The Italian Junkyard

Thoughts, ideas, criticism about cars. Interesting news and facts from the world of the automobile. Events in Italy and Modena. What you can find elsewhere, filtered through the eyes of a discerning enthusiast. Design, style, everything on the chopping block. Nobody is safe anymore.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

6.4 Italian Rapsody, Faralli & Mazzanti Vulca S

I was waiting for an e-mail from Faralli & Mazzanti with some info and data on the Vulca S, but August is the month during which everything stops in Italy, hence the delay since the last post here.
I was also a bit short on inspiration, and I wanted this review to be well done, partially to match the poor quality images I took of the car, and something I somehow still blame myself of knowing I won't likely see this car once another time.
Well, I guess it's too late to complain.

In a brief contact with F&M I also had little glimpse of what was behind the Antas V8 project, and partially the Vulca as well. It helped to understand both products and the brand itself better, and it made me even more curios to know more about them.
If I'm lucky enough, I'll get a visit at the Faralli & Mazzanti atelier, that would be awesome.

Let's talk about the car know.
The Vulca is a completely different project from the Antas. Where the Antas was made to showcase the craftsmanship ability and the stylish extravaganza of the company, the Vulca is a real product, ready to be driven by ten lucky owners willing to own a tailored exotic, rather then a customized one. A suit designed by Zsolt Tarnok.

Perhaps the point is exactly this, tailoring rather than customizing, being personal rather than smply unique. Even if the these ideas better fit the Antas, the Vulca isn't just another BMW 6 Series (E63) in a fancy bodywork and with a debatable interior.
I don't have any specific data saying it is a 6er E63, but that V10 engine sounds like an enlarged M6 unit, and the wheelbase, and the material, are the same of the Bimmer. Also, the proportions of the central console are the same.
The car is by no means objectively beautiful, especially on the interior, but probably that's not the purpose. After all, if something is generally regarded as good looking, it's also a bit banal.
Not saying a certain super hot model isn't appealing anymore just because everyone likes her, but there is always something we are going to fell in love with and which isn't “that” beautiful to someone else's eyes. “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” is good yet a bit sterile summarize.

Now, I've struggled to identify a common and homogeneous path on the Vulca's body, there where parts that just weren't fitting the car as a unique body.
Depending on the angle, looking at the rear I was expecting a different front end, looking at the front grille I was then looking for a different side view and so on.
At first it was the grille, than the rear diffuser, then again the front LEDs, or the rims and so on.
Having the car in front of me just made it much clearer. At first those LEDs still seemed randomly positioned, but then I understood it was due to the lightning and th black part they are attached on, making them appearing as if they were suspended in the air. Looking closer to them they are extremely finished, and the position also helps lightening and giving more dynamism an otherwise pretty massive front end.
The rear diffuser is quite big, or so is the black plastic area surrounding it, but it's not the real issue.
I think the upper part of the tail, the volume created connecting each side of the car from where the rear lights are, to be a little too flat, and not curvaceous enough to match the volume created by what I think is the boot lid. I don't think it's bad looking, I'd just have gone for a bit more boat-tail shape, matching the strong rear wheel arches. Well, now I know what to ask for when time will come for my own Faralli & Mazzanti car...
I really like the rear lights, especially their position inside of the body in a way it's usually adopted for headlights. Watching the car from the back, they just move the car a bit forward, giving a dynamic view of the body and the feeling of something quite performing too.

The rear wheel arch is actually a bit too small. Let me explain: it's a huge volume, and it's also pretty independent from the rest of the car, but it isn't as wide as the tire behind it. Now this isn't a real problem, it's just that we all know how large a rear tire is on a such a car, and we also know a wheel arch is made to cover a, well, a tire. I don't think it's a real flaw, it's rather an impression, probably something that just take a bit more to be accustomed with.
The side on the other hand is excellent. Perhaps a bit lower greenhouse would have been even better, but this more of a grand tourer, a real gran turismo, not a sportscar as somehow the Antas was. I know some of view thinks of something like a Ferrari F430 (or by the new standards, a 458 Italia), but I think it is something more about the spirit, the attitude of a car rather than its performance or technologies.
The front evolves in a pretty simple way, with a flat bonnet and wheels arches which are completely integrated on the whole side of the car. The grille becomes the real apex of the car, like a sort of arrow, an edge, it isn't just a brand recognizing object, one of those parts that if removed and substituted with one from another company would have changed the whole brand perception of the car. While Audi is all about its front grilles, Mercedes-Benz' cars feature something which isn't always functional to the whole style. It's a Mercedes-Benz, so it has to sport that grille, regardless of it being an A or an S-Klasse. It isn't a matter of badges, but rather of grilles becoming a badge themselves. Now I'm digressing.
Perhaps the Vulca's grille isn't functional from an aerodynamic or thermal point of view, but it definitely fits the style much more than on the Vulca.
I'm a bit surprised that such a simple and flat bonnet is working on such a curvaceous, but I like it.

I have to say these OZ rims are growing on me, still I don't like them completely. Perhaps all those carbon fiber bits and bites on the Antas somehow fit them more than the classy and curvaceous body, but they don't appear out of place. Probably a classic filled rim as those featured on the Lancia Thesis or the Bugatti EB112, EB118 and EB218 concept cars, would have been a too obvious and inappropriate choice, while these, even if looking quite busy, work with a part of the car you can see on the inside.

When you open the door, the first thing you think of is “yellow”. Yellow as the leather covering the whole cockpit. The second thing is “red”, as those painted (carbon fiber?) parts that create the doors' handles or the central console. Finally, you notice that hi-tech central console, dominated by a huge racing LCD screen.
It may seem out of place, I thought that too quite for some time, but it eventually made sense as this car, as a grand tourer and a pretty performing one too, just needs a proper command console to control everything. It may appear tacky, but I think it's better integrated than a lot of sat navs you can see in everyday production cars.
The colors combo, and the lightning, were creating a very warm and a bit too enveloping, but I didn't really seat in the car let alone drive it for some miles, so it was just an impression, and I'm pretty sure it's all about the colors and the lights of the event rather than the design of the cabin itself. I liked this ambient overall, a bit weird with once again all that leather but also the LCD screens and that unusual steering wheel, but really all about enjoying a long journey.
I don't know if the rear seats are as comfortable as the front look, or if the small side windows for the second row isn't creating a claustrophobic effect as others perceived in a Maserati GranTurismo, but I'll have the chance to get in the car, I'll let you know...yeah, right...

About the technical side of the car, as I said at the beginning I didn't receive a confirm, but I strongly believe the chassis is based on the BMW 6 Series E63, as the nearly identical wheelbase, the aluminum structure and one of the engine seem to indicate.
While the 6er is relatively a new comer in this segment, it is also on of the larger cars available without considering boat sized cars like the Mercedes-Benz CL, allowing for fluent design, a spacious cabin, and more freedom on the volumes of the car.
It isn't perhaps the more capable, albeit still a good performer, but many applications by tuners proved the platform is quite capable and provides room for improvements.
So it isn't really a shocking news to see powerful and large engines under the bonnet. If enlarging the S85B50 V10 from the M division was an easy call for the Vulca S (5.8 liters, 630 bhp), adopting a larger V12 (probably the N73 now increased at 7.1 liters and good for 520 bhp) for the more sedate version of the Vulca sounds a bit of an oxymoron, but this engine is surely going to provide more torque and most of all softer torque's and power's curves.
Ironically, the original BMW 6 Series never received a V12 engine to match the CL offer.

Credit for the project are to be given their main partners and supplier, as OZ Racing for the rims, Continental Italia which provided the right tires, Black srl which was responsible for the interior finish, AIM Sportline for the electronics, Delta Sigma which provided a bespoke audi and video HiFi system.

Hope you enjoyed this short trip in the Italian craftsmanship and extravaganza.

The Italian Junkyard.

All Images Copyright: Damiano Garro

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