RML Short Wheelbase revealed – Ferrari 250 GT SWB reimagination with modern underpinnings
British-built special combines 550 Maranello underpinnings with classic-style bodywork
There are restomods, and then there’s the RML Short Wheelbase – a limited-run combination of modern Ferrari underpinnings and a retro-styled body. Not to be confused with the ostensibly similar GTO Engineering Squalo, which pairs its 250-aping carbonfibre body with an in-house recreation of Ferrari’s classic ‘Colombo’ V12 engine, the Short Wheelbase places its own carbonfibre body atop the powertrain and lower structure of a Ferrari 550 Maranello.
Despite the 40 years between the original 250 SWB and the 550, the two actually share remarkably similar proportions in wheelbase and height, with only the overall width proving to be substantially different. This made it somewhat easier for RML’s chief designer, Jonathan Bowen, to transfer the SWB’s iconic design to this all-new car.
The 550’s F133 5.5-litre naturally aspirated V12 engine, six-speed gated manual transmission and rear-wheel drive ensure modern levels of performance and some good old-fashioned driver involvement. Peak power and torque figures are accurate to the 550 at 478bhp and 419lb ft, but performance is projected to be slightly ahead of the donor car, with a 0-60mph time of 4.1sec and a top speed of 185mph. This extra performance is derived from the slight reduction in weight, RML projecting a final figure of 1470kg dry.
To keep the Short Wheelbase on the ground at the distinctly un-classic speeds it will be able to achieve, the design team has had to install a selection of subtle aero devices on the body to reduce high-speed lift without too obviously punctuating the overall design. Some of these have been inspired by aero elements found on the original, including the vents behind the wheelarches to reduce pressure within.
The interior will take a similar approach to the exterior, with a bespoke design that references the 250 SWB but uses the 550’s dashboard architecture and structure to form a more usable and spacious environment. RML has designed the Short Wheelbase to be functional in everyday driving, so modern creature comforts will also be included as part of the package.
A total of 30 units are planned, with production due to start early next year and the first cars reaching customers by the spring. Unsurprisingly for a project like this, RML has not given any indication of price, but considering the sheer amount of custom fabrication that will go into each example, not to mention the rising values of the 550 Maranellos that RML will need to chop to pieces in order to create each one, we suspect it won’t be cheap.