Billionaire Warren Mosler has been in the exotic car business since 1985, with his most notable creation of late being the righteously fast Mosler MT900. With a Corvette mill and a lightweight carbon fiber body, the MT900 offers an incredible power-to-weight ratio and performance that rivals cars with some of the most famous nameplates in the world.
The MT900 was not the first of Mosler's creations to combine outlandish looks, lightweight technology, and American firepower. Long before the MT900, Mosler built a car called the Consulier GTP.
Consulier was a small car company founded by Mosler, with the GTP being its only vehicle. When Mosler established the company he had in mind the single goal of creating the ultimate roadworthy track car. Based around Chrysler mechanicals, the GTP was designed to handle the race track better than any other car on the market.
While the choice to use a legendary Corvette V8 in the later MT900 was an obvious one, the Consulier GTP used a much more surprising source of motivation. The 2.2L Chrysler four of the Consulier was the engine of choice for Mopar minivans and K-cars alike before realizing its true potential in the GTP. Though a mundane K-car four-banger sounds like a less than ideal choice for a supercar, the Chrysler engine was a very impressive unit in turbocharged form. The Turbo II and Turbo III variants used in the GTP were very capable mills.
A Turbo III 2.2L, dropped into the R/T version of the innocuous Dodge Spirit, created the fastest sedan in the world upon its arrival. Despite the cheap and bland feel of Mopar's K-cars, they really were powered by engines that had serious performance potential.
Most Consuliers produced 174hp from a stock Turbo II, with a few later models using the 224hp Turbo III. Much more power could be wrung from the motors in race-prepped cars. The engines were mounted amidships and connected to 5-speed Getrag A-555 transmissions that directed power to the rear wheels. While those power figures aren't overwhelming, the GTP's weight of just one ton meant that such horsepower was more than enough to endow the car with phenomenal speed. The GTP topped out at 155mph and 60mph came in just 5 seconds.
The outright speed of the GTP was matched by its handling and braking abilities. McKee Engineering designed an all-independent suspension for the car, and disc brakes exceeding 10 inches in diameter were used at all corners. The stopping distance from 65mph was an unbelievably short 92 feet. A limited-slip differential helped out in the corners and enhanced the car's maneuverability. Even a rear weight bias of well over 60% didn't upset handling, instead offering great traction at launch.
Attributing to the lightness of the GTP was a radical monocoque platform design made of carbon fiber and Kevlar. The Consulier was the first car to use such an advanced design, and as such the car's body suffered from some teething issues. Foam coring was sandwiched between layers of material to create the shapes of the GTP's body. The foam was susceptible to warping as it was heated up by the sun and then cooled at night. Many Consuliers developed wavy bodies that made the cars appear as if they had received shoddy accident repairs.
The styling of the body—assuming the car was styled at all—was another flaw. The GTP was hideous. Its strange shapes and ungainly proportions, along with poorly incorporated lights and mirrors, created a cross between a spaceship and an eight-year-old's drawing of a racecar. Looks were so bad that Time magazine claimed it was one of the 50 worst cars of all time simply for being so ugly.
Ignoring appearance, the GTP was a great car that perfectly matched Warren Mosler's goal. It was unbeatable on the track. Mosler was so confident in the performance of the Consulier that he promised $25,000—half the cost of a new GTP—to anyone who could beat one on the track with a standard production car.
The GTP could be ordered as a coupe or as a targa, and there were two trim levels available. The base model was called the Sport, and for an extra $9,000 the LX could be ordered. The LX came with an Alpine CD player, Fittipaldi wheels, Recaro seats, and a host of upgraded interior amenities like a sunroof and wool carpets.
Great success in IMSA racing caused a 300lb weight penalty to be forced upon the GTP. When that wasn't enough to stop the domination of the Consulier, IMSA banned the car outright. The GTP's prowess on the track embarrassed much more expensive cars and gave Mosler all the encouragement he needed to continue making some of the most outrageous sports cars in the world. Sources:
'Consulier GTP.' Mosler Automotive Web.6 Jul 2009. http://www.moslerauto.com/mosautoweb/html/autos.htm.
Larratt, Shannon. 'Consulier GTP.' Price of His Toys 13 Jun 2008 Web.6 Jul 2009. http://www.priceofhistoys.com/2008/06/13/consulier-gtp/.
'The Consulier GTP: Fastest Chrysler 2.2 Powered Car?.' Allpar.com Web.6 Jul 2009. http://www.allpar.com/cars/adopted/consulier-gtp.html.By Evan Acuña