China isn’t a country with much supercar heritage, despite its increasing wealth. Italy, on the other hand, has more than any other country on earth.
By combining Chinese money and Italian sculptural skills, you get the Icona Vulcano – a titanium-bodied supercar appearing in near-production form at this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
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The car made its conceptual debut at the Shanghai motor show in 2013, and wowed crowds at Pebble Beach that year, too. Since then however, the Vulcano has moved another step towards production, with revised styling and a new engine.
Originally presented with a hybrid powertrain and claims of a 937bhp output, this year’s Vulcano uses a 670bhp supercharged V8 from the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1.
The engine develops 620lb ft of torque, which it puts through a close-ratio, paddleshift gearbox developed by Automac Modena. Performance is strong – 60mph arrives in 2.8sec, 120mph in 8.8, and progress doesn’t halt until 220mph.
The structure is largely carbonfibre, with a hand-formed titanium skin. It’s not unattractive, though the keen-eyed will spot hints of Ferrari and Lexus LFA in its swoops, proportions and detailing.
It’s said to be effective though, reducing turbulence around the wheels and withdrawing hot air from the engine bay. Designer Samuel Chuffart took inspiration from the Blackbird SR-71 spy plane for the car’s forms.
There’s a hint of Ferrari in its development, too. The car’s powertrain has been developed by Claudio Lombardi, an ex-Scuderia Ferrari director. Alongside him is Mario Cavagnero, whose CV includes work with the Lancia Delta Integrale, Lancia 037 and Peugeot 205 T16.
Since its Shanghai debut, the Vulcano has gained a full interior design, with a low-slung seating position, driver-centric dashboard and eye-catching instruments.
More information will be revealed at Pebble Beach. The 2015 Concours d’Elegance takes place at Pebble Beach in Monterey, California, on Sunday August 16.