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Auto industry, Auto shows, Branding, Cars, Driving

The $250,000 Muscle Car Mashup

At first glance, the Equus Automotive Bass 770 looks like a macho mixture of a 60s Dodge Challenger and a Ford Mustang with a touch of Ferrari thrown in for good measure — and that’s exactly the point, according to Ian James, the boutique car company’s “brand ambassador” (and a race-car driver who was at the wheel for this promotional video.)

James introduced the company to a small group of journalists in Detroit at the North American International Auto Show. The Bass 770 (pronounced “base” because that’s the deep throaty sound the 770 horsepower V8 makes) is built by hand in Rochester Hills, an affluent city not far from Detroit. Production is set to start soon and the company plans to make 100 cars a year, each available for US$250,000.

Equus is owned by a “European businessman” whom James says wishes to remain anonymous. He politely refused to divulge any further details — despite repeated questions and reporters who came at the question from different angles — saying only that the businessman was bankrolling the whole thing and wanted to keep his identity hidden. Journalists were skeptical and James seemed mildly amused, repeatedly saying that yes, the businessman truly does exist; the car is truly about to go into production, at an actual facility. He even gave out the address: 2094 Bond St.

“There’s one owner. There’s no management by committee. That’s why we’ve been able to move fast,” said James.

The Bass 770 is aimed at “high net worth” people in Asia, Europe and the Middle East with a taste for American muscle cars; the kind of person “who wants the best and wants to be seen in the car.” That’s why it has borrowed design elements from Plymouth, Dodge and Ford and combined them on one vehicle, with an engine made by General Motors.

As well, the Equus logo is a galloping horse with shades of both Ferrari and Mustang and Equus itself is the name of a luxury car produced by Hyundai. James maintains despite all that the company hasn’t stepped on any of their competitors’ toes, insisting that the car has its own distinct style. “The styling looks different to everybody,” James said.

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About Paul Ferriss

Paul Ferriss is a writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He is editor of CAA Magazine (published for the Canadian Automobile Association by Totem Content a custom content agency.) He's also Totem's director of editorial and creative. Previously he was executive editor at Marketing, a magazine covering advertising, media and marketing, where he also covered automotive marketing and managed an editorial team. He also works as a freelance writer and has written for a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites including The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, National Post and Canadian Business. He's the author of Never Too Fast: The Paul Tracy Story.

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