Sure, you're thinking, "Yeah, nice computer model. Anybody with a mouse can do that." But check out the second picture. Yep, that's Neal Bailey sitting in the Blade as it's being mocked up in Baileyspeed's top-secret workshop (a.k.a. Bailey's garage).
The car's stats are as impressive as its looks, too. A Roush 353 with 480 HP. Fiberglass over box steel frame with a target weight of 2,200 pounds. Four-wheel independent suspension and six-way adjustable shocks and adjustable coil-overs. Price? Bailey only says he hopes to make it "affordable", a truly relative term if you ask someone on a blogger's income.
Bailey tells us that he hopes to have a for-sale version by the end of 2008 depending on how development goes. We asked him a few questions about the project, and you can read the interview after the jump. Be sure to check out our gallery for a few select photos of the Blade's development, and if you want more, there are literally hundreds on Baileyspeed's website.
AB: I noticed a link to Lone Star Classics on your Web site. What's the connection? Will they be offering the Blade as a kit?
I am their web developer & hosting service and I also bought a Cobra from them last year. The other connection is a kind of partnering to help make the Blade project a reality. I am good friends with the new owner and I am using some of their resources to have things made such as their mold/fiberglass facilities and chassis facilities. The Blade prototype is using their current Cobra chassis with some modification to accommodate more modern racing suspension that is fully adjustable. We have talked about LSC being the dealership and builder for it when it's ready for production but nothing is firm yet.
AB: Another link is to Motorsport Ranch. What's their connection?
I also designed and host their website as well. And I race cars out there when I get the time... everything from Porsches, Miatas to Cobras whatever I can get my hands on. I try to stay up on racing as much as possible so that I can make sure that I design a proper sports car that can handle the track with the best of them. The other benefit is that it gives me a nice testing ground for my prototype. I have also developed a friendship with the owner.
AB: Who is the Blade's designer? Tell us about the development team and their background.
I am the designer and builder... The "team" pretty much consists of only me at the moment. Lone Star could be considered part of the team as well but truly it's really just me. They will not have any ownership of the car when it's complete. Once I am ready for the mold process I will probably develop a team to help build the cars.
AB: The Blade looks to be a well-integrated amalgam of automotive design, was there any one model that contributed elements?
Well there were a few cars that inspired me before I started development about 6 months ago. Here the story... I had a long drive to work and as a spent my time stuck stop and go traffic every morning I would look at all the cars on the road that grabbed my attention. I then wrote down and sketched the specific area that stood out as looking nice. I looked at everything from Porsches, BMW Z4 - Z8 to Dodge's Challenger. I then wanted to take modern styling and mix it with old styling of the 60s. I chose the Cobra since I have always loved the way they looked. Once I had a concept down in my head I then went and downloaded a few different fee-ware CAD programs and began designing the car on the computer.
AB: What's left to do before we see a rolling prototype?
Well there is a lot to do... I am basically finishing up the body buck and tweaking as I go. Lately I have just overcome some of the major issues that I noticed a lot of people that try to do this run into, which are the front windshield and side windows. Most people have a hard time with this as it is very expensive to have custom glass made. I noticed a lot of people design there cars around looks rather than function. I approached it differently and much like the auto makers do. I chose a car that I could use all the glass from and that was common enough to keep the cost down. I chose the early model of Mazda MX5. The MX5 is basically the foreign version of the mustang as it's very common and parts are easy to get and are cheap. I am also using other standard components such as tail lights and headlights. Anyway I am still in the early stages of the foam shaping process, once I am done with this I will apply a thin layer of fiberglass and then begin detailing and sanding the body down to a show car finish and prepping it for the mold process. I expect this to be ready for molding in early 08.
AB: When should we see the Blade for sale?
I am planning on having it for sale sometime before the end of 2008. It will depend on how the track testing goes and what problem may pop up on us. I am hoping to have sped things up a little by using the parts that I chose such as the LSC chassis and windshield.
AB: How much do you expect the car to sell for?
Well price is undetermined at the moment... I plan to make it affordable. I do not plan to sell it for supercar prices that's for sure. I plan to release pricing once I get closer to the molding process, at this time I should have all my cost analysis figured out.
AB: When do you we get to drive it?
At the end of 2008 I hope... I plan to build 5 Turn keys for sell possibly more. Once these sell I will then look at offering it in specific kit configurations.