Wellingborough – While its design conjures up an image from the golden age of motoring, the new RML Short Wheelbase’s classic, flowing lines shroud underpinnings that have benefitted from the very latest 21st century development, integrated into a performance GT that will offer all the convenience, comfort and dependability expected by modern drivers.
But for that claim to be watertight, it first needs to be proven. The stunning blue machine you see in these images is ‘Car Zero’, the very first Short Wheelbase to turn a wheel, and RML’s test-bed to prove simulation work carried out over the last three years since the model’s conception.
Last month, RML’s engineering team relocated to UTAC Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire, UK, to embark on a test programme which is normally the preserve of OEMs signing off high-value products, and rarely associated with cars in this sector. But for RML, it was always an essential part of the project.
“We’ve undertaken over 30 whole-vehicle programmes over the years, most of which are ‘white-label’ and confidential,” said Michael Mallock, RML Group’s CEO. “So a comprehensive test programme is just part of our normal process, and one which we’ve also applied to the Short Wheelbase. The only difference is that this car has our name on it.”
During the first month of testing, RML’s engineering team will focus on validating the extensive simulation work which has already been carried out. Chassis dynamics, powertrain and overall quality are rigorously assessed around UTAC’s myriad test tracks, which replicate the extremes of topography found on roads throughout the world. Nic Rutherford, RML’s project engineering lead for the Short Wheelbase has been pleased with the results so far: “Although we’re relatively early in the full test programme, we’ve seen a strong initial correlation between the car’s predicted behaviours, and how it performs in real life.”