Leading engineering company, RML Group, reveals modern interpretation of all-time great
Wellingborough, UK – World-class engineering company, RML Group, today reveals a new GT road car combining classic form and contemporary function, inspired by one of the all-time great road and race legends: the 1959 250 GT SWB.
Known as the RML Short Wheelbase, and now reaching the end of an intensive development programme, the new model pays homage to the driving purity of supercars from the past, while offering occupants 21st-century comfort and convenience. With its front-mounted Ferrari V12 engine and instantly familiar lines, now formed over carbon fibre bodywork, the Short Wheelbase is a fast and usable Grand Routier of the highest order.
RML’s extensive experience bringing a range of high-tech products to market for OEMs – among them race cars, supercars and continuation models – meant that its team was adept at working with the Short Wheelbase’s original clean-sheet brief. The result is a car that integrates a raft of discreet modern features which transform it into a fast and usable GT, capable of swallowing large distances with a degree of comfort and convenience that wouldn’t have been dreamt of 60 years ago.
Executed to the very highest standards, RML’s Short Wheelbase is powered by a 5474cc Ferrari V12 engine, producing 478bhp (485PS) and 419lb ft (568Nm) of torque . Drive is delivered to the rear wheels through a Ferrari six-speed manual gearbox, and controlled by an open-gated manual shift. Performance is ‘ample’, according to RML, with 0-60mph arriving in 4.1 seconds, and a top speed in excess of 185mph.
“The Short Wheelbase was never conceived to compete, Top Trumps-style, with a typical supercar’s acceleration or top speed,” said Michael Mallock, RML’s Chief Executive. “Our car takes a step back from that, and while it’s certainly rapid, our emphasis has always been on capturing a more organic driving experience, with less intervention and more useable performance, while still making it comfortable and convenient enough for people to enjoy regularly on modern roads.”
That convenience has extended to a cabin that will accommodate occupants up to six foot, six inches (two metres) in height, on exquisitely-trimmed and electrically adjustable seats. And while the Short Wheelbase’s interior design captures a classic style, modern technology – such as satnav, air conditioning, cupholders and smartphone connectivity – has been artfully and discreetly integrated throughout.
Maintaining the familiar classic proportions was a priority from the start. While the car is larger dimensionally, the famous lines have been retained, and features like the stacked rear lights, exposed fuel filler, chip-cutter front grille and vents appearing behind each wheel and on the hood have all been carefully reimagined.
“After almost three years, we are nearing completion of the Short Wheelbase’s development,” said Michael Mallock. “While this is the first such car to wear RML’s name, our experience working on a variety of whole vehicle programmes – as a ‘white label’ partner to various OEMs - is extensive, and second to none. So this car showcases much of the experience we’ve gained from not only designing and building low-volume, high-end motor cars, but also implementing thorough testing procedures to make sure that driving them is an emotional experience for all the right reasons.”
The RML Short Wheelbase will go on sale in the last quarter of this year, with a limited production of around 30 cars.
Type 12 cylinders in a vee
Power 478bhp (485PS)
Torque 419lb ft (568Nm)
Gearbox 6-speed, manual
Top speed 185mph+
0-60mph 4.1 seconds (est.)
Length (with bumpers) 4264mm
Dry weight 1470kg
Wellingborough, UK – These are the first official interior images of RML’s new Short Wheelbase performance GT, which is due to launch this autumn with first customers cars ready in quarter-one of 2022.
Described by RML’s head of design, Jonathan Bowen, as ‘balanced and pretty, but purposeful and confident’, the new Ferrari V12-powered car is a fast and usable Grand Routier which takes its inspiration from the great road and race legends of yesteryear, but offers occupants 21st-century comfort and convenience.
Like its classic body design, which will be formed from carbon fibre, the Short Wheelbase’s cabin is a work of art, and while it appears beautifully analogue, technically and ergonomically it’s anything but. Designed to accommodate drivers from 5 ft to 6 ft 6 in, the interior is light and spacious, with excellent visibility front and rear.
“Very early on, we built a buck that could accept a broad range of human sizes,” recalls Bowen. “We actually built it around RML’s shortest employee, and tallest one – our CEO Michael Mallock wearing a race helmet, in fact! This effectively set the roof-line, and all other dimensions flowed from there.”
An adjustable steering column for reach and rake – something you’d never see in a car from the 50s or 60s – along with bespoke, multi-adjustable seats trimmed in a choice of leather or Alcantara, mean that almost any driver will find their perfect position in the car and be comfortable, even over a long distance.
“We had a ‘no-plastic’ mantra when we started designing the interior,” said Bowen. “It would have been easy to save tens of thousands of pounds buying off-the-shelf dials and controls, but they would not have met our high standards. Therefore, every switch, button and clock you see in the Short Wheelbase is bespoke, and developed in-house. The conical dials you see across the dashboard are inspired by high-end watchmaking, and everything you can see and touch in the cabin is either machined aluminium, glass or leather.”
And despite the Short Wheelbase cabin’s classic design, a raft of modern technology has been discreetly integrated to provide occupants with modern-day levels of comfort and convenience. A compact, but high-performance air conditioning unit has been developed to deal with even the hottest climes, illustrating RML’s vast experience with component engineering for other performance car OEMs. A pair of cup-holders and multiple cubbies around the cabin make long-distance travel more of a pleasure, while electric controls for windows, seats and mirrors blend neatly with more traditional design cues, like the open-gated six-speed manual gearshift.
But once again, RML’s expertise at producing and validating components and systems from scratch has paid dividends. “For example,” say Bowen, “we’ve developed a unique infotainment system for the Short Wheelbase that incorporates everything you’d expect from a high-end modern vehicle, such as Apple Car Play, Android Auto and mobile phone connectivity. The system can be hidden completely, and only pops up from the central gear-tunnel when it’s needed. To make sure that happened every time, we put it through a ten-thousand cycle test and it passed with flying colours!”