American-made, Corvette-powered, barely street-legal supercar

Close your eyes and think of an “extreme performance vehicle.” What does it look like? For starters, it’s gotta be impossibly low and ridiculously wide – a real hazard in everyday traffic. It’s gotta have vents and wings and swooping bodywork that looks like it was plucked straight from the starting grid. And it’s gotta sound mean, like it’ll rip your arms off if you turn your back on it. All in all, that’s a pretty accurate description of the Mosler MT900 S, a race car that somehow tricked the powers that be into giving it a license plate and permission to traverse public highways. Engineers with extensive motorsport experience made it, and clearly, no punches were pulled in the pursuit of ultimate speed. Lightweight, race-bred suspension, snarling V-8 in the middle – that’s the formula here.

The MT900 S saw extremely limited production, as customers usually opted for the track-only variant. Still, there are a handful of the street-legal alternatives out there, both in the U.S. and the U.K., and incredibly, owners do occasionally take them out for a drive. Read on to find out just how insane that really is.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2005 Mosler MT900 S.

Model History And Background

2005 Mosler MT900 S
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To understand the Mosler MT900 S, we need to dig deep, all the way back to 1985, when hedge fund manager Warren Mosler founded Consulier Industries. The startup initially created a sports car called the Consulier GTP, which had a mid-mounted turbocharged Chrysler four-banger and a curb weight of roughly 2,000 pounds. The GTP was quite successful in competition, and was consequently banned by IMSA in 1991.

Two years later, Consulier Industries spun off Mosler Automotive, which then went on to create the GTP’s successor, the Intruder, which was based on the Consulier product, but packed a more powerful engine package. The Intruder was also quite successful, clinching victory two years in a row at the 24 Hours of Nelson Ledges (1993 and 1994), before it too was banned.

It was built by racing engineers to be an ultra-lightweight, ultra-hardcore performance machine with a successful competition history and a pedigree that was banned multiple times for being too fast.

In 1996, Lingenfelter Performance Engineering got its hands on an Intruder and blessed it with 450 horsepower. The car went on to compete in Car and Driver’s One Lap of America competition, and unsurprisingly, it was also banned, but not before clinching three victories of its own.

The Intruder later evolved into a car called the Raptor, but in 2001, Mosler unveiled a brand-new project called the MT900. The name is a reference to the car’s creator (M for Mosler), as well as its designer (T for Rod Trenne, who also helped create the C5 Corvette). The 900 alludes to the car’s original weight target of 900 kg (1,984 pounds). Also on the project was a team of engineers and drivers plucked from the world of GM performance and Corvette racing, including Dave McLellan, John Heinricy, and Tommy Morrison.

The original MT900 was a carbon-fiber chassis with a mid-mounted 5.7-liter LS1 V-8, which sent 350 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels. The car weighed 2,590 pounds, which was significantly higher than the original target, but it still managed to hit 60 mph in the low three-second range and storm through the quarter mile in 12 seconds flat. Pricing was set at $164,000, but the car didn’t sell, and only one prototype was ever made.

The MT900 then went through several evolutions, including the race-ready MT900 R, which ended up competing in a variety of endurance and GT racing series around the globe. Highlights include a successful run in the GTS class at the 2003 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, the British GT Championship, the FIA GT Tourist Trophy, the International Open GT Championship, the Britcar Championship, and the Spanish GT Championship. In 2008, there was even a Mosler Dutch Supercar Challenge, which was a single-make series that held its inaugural event at the Nurburgring.

Also notable was the MT900 S Photon, a hardcore variant that cut weight to the original 900-kg target via thinner subframes, magnesium wheels, titanium springs, and carbon-fiber seats.

Finally, we get to the MT900 S, which was tweaked (slightly) for road use and approved by the EPA and CARB in 2005.

So, what’s all this background tell us about the model in question? Summarized, it goes something like this – it was built by racing engineers to be an ultra-lightweight, ultra-hardcore performance machine with a successful competition history and a pedigree that was banned multiple times for being too fast. Oh, and did I mention you can drive it on the street?

Exterior

2005 Mosler MT900 S Exterior
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Aesthetically speaking, the Mosler MT900 is a huge improvement over the Consulier GTP that preceded it. That said, the bar wasn’t set terribly high, and the overall look could be seen as a bit bland compared to the more outrageous supercars prowling the roads today.

Still, it’s hard to argue against the design. It’s simple, but effective, and definitely a showstopper if placed in an everyday traffic situation.

2005 Mosler MT900 S Exterior
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2005 Mosler MT900 S Exterior
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2005 Mosler MT900 S Exterior
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2005 Mosler MT900 S Interior
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It’s simple, but effective, and definitely a showstopper if placed in an everyday traffic situation.

The front fascia is a deep cut towards the ground, which hugs the pavement hard enough to scrape up loose change. The overhang is extremely short, and the lower intakes get the job done with simple rectangular shapes, something that’s repeated in the slightly curvier headlights. There are aggressive louvers splayed across the nose as you rise towards the windshield, and additional vents can be found over the widely flared fenders.

A teardrop-shaped cutout in the flank’s midsection continues the front vent into a rear intake. The doors open up, instead of out.

The short front overhang exaggerates the extended tail, with a roofline that seems to fall away forever. Perched on top of the rear deck is an enormous GT-style wing, and the proportions and shape remind me of a mash-up between the C4 Corvette and McLaren F1 GT Longtail.

While relatively simple to look at, the package is extremely aerodynamically efficient, boasting a drag coefficient of just 0.25. Of course, the aero is adjustable as well.

Interior

2005 Mosler MT900 S Interior
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Step inside the Mosler MT900 S, and you’re quickly reminded of that old timey saying – “sit down, strap in, and shut up.” Amenities are at an absolute minimum here. There’s no noise insulation to protect your hearing, nothing to cut down the extreme vibrations. Just about every surface is bare carbon fiber, with the exception of a little Alcantara for the fixed-back bucket seats and steering wheel.

Instead, you get perfectly laid out controls ready to take your inputs. The seating position is low, and the visibility is awful. Racing harnesses hold you in place.

Still, there are a few conciliations to civility here and there. There is a basic climate control system, and even a stereo (although I’m not really sure you’ll hear it at speed). Pop the rear deck, and there’s actually a storage space big enough to fit a set of golf clubs. Or a jack and some tools.

Drivetrain

2005 Mosler MT900 S Drivetrain
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Here’s the good stuff.

Like the other models in the MT900 line, the S uses a mid-engine, RWD layout. Stuffed behind the cockpit is a naturally aspirated, all-aluminum 5.7-liter LS6 V-8, pilfered from the Corvette Z06. Output was upped thanks to new breathing components, which add around 30 ponies for a total of 435 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 400 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. Redline is set at 6,500 rpm.

Routing the power is a six-speed manual transmission originally designed for Porsche, which hilariously had to be mounted upside down to keep the engine ahead of the rear axle.

Back in 2002, before it was approved for street use, Motor Trend got to test the MT900 S, running it through the traditional battery of acceleration runs and handling runs. Even though it was packing just 435 horsepower, the MT900 S’s extremely low weight allowed it to sprint to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, then blast through the quarter mile in 11.5 seconds at nearly 123 mph.

Chassis And Handling

2005 Mosler MT900 S Interior
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One of the biggest contributors to the car’s sprightly 2,300 pounds is its composite monocoque chassis, which uses a carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb for extreme rigidity and minimal mass. The weight is spread across the contact patches in a ratio of 31 percent in the front and 69 percent in the rear.

The suspension uses upper and lower control arms, three-way adjustable coilover Penske Shocks, and adjustable antiroll bars. The brakes are from Brembo, with 13-inch rotors at each corner, and the tires are stretched across forged aluminum wheels measured at 18.10-inches in front, and 18x11-inches in back

There are no electronic assists whatsoever – no power steering, not even ABS (although there is a brake bias knob to fiddle with). Still, the suspension’s high degree of adjustability should meet the driver’s needs when it comes to proper set-up, depending on conditions and level of talent.

In the same test previously mentioned, Motor Trend reports 60-to-0 mph in 114 feet, 100-to-0 mph in 323 feet, 0.98 G on the skidpad, and 71.4 mph in the slalom.

Prices

2005 Mosler MT900 S Exterior
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Before production ended in 2010, Mosler produced just 20 examples of the MT900 S. Pricing was set at $189,000, but if you happen to find one at auction these days, expect to pay much more.

Competition

Ferrari F430 Scuderia

2008 Ferrari F430 Scuderia
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2008 Ferrari F430 Scuderia
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While not nearly as exclusive as the Mosler, the F430 Scuderia was a lightened, more powerful version of the F430. There’s a 503-horsepower 4.3-liter V-8 in the middle, which sends power through a six-speed F1-style semi-automatic transmission. A blast from standstill to 62 mph takes 3.6 seconds.

Read the full review here.

Porsche 997 GT3 RSR

2007 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997)
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2007 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997)
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Produced between 2006 and 2012, the 997 GT3 RSR was created specifically for competition in GT2 racing. With 563 horsepower in back and just 2,690 pounds to push around, it did its job well, scoring first place finishes at Petit Le Mans and setting a new lap record at the Nurburgring for non-turbo cars.

Read the full review here.

Conclusion

2005 Mosler MT900 S
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If Chevy ever decided to turn the Corvette into an exotic, this is what it would look like. This power-to-weight-ratio monster has racing performance instilled into every strand of carbon fiber, and I’m still scratching my head in wonderment as to how it’s allowed on public roads. Nevertheless, it is, and that’s a glorious thing indeed.

It’s too bad Mosler Automotive went belly up in 2013. A car like the MT900 S would be perfectly at home competing against the current crop of McLaren Sport Series models, or even the 911 R. There’s a purity to it that’s hard to find these days, but in the end, that just makes it all the more special.

  • Leave it
    • * Relatively bland styling
    • * Street-legal does not mean street-friendly
    • * Not for novice drivers
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