While start-up carmakers are challenging the status quo with automated EVs, one boutique German brand is going old school with a new car codenamed Project Gecko, due on sale in 2020.
Little known sports car maker Wiesmann has announced it will reboot with a twin-turbo V8, rear-drive performance machine aimed at “sports car connoisseurs” and “buyers who want a unique, premium sports car with real stand-out qualities”.
It will be a modern take on the Wiesmann MF5, a two-seater with a distinctive rump and retro oval grille. Styling of the new car will be more of an “evolution” and “familiar” according to the brand, something that sounds like code for “almost the same”.
While images haven’t been revealed, Wiesmann has shown a picture of a car under a cover, the distinctive grille showing through.
Wiesmann chief executive Roheen Berry says Project Gecko has taken three years.
“This last true independent manufacturer of German sports cars is back and has an exciting future to look forward to,” said Berry. “When we set out on this journey we said we wanted to re-engineer an icon and we are on track to do exactly that.”
The engine will be sourced from BMW and is expected to be a 4.4-litre unit, versions of which are fitted to the M5 and 850i.
It makes up to 460kW of power, making for a potent combination in a car expected to be light and relatively simple.
While Wiesmann cars have focused on the European market, a decade ago the company looked at exporting to the US.
The car that results from Project Gecko will be produced from the outset with export markets in mind, ensuring it meets appropriate regulations.
It’s unlikely that will include Australia, at least initially.
Wiesmann only produced its first car in 1993 and has focused on sports cars powered by BMW engines.
It was temporarily shut down in 2014 before making a bold bid to return producing very similar cars to those it has produced previously.
Whether it works in an era of increasingly electrified vehicles remains to be seen.
Then again, perhaps the retro approach will appeal to driving enthusiasts.
Originally published as Sports car maker to be resurrected