There are a lot of things I associate with Belgium. Good chocolate is one of them, followed by good beer, even if the fruit-enhanced lambic desert beers are an acquired taste. One thing I never associated with Belgium, until Motor Authority enlightened me, was the design and construction of supercars. Did you know that Gillet, a Belgian firm started by former racer Tony Gillet, has been cranking out street legal race cars since 1994? I didn’t either, since I’ve never seen one up close and personal, or even in photos.
Pictured here is Gillet’s latest creation, the Vertigo.5 Spirit, which goes on sale in the EU by the end of the year. The Spirit gets a 4.2 liter Maserati-sourced V8, good for some 420 horsepower. Since one of the key selling points of the Vertigo is extremely low weight (under 2,200 pounds, or less than the current Mazda MX-5 Miata), acceleration is brisk. Think zero to sixty times right around three seconds, and you get an idea of just how quick the Spirit is expected to be.
Gillet puts a lot of effort into refining the car’s aerodynamics, and claims near 20 years worth of on-track development. The body may be aerodynamic, but the styling is best described as quirky. The rear, for example, looks like the bastard offspring of a last generation Toyota Supra and a Pontiac Solstice. The concave rocker panels are just plain weird, as are the portholes atop the front fenders and doors. Maybe they’re functional and maybe they’re meant to evoke the ghost of race cars past, but they’re just plain ugly and out of place on a modern supercar. Don’t even get me started on the wing, which is undoubtedly functional but looks like an afterthought tacked on by the builder’s sixteen year old son.
I’ve grown to like lambic, especially with some good Belgian dark chocolate. Maybe there’s hope for me to embrace the Gillet Vertigo.5 Spirit after all.