Fisker Karma Re-Badged as ZR1-Powered ‘Destino’

Fisker’s Karma plug-in hybrid may have advanced-tech fans wondering about its future and raison d’être, but the “father of the Chevrolet Volt” Bob Lutz has found a way to re-purpose its svelte body.

Today at the North American Auto Show in Detroit, the suggestively styled series hybrid was unveiled as a re-badged iteration called the Destino.

Rather than an uber-green theme however, this prototype – slated for production in Michigan in later 2013 after passing certification and validation – packs a “handcrafted” 638-horsepower Corvette ZR1 LS9 engine with either a manual or automatic transmission. Gone is the series hybrid plug-in powertrain, and this fire breather was shoehorned in place. Notice the big tailpipes?

Apparently we were not the only ones to perceive the potential. As we noted in our full review, the car exudes testosterone, and puts on high-performance airs thick enough to cut with a pair of Fisker scissors.

Destino_Karma_interior

Octogenarian Lutz, who was also instrumental in his long career at bringing the Dodge Viper to market in the late-1980s, but most recently has become a champion of the green car movement promoting VIA Motors plug-in hybrid trucks apparently saw another marketing opportunity.

The Karma’s sleek shells designed by former Aston Martin and BMW designer, Henrik Fisker now back up those looks in no uncertain terms.

And, it could almost be construed as a mixed message added to a mixed message.

Here you have a “green car” – the Karma – that’s not very green and pretends to be more high-po than it is. And a “car guy” turned green car advocate, doing an about face and converting said green car back to the gas guzzler it never was to befit its looks.

But hey, this is what you have. The Karma was not selling great and it looks like this is a new way to make some side money while Fisker Automotive continues to work on its next down-market series hybrid, the Atlantic.

And for those with money and fuel to burn, Lutz and associates are playing both sides of the fence by turning out a world-class looking super sedan with conventional powertrain to match.

Destino_Karma_rear

The company behind it all, VL-Automotive – says the Destino is the result of collaboration by industrialist Gilbert Villereal and Bob Lutz – who offered his take on the subject in a press release.

“The goal in designing and engineering this automobile is to provide true motoring enthusiasts with an exquisite work of automotive art that performs at a world-class level. Attention to detail is a paramount concern, as is reliability and ease of maintenance,” according to Lutz. “We have made styling modifications to differentiate our design and re-engineered the chassis to accommodate the 638bhp ZR1′s handcrafted LS9 engine with either a manual or automatic transmission. The result is truly an American designed, engineered and manufactured four-door performance car that rivals such models as the Porsche Panamera and Aston-Martin-Lagonda Rapide.

“We are developing our distribution network now and will deliver Destino on a first-come, first-served basis. Customers will have the option of customizing the exterior color and interior trim,” Lutz said.