The Ferrari RML 250 GT SWB may be the ultimate expression of automotive Retro-futurismby Dim Angelov, on
Combining modern hardware with a timeless classic shape is a dream for many automotive enthusiasts. Although there are more than a few companies that engage in such activities, very few actually go the extra length to achieve a more vintage driving experience. British company RML has done just that with this beautiful interpretation of the iconic Ferrari 250 GT SWB, based on the Ferrari 550 Maranello. RML has a long history of making bespoke chassis setups for various applications, including Motorsports. Some of their work includes the 2014 Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge prototype (the one powered by the R35 GTR engine) and a road conversion for the track-only Aston Martin Vulcan.
2021 Ferrari 550 Maranello Short Wheelbase by RML
It’s obvious that the people from RML know what they are doing. They have the track record to prove it and they are not shy about saying it. Their latest project is further testimony to that. What do you need in order to recreate a classic front-engine V-12 Ferrari? Why, you need a more modern front-engine V-12 Ferrari, of course.
RML has gone above and beyond with the Ferrari 550 Maranello chassis. They’ve shortened it to the point where it matches the wheelbase of the original 1950s classic. The Ferrari 550 itself is a much newer car, but it still provides a visceral enough driving experience, which makes it an ideal platform. RML will set the suspension in a way that provides the sophistication of a modern car, but with a more engaging character.
The 550’s Bilstein dampers have been replaced with a set of Ohlins dampers. The car also features unique sprig rates and new anti-roll bars. In addition, the car sits much lower to the ground and, combined with the short wheelbase, makes for a much sharper driving experience. The 18-inch retro-inspired wheels are wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero Rosso tires, for practical reasons. “We had the option of going with a bespoke tire, but we needed to future-proof maintenance of the car for owners in different markets, so having the reassurance that the Pirelli tire will be in production for the foreseeable future was crucial.”, Nic explains.
The 550 Maranello’s 5.5-liter naturally-aspirated V-12 unit has been left untouched. It produces the same 478 horsepower (356 kilowatts) and 420 pound-feet (570 Nm). RML says their 250 GT SWB can sprint from 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) in just 4.1 seconds, while the top speed is over the 185 mph (299 km/h) mark. What’s even better is that the formidable V-12 unit has been "married" to a six-speed manual, for ol’ time’s sake.
|Engine||5.5-liter naturally-aspirated V-12|
|0 to 60 mph||4.1 seconds|
|Top Speed||185 mph|
It is not recommended you try that with 1952 original, though. While the 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) time is not that far off, at 4.5 seconds, its top speed is just 150 mph (241 km/h). Still impressive for the early 1950s.
The classic shape isn’t just for looks and nostalgia. It’s also functional. Nic Rutherford – Project Lead Engineer for the 250 GT SWB notes that the reduced front overhang (the 550 Maranello had a lot of that) brings the car’s weight closer to the center of gravity. This, together with other tweaks, such as relocating the battery to the rear, further optimize the car’s weight distribution, thus improving the driving dynamics of the car.
RML has introduced a new tuning element. The SWB has different aerodynamics than the 550 Maranello, so CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) testing was used to predict the car’s lift at high speeds.
Like the exterior of the RML 250 GT Short Wheelbase, the interior is a modern execution of a classic design. Clients will be able to choose between a few Alcantara and leather flavors. In addition, RML promises that all shapes and sizes would be able to fit inside the car and find their perfect driving position. Did we mention the gated shifter?
In terms of chassis rigidity, the 550’s steel underpinnings are carried over. That said, the largely aluminum 550 Maranello body has been entirely replaced with bespoke composite body panels. This means less weight and more rigidity.
The car itself is in its final stages and a press car will be ready around October this year. The first customer cars will arrive in the first quarter of 2022. As for RML, they’ve proven their expertise with various OEMs, in both motorsports and road applications. This also includes EV technology, which is among their fastest-growing specializations. Although it’s probably a matter of time before they give us a retro-inspired EV, as others have already done, they still are very much into giving us epic cars that burn gasoline. In fact, another retro-inspired V-12 car – the GTO Engineering Squalo – is expected to debut around the same time, as the 550-based 250 GT SWB.