It's funny, but if you found me the auto show, grabbed my arm, stared into my eyes and told me that I'd see a carbon-fiber Mustang that I'd like, I probably wouldn't have believed you. But you know what? I think you'd have been right, thanks to the Galpin-Fisker Rocket. Now let go of my arm.
The Rocket was designed by Henrik Fisker, who has a pretty good track record of designing striking cars. He's worked on the BMW Z8, Aston Martin DB8 and 9, and, of course, the Fisker Karma, which, for all its troubles, was at the very least a remarkable design.
This latest project has the feeling of something that a car designer would do because they just wanted to. This isn't the start of a new car company, it's not a new high-end car for a major manufacturer, it's a low-volume take on an iconic car that seems to be inspired simply by the fact that it would be cool to see done.
As Fisker told it, he had some sketches, called up Beau Boeckmann of Galpin Ford, and essentially just asked "wouldn't this be cool?" Boeckmann agreed, because, well, here it is.
Every panel except for the roof and doors has been re-done in carbon fiber for a substantial weight savings, though they didn't specify how much. Well, they did specify the weight savings of one detail — the stripes and graphics on the hood — because those are actually the result of shaving off the paint for a massive 10 grams worth of savings. Normally, to get savings like that, you'd have to spit out your gum.
Fisker also said he wanted to "make the car look like a Mustang," which makes the choice of using a Mustang as the base car seem very smart indeed. The redesign takes some cues from the mid-60s Mustangs, especially in details like the thin-blade chrome bumper that bisects the large, carbon fiber grille. That detail is inspired directly from the original Mustangs, and the placement of the running horse badge on there — as though running in front of a horizon, according to Fisker — makes for a dramatic bit of jewelry on the front end.
The Mustang's famous side scoops have been bisected horizontally, the fenders widened and more dramatic haunches at the rear have been sculpted. The nose tapers to a more dramatic conic section, along with some little vents that mimic the light pattern of the Mustang's lights, and reference again the little "gills" of the early Mustangs.
The more tapered nose with larger wheels and fenders dramatically change the stance and profile of the Mustang, distilling it and emphasizing the basic formative lines of the car to make something that's very bold.
There's a lot of nice details here — the taillights have been slimmed with a fitted carbon fiber rear masking panel, the new front nose integrates foglights into the grille in a novel way, and the interior is a very dramatic upgrade from the Mustang norm.
My only real suggestion, which I proposed to Fisker and Boeckmann, is that the running horse mascot really should be wearing a jetpack. A horse with a jetpack seems like the ideal mascot for a car like this.
I'll be honest, when I first saw the car, I expected the kind of price that normally fits super-low volume cars like this. I expected the sort of price that would make me immediately dismiss this as another wildly inaccessible toy for people who I'll never, ever meet.
I was wrong. The price range mentioned to me for the car is right around $100,000. Big money for a jackass like me, sure, but that's actually a pretty reasonable number when you consider that Jaguar F-Type Coupes and the Mercedes AMG GT and a number of similar cars are around that range as well.
So, if you're the sort of person shopping those sorts of cars, and your tastes run to the more muscle-car/dramatic side of the spectrum, why not look at something like this? All crucial parts are still readily available (lights, window glass, mechanicals) so even though it's low-volume maintaining it shouldn't be a nightmare, and it's just fun to have something almost no one else does.
Galpin says they have no set production numbers or goals just yet; they'll build according to the demand.
When I think about other Mustang-inspired low volume muscle cars like the Equus Bass, for example, the Rocket is much more affordable, plenty fast (based on the platform/specs), and just about as striking looking.