RML Short Wheelbase set for Monterey debut

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RML’s reboot of the iconic Ferrari 250 SWB is almost here, with first customer deliveries just weeks away.

There’s good news for those who are in the market for a Ferrari 250 SWB but can’t cough up the required millions to get hold of one: RML’s reboot is ready to hit the road. While a few months behind schedule, the very first customer car will make its debut at Monterey Car Week before its delivery later this month, with the next two examples following not too far behind.

RML will produce 30 examples of the Short Wheelbase in total, which combines Ferrari 550 Maranello underpinnings with a bespoke body designed in the image of the iconic 250 SWB. This is not to be confused with the GTO Engineering Squalo, which pairs its own take on a 250 SWB carbonfibre body with an in-house recreation of Ferrari’s classic ‘Colombo’ V12 engine.

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The job of converting a 550 into the Short Wheelbase is a complex and time consuming process that first involves the fitment of a bespoke carbonfibre body. The decision to utilise carbon for these sorts of coachbuilt projects has clear advantages in stiffness, weight and manufacturing flexibility at this low-volume level – something exemplified in the rear clam which weighs just 40kg, or 30kg less than the same part from an original 250 SWB.

Despite the 40-year age gap between the original 250 SWB and the 550, the two actually share remarkably similar proportions in wheelbase and height, with only the overall width proving to be substantially different. This made it somewhat easier for RML’s chief designer, Jonathan Bowen, to transfer the SWB’s iconic design to this all-new car.

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The 550’s F133 5.5-litre naturally aspirated V12 engine, six-speed gated manual transmission and limited-slip differential ensure modern levels of performance and some good old-fashioned driver involvement. Peak power and torque figures are accurate to the 550 at 352kW and 564Nm, but performance is projected to be slightly ahead of the donor car, with a 0-60mph (97km/h) time of 4.1sec and a top speed of 298km/h. This extra performance is derived from the slight reduction in weight, RML projecting a final figure of 1470kg dry.

To keep the Short Wheelbase on the ground at the distinctly un-classic speeds it will be able to achieve, the design team has had to install a selection of subtle aero devices on the body to reduce high-speed lift without too obviously punctuating the overall design. Some of these have been inspired by aero elements found on the original, including the vents behind the wheelarches to reduce pressure within.

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The interior will take a similar approach to the exterior, with a bespoke design that references the 250 SWB but using the 550’s dashboard architecture and structure to form a more usable and spacious environment. RML has designed the Short Wheelbase to be functional in everyday driving, so modern creature comforts will also be included as part of the package.

Unsurprisingly for a project like this, RML has not given any indication of price, but considering the sheer amount of custom fabrication that will go into each example – not to mention the rising values of the 550 Maranellos that RML will need to chop to pieces in order to create each one – we suspect it won’t be cheap.

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