To see the car finally on the road next month – and finished to such an exceptional standard - will be immensely rewarding for us all, but especially for our first customers, who now won’t have to wait too long at all.’
More news will follow through the final stages of Car Zero’s build, but in the meantime please visit https://rmlgroup.com/news to see all previous releases.