CarEnvy’s admittedly spotty coverage of Project M can be seen in the preview, Part I, and Part VI.
Project M has come to a close. Believe it or not, what you see here is based on the Corvette ZR1. Yes, the one-off Stile Bertone Mantide is here in all of its Jason Castriota-designed glory.
There is a full gallery and possibly even a press release after the jump. As well as my usual design dissection, of course.
As you’ll see from the following high-res photos, the unfortunately-named Mantide is a stunner. Whether you like it or not, you have to appreciate the complexity of the form – there’s simply no way to mass-produce a car with a shape like this. That alone makes this car notable and another successful chapter in Castriota’s career.
Personally, I’m particularly fond of the rear of the Mantide. The centrally-mounted exhaust, the sculpted LED taillights, the long flowing hatch, and especially the Spada Codatronca-inspired triangular element. They’re all brilliant.
Another cool detail is the angular rear wheel arches that reject the round convention. Interestingly, I had never made the conscious thought that round wheel arches were a convention. Until now. And that’s exactly what a one-off design exercise should be about – challenging conceptions.
From the side profile, the interweaving curves remind me of M.C. Escher’s recursive hand-drawing-a-hand. Its a shape so elaborate that hand-built construction must have taken hundreds of man-hours. Also, the doors apparently open “butterfly”-stlye. But I guess you’ve got to pay for something when you take a $140,000 ZR1 and turn it into a multi-million dollar objet d’art.
The front of the vehicle is very obviously aquatically-inspired. Dare I say it, that I’m reminded of a Manta Ray. Thus the name, I suppose. From the front, you can also see the fragile-looking side aerofoils and the chic-ly placed side-view mirrors. All I can say is that those mirrors would make driving mighty interesting.
As far as facts and figures go, the Mantide is 220 lbs lighter than the lithe ZR1. Meaning that the 638 hp rocket ship hits 100 kph in 3.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 351 kph.
If you really want to read the press release on the Mantide, you’ve got too much time on your hands. Trust me, it’s dull, it’s long, and it’s full of sickeningly self-congratulatory praise.