VL Destino Convertible live photos, 2014 Detroit Auto ShowEnlarge Photo
The idea of converting Fisker Karma range-extended electric luxury sedans into Corvette-powered V-8 hot rods is moving forward.
VL Automotive is snapping up Karmas from leftover dealer stock for conversion into Destino performance sedans, according to a report in industry trade journal Automotive News.
The company--cofounded by former General Motors product czar Bob Lutz--plans to remove the cars' extended-range electric powertrains and replace them with GM-sourced gasoline V-8s.
So far, one of VL's main problems has been finding cars to rebuild. Fisker hasn't built a car since 2012, so the supply is limited. That's why VL is turning to Fisker's small network of dealers and their leftover inventory.
VL co-founder and marketing executive Gilbert Villarreal told Automotive News that his company has secured 25 Karmas in this manner, even paying dealers commission for the sales.
VL-Automotive DestinoEnlarge Photo
All told, VL expects to turn around 1,000 Karma plug-in sedans into Destino hot rods, at a price of approximately $200,000 per car.
Villarreal also expects some current Karma owners to offer up their cars for conversion, although that's a different line of business for VL than converting unsold brand-new cars.
When new, the Karma carried a base price of around $106,000, with at least $10,000 of options available on top of that.
Having chassis on hand makes the Destino's future less uncertain. With Karma production shut down, VL's only other option would be to rely exclusively on the small cohort of around 2,000 existing Karma owners for conversion business.
However, the company is also prepared for a possible revival of Fisker, the remains of which will go up for public auction after a last-minute bid by Chinese auto-parts manufacturer Wanxiang.
With production restarted, VL could potentially get its hands on new Karma body shells, and wouldn't have to yank the guts out of existing cars bought from dealers.
If things go smoothly, VL may do more than replace the Karma sedan's powertrain and signature mustache grille.
At the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, VL showed the Destino Red concept, a convertible based on the Fisker Sunset concept from 2009.