By now, you probably already know about all the drama with Fisker Automotive. There was that lawsuit between Hendrik Fisker and Aston Martin, the bankruptcy of Fisker’s battery supplier, and finally the bankruptcy of Fisker Automotive. Shortly after the bankruptcy, the brand was purchased by Wanxiang Group, and the name was eventually changed to Karma – the name of the only vehicle produced by Fisker Automotive. What a lot of people don’t know, however, is that before Fisker became an actual car company and built the Karma, it was a coachbuilder. As a coachbuilder, it built two different cars, one of which was the Fisker Tramanto

The Tramonto is an interesting vehicle all the way around. It shares the architecture of the Mercedes SL55 AMG, but since it was designed by Henrik Fisker, it shares some design cues with the BMW Z8. Originally, 150 examples of the Tramanto were to be built, but in the end, Fisker only manage to hand build a total of 15 – making it one of the world’s most unknown collectables. With an AMG-sourced V-8 and transmission under the hood, the car was essentially a Mercedes that looked like a BMW.

For being so rare and unknown, it was actually a beautiful car. It seems like Henrik Fisker never exactly has the best of luck, but he sure could design a car. It’s too bad the Fisker brand was never able to take off like it could have, but Fisker has said he has plans to launch a new car company in the future. Until then, let’s take a good look back at the Tramanto – the car from Fisker that you probably haven’t heard about.

  • 2006 Fisker Tramonto
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    5,5 liter V8
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
  • Torque @ RPM:
  • 0-60 time:
    3.6 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    202 mph
  • body style:


2006 Fisker Tramonto
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2006 Fisker Tramonto
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2006 Fisker Tramonto
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The Tramonto had a really smooth and clean overall design. Up front, the car had a radiator grille that was shaped similar to that of Chevy’s “Bowtie” emblem. There was a vertical splitter in the middle of the grille that lined up with the Fisker emblem on the hood. The turn signal and running lights were rectangular in shape and integrated into each side of the grille. Down below the grill there was a wide air dam that was rectangular in shape and featured a small, circular fog light on each end.

The most interesting part of the exterior, however, are the five-spoke wheels that the car rides on.

Moving over to the sides, there is even more smoothness to talk about. There is a small vent on the fender that transitions into a body line. That body line runs across the door, is centered with the door handle and fades into the rear quarters above the rear wheel arches. Aside from that, the rear wheel arches are flared out a bit, but not much.

The rear of the car was just as gorgeous as the front. The rear deck lid, which is also responsible for hiding the top when it is down, wraps over the end of the vehicle and buts up to the rear fascia – similar to that of a normal trunk lid. The taillights are thin units that wrap from the rear end to the rear quarters. There is another set of lights with integrated reverse lights in a thin vent that runs the width of the rear fascia. Down below there is a rectangular exhaust exit on each corner of the fascia with a chrome plate installed between them.

The most interesting part of the exterior, however, are the five-spoke wheels that the car rides on. They are of the deep dish variety and were designed by Henrik Fisker himself. The other notable thing to mention is the fit and finish of the body panels themselves. Each body panel fits so tightly together that the seam between them is almost hard to spot. The same thing goes for the seams around the doors and the rear decklid as well.


2006 Fisker Tramonto
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On the inside, the Tramonto had a healthy dose of fine Italian leather. As you can see in the images here, the seats and dashboard are all wrapped in a tan-like brown leather while the waistline around the top is wrapped in black leather. All materials are hand trimmed, and hand stitched together. The center console has a large, milled aluminum accent plate as well as the gear shifter.

Otherwise, the interior is a rather simplistic design. The instrument cluster features just four, brightly backlit gauges with the speedo and tachometer located in the middle with smaller gauges in the corner. The center stack had a small infotainment system with a square screen that served as a navigation center. HVAC controls were located just below the display screen. In addition to the finely crafted interior, the convertible could become a coupe or vice versa in just 16 seconds with the press of a button. All told it was a very comfortable cabin and was excessively inviting. For a two-seater, it wouldn’t be a bad vehicle to road trip in.


2006 Fisker Tramonto
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The Tramonto was offered standard with the 610 horsepower and 650 pound-foot AMG V-8 that came standard with the SL55. It was able to hit the 60 mph benchmark in 3.6 seconds on the way to a top speed of 202 mph. Of the 15 vehicles built, 14 of them had the AMG V-8. The last model produced, No. 15 of 15, was equipped with a V-12 that enabled the car to hit the 60 mph sprint in 3.2 seconds and go faster than 205 mph. Now that’s about normal for supercars of today, but you’ve got to remember that this was a hardtop convertible, so acceleration and speed of that caliber are pretty amazing, to say the least.

Unfortunately, due to the limited production numbers and the situation surrounding Fisker Coachbuilding, there aren’t too many other performance figures or other drivetrain information to go by. We know that Fisker equipped the Tramonto with a Kleemann brake system that featured eight-piston calipers up front and four-calipers in the rear. Also, the engine was mated to a five-speed AMG Speedshift transmission, which routed power to the rear wheels.


2006 Fisker Tramonto
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Fisker Tramonto 2006

It has been rather difficult to track down official pricing for the Tramonto, but that isn’t surprising given the circumstances. Some sources are indicating that customers would first have to purchase an AMG SL55, then pay another $100,000 to Fisker Coachbuilding to convert the SL55 into the Tramonto that you see here. There was a 2006 model, which was No. 2 of 15, that was Auction by Mecum a while back. It was driven and signed by Henrik Fisker but only sold for $70,000. For a car of its caliber and rarity, it seems like the car would be worth so much more. Unfortunately, that’s only the case in the eyes of certain car collectors.


2006 Fisker Tramonto
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At the end of the day, the Fisker Tramonto was a great car. Being based on a model like the SL55 and sharing design cues with the BMW Z8 pretty much gave owners the best of both worlds. Considering the rarity of the car, with only 15 produced in all, I’m shocked to find that a signed example sold at auction so cheaply, but then again Fisker never actually became popular in the automotive world as a coachbuilder or a manufacturer. When you look at vehicles like this, or even the Fisker Latigo, it certainly wasn’t the design or quality of the cars that prevented the brand from growing like the rest of the great names in the auto world have. Hopefully, Henrik Fisker does manage to fire up a new automotive brand. The man is a brilliant designer, and I think under the right circumstances, he could certainly make some huge competition for brands like Mercedes, BMW, and even Ferrari.

Press Release

At the same time, the TRAMONTO has become something much more, and the differences go beyond what meets the eye. How far beyond is up to you: engine, brake and exhaust-system upgrades are available – as are 0-60 times of 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 202 mph. At the touch of a button on the console or the remote locking device, the power-retractable hardtop transforms the two-seat TRAMONTO from a coupe to roadster in just 16 seconds. And even with the hardtop retracted, the trunk is still spacious enough for two golf bags.

The stance is wide. Low. Ground hugging. The lines flow smoothly from start to finish –unbroken in the signature FISKER style. The overall look conveys movement, speed and power, whether the power-retractable hardtop is secured for foul-weather driving or stowed for open-air motoring. Compared to its original platform, the TRAMONTO is reproportioned with a slimmer, ultra-modern back end, a longer looking hood line with a pronounced power dome, and no visual bumpers. It is poised, balanced, sculptured…and exotic. From any angle, the message is uncompromisingly beautiful. Unmistakably FISKER.

LOOK CLOSELY – BECAUSE THE CLOSER YOU GET, THE MORE PRECISE THE TRAMONTO BECOMES. Gaps between body panels are tight and uniform. Aluminum and carbon fiber – materials that befit an exotic sports car – make up the body panels. Steel is used judiciously, to enhance structural rigidity.

PERFORMANCE PLUS PACKAGE: FISKER COACHBUILD HAS TEAMED WITH KLEEMANN, THE WORLD’S LEADER IN KOMPRESSOR (SUPERCHARGER) TECHNOLOGY FOR MERCEDES-BENZ, TO CREATE THE FISKER/KLEEMANN 610-HP SUPERCHARGED V-8. The performance starts with a custom-made ECU program, redesigned pulley wheel and Super Sport Camshafts, to maximize engine output. Enlarged stainless steel tubular exhaust headers, down pipes and 70 mm dual exhaust system allow for freer breathing…a system which is further enhanced with KLEEMANN 120 cell metal catalysts for maximum performance gain.

To thoroughly enjoy the power and performance of the TRAMONTO, a class-leading suspension and braking system are absolutely essential. The independent suspension is 4-link in the front, 5-arm multilink in the rear, and is optimized with an AMG-enhanced version of Active Body Control (ABC) that continually adjusts each wheel in response to road conditions and driving style.

Electronic Stability Control (ESP) imparts even greater levels of handling confidence. Rack-and-pinion steering features vehicle-speed sensitive power assist with integrated hydraulic damper. Stopping power is provided by standard AMGenhanced 4-circuit electrohydraulic brakes, or by the KLEEMANN high-performance brake system as part of the FISKER Performance Plus Package. The KLEEMANN system represents a major advance in brake technology, setting new standards for response, fade resistance, stability and long-term endurance. Massive disc pads provide nearly 85% greater area compared to other high-performance pads, and an innovative design allows for very high and consistent friction coefficients during deceleration, regardless of weather.

The KLEEMANN high-performance brake system is fully compatible with Mercedes-Benz Sensotronic Brake Control, Anti-lock Braking System and Brake Assist.

INTERIOR DESIGN IS AS CRUCIAL AS THE EXTERIOR – AFTER ALL, IT IS HERE THAT DRIVER AND CAR BECOME ONE. To bring the FISKER COACHBUILDdesign to life, we have teamed with Distinctive Industries, the American-based leather interior experts. All seat and fascia surfaces are expertly hand trimmed and hand stitched, in a selection of super-premium, soft yet durable Italian leathers. Milled aluminum highlights the center stack, where every TRAMONTO is individually numbered, 1 through 150. Aluminum details accent the switch gear and join with leather to form the FISKER logo bars on the gear shift knob. The multifunction steering wheel is a FISKER original, with built-in sound system controls. Thoughtful, functional touches include improved cell phone storage and analog timepiece. FISKER TRAMONTO shown with Sand and Raised Sand leather interior.

The driving experience is rounded out with such technical niceties as the standard COMAND system with DVD navigation and the digital Bose® Cabin SurroundTM sound system. This audio tour de force features multichannel architecture, utilizing eight speakers and 5.1-channel Bose CenterpointTM signal processing to generate a 360° field of sound. Bose AudioPilotTM also digitally compensates for unwanted ambient noise to maintain clarity with no perceptible change in volume.

You may choose from the long list of SL55 AMG options, such as the Hands-Free Communication System, Keyless Go, Distronic adaptive cruise control, Parktronic sensors front and rear, a Panorama roof for an expansive view of the sky even when the top is up, and SIRIUS Satellite Radio. Any and all options are available when you select your original vehicle – and all will be there for you when the FISKER TRAMONTO coachbuild is complete.

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  (518) posted on 01.24.2010

Wow. Nothing like pushing your personal design envelopes. Goes to show that some of these "star" designers don’t care about the brands, they’re just designing in their own personal style. Good thing he’s got his own company now.

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