A couple of weeks ago, when GM was trotting the Camaro Convertible Concept around the country, there was another throwback hotrod along for the ride: the Soprano Purple Holden Efijy. The car was created two years ago, in 2005, by Richard Ferlazzo, a designer at Holden (otherwise known as GM Down Under). When Autoblog wasn't busy ogling the Camaro, we were checking out the Efijy in all its future retro splendor. Follow the jump for the story, and be sure to check out the gallery of hi-res pics.
Click on any image to view the high-res gallery.
Hanging out in and with cars like the Holden Efijy brings two questions to mind: the first is, if car designers are designing stuff like this, how come we get stuff that's... to put it kindly, not at all like this?
Like the Camaro, the Efijy is an even wilder update of a former automotive icon: the FJ Holden, called "Australia's most famous car." (That's also where eFiJy comes from -- get it?) The Efijy specifically references postwar FJ's, the 1953 in particular. Chief Designer Richard Ferlazzo first sketched the car in 1989, and finally got a chance to build it in 2005. As the GM press packet said, "the car delivers retro, mumbo, and gizmos in one glorious package." While we didn't lay our hands on any mumbo, we're sure it's stuffed somewhere in the car's 17+ foot length -- just a few inches shorter than a Bentley Arnage. It was built on a stretched C5 Corvette chassis, and the adjustable air suspension can lower the car to about a half an inch off the ground. So yes, it's just as low and long as it looks in the pics.
The supercharged 6.0-liter LS2 engine is good for 645 hp. The 1953 FJ had 60. The LS2 looks like a tiny chrome jewel in the massive engine bay because the car is more than six and a half feet wide, but the span isn't noticeable until you raise the hood. A rear-mounted four-speed autobox is worked with illuminated pushbuttons where there would normally be a stick. (Speaking of that transmission, somewhere along the way the computer went out and the transmission control module lost its settings, so the car had to be manually put in gear, which meant we didn't get to drive it.) A limited slip differential keeps the 22-inch by 10-inch wide rear wheels doing something other than spinning. The exhaust is especially nice, a 2.5-inch dual affair in billet aluminum contoured flush with the bodywork.
Ferlazzo's aim was to combine the raw might and appeal of glory days hotrods with the technology available today, which is really on display inside. Proximity sensors open the doors as you approach (sadly, we didn't get to sample this feature). In addition to that pushbutton transmission, there's a drop-down touchscreen LCD that controls the air suspension, sat-nav, radio, and other functions. The retro stereo graphic that appears onscreen controls a 2000-watt system with a hard drive for audio and video. The instrument cluster is electronic. The floor is hardwood: maple timber veneer with aluminum bands. Dual filament LED's inside can provide different colored mood lighting. LED's do illumination duty outside front and rear, with the LED headlamps cooled by fans.
When you're sitting in the car, visibility is meager, to say the least. The car's beltline comes right up to your shoulder, and your buried in tombstone bucket seats that scrape the ground. But that's all right -- everyone outside has great visibility of you inside. As far as the sound of the car, while the tech accents might be all about today, the rumble is straight from 1953. When they started the car up, everyone knew it. Except for the fact that you're driving a purple car, there could be few better ways to hotrod comfortably than in an Efijy. You could rumble from coast to coast in climate-controlled, aural bliss. You wouldn't see much, but you'd look marvelous.
Because of suppliers who wanted to be involved with the project and donated parts and time, the car only cost $250,000 to create. There will probably never be another. Which brings us to the second question we have when we hang out with cars like the Efijy: how come Autoblog doesn't have a team of designers, the resources of a major auto manufacturer, and a herd of suppliers willing to supply free loot? We've got dream cars, too. And they're really good. We promise.
Holden Efijy Specs:
Length: 5162mm Width: 1999mm
Height – drive setting: 1386mm Height – show setting: 1274mm
Ground clearance - drive: 139mm Ground clearance - show: 27mm
Track front: 1640mm Track rear: 1660mm
Engine: GM 6.0-litre, LS2 aluminium V8 with Roots-type supercharger
Bore and stroke: 101.6 mm x 92.0 mm
Compression ratio: 10.9:1
Power and torque: 480kW (645 bhp) @ 6400 rpm
Torque: 775Nm (560 ft/lb) @ 4200 rpm
Exhaust: Custom designed, block hugger headers, stainless steel 2.5-inch dual system, billet aluminium exhaust tips
Transaxle: GM four-speed electronic automatic transmission, push button electronic control, limited slip differential
Body: Two door pillarless coupe, glass fibre bodyshell; remote door release and proximity sensor systems; polished billet aluminium brightwork
Colour: "Soprano Purple" custom ' kandy ' mix
Head lamps: High intensity LED head lamps; LED park and turn-signal lamps
Tail lamps: LED dual color stop/tail and turn signal lamps; LED single 'blue dot'; LED centre high mount stoplamp
Chassis: Modified Chevrolet Corvette. Front mounted engine, torque tube driveline, rear mounted transaxle
Suspension: Modified Chevrolet Corvette. Forged upper and lower control arms; height adjustable airbag suspension units with electronic control
Steering: Variable ratio rack and pinion
Wheels: Billet aluminium – 20 x 9-inch front, 22 x 10-inch rear
Tyres: Dunlop SP Sport - 9090 255/35 ZR 20 front, 9000 285/30 ZR 22 rear
Brakes: 381mm grooved and ventilated rotors; six-piston aluminium calipers (front), four-piston aluminium calipers (rear); electric park brake
Seats: Electric tombstone-style bucket, leather trimmed, integral seat belts
Headliner: Leather trimmed
Steering wheel: Billet aluminium and leather
Flooring: Figured maple timber veneer with aluminium inserts
Instruments: LCD screen display, drop-down touch control LCD screen
Entertainment: Hard drive audio and video file system; 2000W amplifier, 1000W RMS subwoofer, two x 200W RMS mid-bass, two x 100W RMS split mid-range, two x 100W RMS directional tweeters
Lighting: LED interior courtesy lamps; LED sill plate illumination lamps