A Moroccan supercar is not an oxymoron. The 2013 Laraki Epitome Concept is a prototype showing off the otherworldly style of this $2,000,000 exotic, with nine production cars possible for sale.
There are dozens of really worthwhile supercar startup companies out there, and car guys generally root for all of them to succeed. After all, a world with more horsepower and exhaust rumble can only be a good thing, right?
The standard article caveat for even the most impressive new brands might as well be boilerplate stamp: most new supercars fail rapidly versus the rapidly evolving tech and style of giants, like Ferrari and Porsche .
Laraki Automobiles folded in 2008 without making a single car for sale. Signs are not good for the Epitome’s success either.
Without a functioning Website, press releases, real specifications or any path to ordering one of these models (if you are not already a Laraki Yachts client like the King of Bahrain), the Epitome is not off to a good start.
Click past the jump for more info on this unique hypercar, which promises up to 1,750 horsepower and a 205 mph top speed for its outrageous price.
The sneaking suspicion that the Epitome is one man’s tacky vision of a supercar is hard to escape while reviewing the Laraki’s shapes.
Dozens of air slashes and pseudo-aerodynamic air foils line the rounded nose, which seems much higher than the similar Corvette bones underneath. A generic grille shape is trimmed in more aero ribs and gloss black for a part of a pinched nose image. Huge fender flares have their own swage line and corner character up front, which looks like a terrible copy of the Aston Martin One-77 or McLaren P1 .
Exposed projector beam lamps handle illumination, and there is also a strip of white LED dots in the front vent corner. These look extremely cheap, perhaps from a hot new automotive OEM supplier... known as eBay.
Huge side ribs make the profile seem like a backwards Ferrari 512TR, with the horizontal planes in front of the doors a pointless feature that even Batman would decline.
Unique shells for the side mirrors and rear fenders keep all the basic Corvette hard points and chassis design underneath - adding almost $2,000,000 to the $50,000 base price of a normal Corvette in the process.
In back, similar gloss black ridges and pseudo-venturi spoilers decorate the rear bumper, which looks very busy with an excessive amount of fake vents and chrome grilles. No front-engine car needs this much trunk venting.
Hmmm, if the car modifying mantra is ’Do No Harm,’ the Laraki Epitome’s cabin is a big fail. Racing seats are welcome in a nice tan leather that is far softer than any from Chevy, but the rest of the cabin is a total disaster.
A racing steering wheel is re-trimmed to match the rest of the leather-lined cabin, but the style is awful and packs cheap silver trims all around that would look out of place on a new Dodge Dart, let alone a Bugatti rival.
Poorly integrated HVAC controls and a virtually impossible-to-see screen appear on the redesigned dashboard - but there is no indication anything works in here besides the original GM wiper/blinker stalks. No pictures have been released of the car’s interior with working displays, which is a problem without any speedometer whatsoever.
Overall, the quality of the design and execution of this cabin makes it far worse than any Corvette.
Drivetrain, Suspension and Brakes
In addition to the other qualms about this car’s big promises, the horsepower totals mentioned in Pebble Beach were outlandish. 1,750 horsepower was promised on racing gasoline with a 110 octane rating, or 1,100 horsepower on regular gas.
A claimed "quad-turbocharged 7.0-liter V-8 from the last Z06 provides power to the rear wheels via a paddle shift automatic.
No word on if this is a sequential manual or the base Corvette’s slushbox automatic, but our bet is on the latter.
An automatic gearbox will have dismal durability, as will the engine. Tuning and upping power is from the Corvette is big business for Lingenfelter, Hennessey and many more, so the amateurish claims from Laraki hold little to no credibility.
Additionally, the engine note from above does not sound turbocharged, and the black hood panel stayed shut.
2013 Laraki Epitome Concept - Performance Details:
|Engine||7.0-liter Quad Turbocharged 16-valve OHV V-8, claimed|
|Powertrain Layout||Front-engine, Rear-drive|
|Curb Weight (Pounds)||2800, claimed|
|0-60 mph (seconds)||3.5, Est.|
|Top Speed||205, claimed|
|EPA Fuel Economy MPG (City/Highway/Combined)||13/15/19, est|
Pricing and Availability
Laraki claims that the Epitome Concept can be produced for sale at a price of $2,000,000 per car. A total of nine cars are possible in the production run, but previous failed launches do not bode well.
Considering that the gorgeous and fully-engineered Giugiaro Parcour SUV concept (based on a Gallardo) sold at Pebble Beach 2013 for only $650,000 - the Epitome’s price and lack of any details makes it a bad joke.
Driving a Corvette outside the U.S. has never been quite as good as roaring down Route 66 or Woodward Avenue. In the last 10 years, or so, driving a Corvette in Africa and the Middle East will not make you popular.
The Epitome’s additional exterior styling is absolutely classless, nothing works inside and it will be far, far less reliable than any Corvette.
In never hurts to root for an underdog, but in Laraki’s case, the Epitome is clearly a vanity project to re-skin a C6 Chevrolet Corvette with carbon-fiber and pretend turbochargers.
Even so, this vanity project is embarrassingly bad.
- More new hypercars is usually a good thing... but
- Laraki is going for strike three
- Clearly nothing more than a custom Corvette
- Looks worse, no interior, pretend turbochargers
- Pebble Beach 2013’s Worst Debut, Worst Dressed List, Most Worthless...
The Epitome Concept is Laraki’s extreme yet elegant interpretation of the mid-front engine hypercar theme. Designed and built by Laraki of California, Epitome is a muscular and aggressive, but still inviting. Proportion, distinctive shape, and unusual surface treatments, and the natural play of light work in harmony to yield the concept’s unique character and stance.
At a glance one immediately knows the the Epitome can achieve a high level of performance. Extensive use of carbon fiber and aluminum, selected for their mechanical and lightweight properties, yield a 1400kg performer powered by an 1100 hp quad turbo 7-liter v8 engine. And there you have it: the Epitome exemplifies the universal formula for an extraordinary car-light weight and high power. The Epitome’s chassis and suspension are also state of the art, ensuring unrivaled coaction.
More than a hypercar, the Laraki Epitome is a work of art., triggering multiple sensory and emotional connections. Every detail-the side mirrors, bold doors, sleek hood, air ducts and other components-has been hand crafted with great care and attention to optimize both aesthetics and moxie.
Making its world debut at the 2013 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, only a handful of Epitomes will be built for the world to appreciate and for exclusive owners to enjoy.