While it seems like a walk in the park for big manufacturers to develop a hypercar, it’s no surprise that smaller entities sometimes struggle to get their foot in the door. Without countless engineers and designers at their disposal, it becomes increasingly difficult to produce an impressive automobile. Defying all odds, automotive entrepreneur and petrolhead Paul Halstead has pushed aside the critics to produce a very exciting contender in the hypercar market.
For the uninitiated, Halstead is an Aussie who created his automotive capital in the computer industry. His first foray into the realm of vehicle design came with the fateful Giocattolo of the 1980s, the result of squeezing a V8 engine under the hood of a highly modified Alfa Romeo Sprint. After creating 15 examples and burning through $4 million, the project went bust.
Following the end of his previous outing came the Hyperod. The project’s name combines the hot rod inspiration with the hypercar numbers of his latest creation. Trademarked at considerable expense in the Australian market, it aims to be sophisticated while boasting massive amounts of character – avoiding the cookie-cutter formula for many hypercars on sale today.
“Visually, it must be sexy and make adults swear appreciatively,” said Halstead. “Unlike hot rods, it must be mechanically sophisticated.”
It doesn’t take a genius to realize that the clear party piece of the vehicle is its W16 powerplant. In an excellent application of Australian engineering, he combined a set of 7.0-liter Chevrolet LS7 V8 engines, leaned over 45 degrees and sharing the same crankshaft – as a pair, they produce 1,400 horsepower (1,043 kilowatts). Being one of the focal points, the cylinder heads and exhaust exits are left unprotected for passersby to admire.
Gallery: Hyperod W16 Engine
Inspired by the McLaren F1 and Gordon Murray T.50, the Hyperod features the same three-seat layout with a central driving position. However, its similarities end there as the hot rod hypercar doesn’t have doors or a roof. With an uninhibited aperture, occupants are able to simply step in or out.
Ex-McLaren engineer Bruce Lock is responsible for the vehicle’s suspension design and fabrication. As the W16 engine and transaxle is a stressed member of the chassis, it requires a very complex double-wishbone layout with pushrod-activated springs and dampers. Aside from the Formula 1 inspired suspension, the car will feature AP Racing six-piston calipers at all four corners. Surrounding the big clamps will be bespoke wheels shod in 355-section rubber in the rear and 285s at the front.
Regardless of the numbers, it’s refreshing to see a hypercar follow such a unique and original ethos. Set to be released at Pebble Beach in July of 2022, the Hyperod will certainly be one to look for.