The ZENVO ST1
Super car fans, it's time to praise the Danes. Can you recall a 100% Danish designed and built super car? No? That's because there isn't one. Not until now, has there ever been a real super car designed by and manufactured purely by the Danish.
Owner Jesper Jensen and his crew of engineers and designers at ZENVO Automotive, have made automotive history, incidentally putting Denmark at the top of the super car league, with the introduction of the ZENVO ST1. 1104 hp, 1000 lb/ft of torque, power that could pull a house off of it's foundation, looks that would make super models feel self-conscious and fat, and build quality that rivals a Rolex watch. This car violently shook the super car planet when it was first revealed some two years ago.
Starting with the design, since that's the part that startles you when you first glance at it, one might find a certain fantastical familiarity in that ferocious facia. Seeming to be the spawn of a Star Wars stormtrooper and Princess Leia, it would be incredibly coincidental if that were to be an accident, but it is not. The amazingly gifted designer of the ZENVO ST1 happens to be a Star Wars fan and professes to being influenced by some of the many wonderful characters in the story, especially your friendly neighborhood Stormtroopers. We think it's a rather handsome interpretation without being blatant. In other words, if you ask it a question, you won't get the voice of the oblivious inhabitant of a neat hollywood costume muttering some unintelligible gibberish.
To continue on the topic of design on a more serious note, the designer also professes to a more intellectual aspect of the ZENVO concept—new chassis design. Just looking at the shape of the profile, it is clear something is very unusual. For a mid-engine car, the entire cockpit is rather far back relative to the front wheels. The roof line flows off the rear of the car like a front engine coupe. The front overhang is, well it is different.
Why then this new design? If a wind tunnel could speak, you'd get the most thorough answer. At high speeds, air flow over and through the body is more important then cash-flow in the pocket. The shape of the ZENVO design is all about achieving proper balanced air flow over the car for downforce and into the car for cooling, and doing it without mounting a sprint car wing on the roof and a hood scoop on the trunk lid. This sleek yet featured shape generates all the downforce the ZENVO needs to stick to the planet.
Cleverly designed and placed pockets, creases and grills, all generate the downforce needed without the need of winglets and race car fins. Where there is boost there is a need for air so there are the inevitable gaping holes in various places. The front has a huge grill but it is so well designed, balanced with the rest of the car without compromising effectiveness. Of course, we know this car goes well over 200 mph so, a rear wing to keep the business end behind you is mandatory.
The ZENVO philosophy is not to over-engineer and reinvent the automobile, but rather to rethink what is wrong with super cars and reengineer what is right. Basically ZENVO engineers decided to keep it simple and tight as opposed to say, a certain Japanese luxury car maker's massively over-engineered attempt at super-car-dom. The ZENVO ST1 does not make any compromises, from the business aspect to the engineering to the design, this is a real world super car. The build concept is very straight forward making the car simple to build, work on, and enjoy.
The big factors are in the elements that make up the base of the car: chassis, suspension and motor. The chassis design is a new take on the mid-engine concept, giving the car a phenomenally aggressive stance while at the same time giving it incredible handling. The wheelbase is extra long in comparison to most similar vehicles, and though you might assume that would affect handling at low speeds, just the opposite is true, amongst other positive attributes.
A longer wheelbase on a rear wheel drive, high horse power car, allows the car to squat the back end under hard acceleration, which is more stable, rather then to lift the nose which is less stable. The long wheelbase also adds tremendous stability at high speeds, and with a totally unknown top speed, this becomes imperative to ones well being. The engine follows the same intelligent philosophy of viable simplicity. Designed from scratch, this engine is a completely proprietary design based on the classic 90º V8.
The choice of engine style was determined by the designers' desire to outfit the ST1 with power and longevity. Their checklist included things like reliability, lightness, strength and durability, as well as train-loads of power. Known for it's strength and notoriety as a raw power engine in it's naturally aspirated form, the 90º V8 was the ideal choice as a light, powerful base to build a monster out of. What ZENVOs engineers created effectively is a power plant that could power a small city, purpose built to power this one vehicle alone! Their goal was to make a hyper boosted V-8, that is super charged and turbo charged, that would be simple and yet advanced, but accessible and workable as opposed to say the completely obsolete W-16 engine from you know who.
Suspension and drive train are effectively race car engineering. The ST1's asphalt wrinkling power is delivered via Hydraulic LSD to a rear wheel drive set-up, through a 6 speed manual transmission. Yet, though the ZENVO ST1 is ready for the track out of the box, it seems to us that as opposed to most super cars, it is so enjoyably sophisticated that you just want to cruise around, briskly of course, as opposed to banging apexes and testing fate with it.
So then there is left only the element of exclusivity. ZENVO Automotive says only 15 ST1s will be built and so far, most of them have sold. We understand there maybe three left. At $1.2M and a 6 month build time, that's pretty exclusive. Along with the car and the prestige, the fortunate owner of an ST1 also gets the best concierge service in the business.
What more could a car guy, with a lot of loot to wrap up in a collectible venture, want? There it is, the greatest super car ever to date, history made in the automotive world, 100% exclusively Danish super car. Immense. But wait! There's more! Though intentionally sounding like an infomercial, the point is serious—there is something even greater then the ST1. Not to bum out any owners of the current ST1, but there is a car that is actually faster and more powerful and even more exclusive, if you can believe that.
First let's consider who would do such a thing? Who could be crazy enough to make a car that tops the ST1!?! The culprits are none other then ZENVO and US based super car distributor, Red Sea Distribution. Together they decided to produce a more insane version of the ST1 called the ST1 50S, (fifty states) exclusively for the US, and then only 3 of them. One red, one white and one blue and that's it.
We did say 'a more insane version' so exactly how much more insane can the 50S be over the 'standard' ST1? The 50S has 1250hp, 1100 lb/ft of torque, 0-62 time of under 3.0 seconds, though both versions are limited to 233mph electronically, we think the 50S can achieve light speed, and it has a 7 Speed F1 Sequential gearbox. Not "like" F1. It IS an F1 gearbox. Producing almost 500hp more then an F1 car, it seems reasonable to say that is a most suitable gearbox.
The price tag on the St1 50S is a bit spicier then the 'standard' version at $1.8M but it is really rare, and really worth it. Remember, the ST1 is a historic car, setting a precedent for the Danish in the super car world, and in the super car design world altogether, and establishing them as true super car builders. Owning one is owning a piece of automotive history, unlike too many other pieces of history you could own. As pricey as the 50S is, so is the value.
Turn up the volume on the benefits of ownership over the ST1 by a few notches, as the 50S steps up the exclusivity. The concierge service is one level shy of a daily foot massage, and each vehicle gets personalized for the individual owners, making each of them, the only one of their kind. Of course we are talking top of the heap, cream of the crop, so along with the elite service onwers will recieve a ZENVO Aspen watch valued at over $49,000. I know I match my socks to my tie, why wouldn't I match my watch to my car, if I had that kind of freedom to choose. We think maybe the term super car is no longer fitting of this class of vehicle, so we prefer to term the ZENVO ST1 and the ZENVO ST1 50S as ultra-cars.
For more information about the ZENVO and other ultra-cars, go to www.redseadistribution.com or stay tuned to the RSD Facebook page.