The cars we loved.
American supercar fanatics had a small void in their hearts when the Viper departed. Sure the Z-R1 Corvette was just as capable, but it did not have the exotic looks of Dodge’s long hooded Viper. The various Shelby, Rousch and other tuner Mustangs are very fast, but lets face it, they were just Mustangs in the end and hardly qualify as exotics. The Viper itself might be called a near exotic, regardless of what a tarted up one might have cost.
So the news that longtime Viper tuner Mach 7 Motorsports was about to launch a new car was greeted with as much excitement as questions. The Michigan based tuner ‘s concept at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show revealed an exotic form factor with complete specs shrouded in some mystery. For 2012, the same venue hosted the actual production supercar that’s expected to have a limited production run of only 15 units a year. At a cost of around $200,000 each, the Falcon F7 will undercut other American supercars like the Saleem 7, but promises to have superior performance.
Starting with a tweaked 7 litre Corvette based LS3 V8 tucked behind the passenger compartment, the F7 is built on a hydro formed aluminum chassis that is linked to the cars’ carbon fiber body. The application of various cutting edge technologies is nothing short of impressive, making the mid-engined rear wheel drive 620hp supercar as impressive on paper as any Ferrari or Lamborghini.
Speaking of the Italians, the F7 takes some of its design cues from Maranello with a Ferrari 308 like C pillar, while the front looks more like a futuristic Mopar product with its aggressive angular lines and slit eyed headlights. The combination of organic European inspired lines with brute American muscle produced an odd gold chained boy racer like effect. Maybe not what you would expect of a car of this caliber. The look might turn off some enthusiasts, as the F7 resembles the generic supercars you might have seen in video games of the late 90’s. The game like design is most apparent from the rear with its busy tail light array and diffuser vents. Despite the somewhat busy design, the rear three quarter view might be the most attractive, recalling Ferrari’s of the 80’s most. Design wise the F7represents a missed opportunity to make a more integrated (graceful?), yet powerful American supercar in the best tradition of the European hybrids of the 70‘s that were elegant, but with American muscle under the bonnet.
With no shortage of powerful “in your face type” American performance cars on the market, we Yanks have cultivated a reputation that’s become a brand of a sort. The Falcon F7 stays true to this stereotype on the surface, but underneath its skin is enough high-tech to make a Japanese robot proud.
Considering Mach 7’s history with the Viper, it’s no surprise that the F7 would follow its Dodge inspiration, but if the F7 really wants to be a major player in the supercar arena, I wonder if its design will need to become more “refined”. Not that it’s a bad-looking car. The F7 is more likely to appeal more to kids than the refined blue blood that buys something like a big buck Ferrari or Lamborghini. I guess there are more than 15 lottery winners a year who get more than $200k, so maybe the F7 will find buyers regardless of how brash it may appear.
The boldness continues inside where the F7 has no misgivings about its role and purpose as a high performance car. It looks very much like a race car or one of the pimped out racers from The Fast and The Furious films. Either way this car promises to make a big impact performance wise, but I fear its legacy will be mostly from its conflicting design language. It simply looks too derivative, yet the pieces and parts come together in a way that make the F7’s design look like a composite of recent car design trends. The F7 certainly cost more than the Viper and promises to be more exclusive, but in the end some buyers might prefer a Mach 7 tuned Street Serpent Viper to the Falcon F7. Now if only Chrysler’s designers could work with Mach 7…