How the Media Killed this Incredible Supercar

How the Media Killed this Incredible Supercar

(engine roars) – This is one of the wildest
cars we’ve ever covered here at Donut. When the team first dug into this bad-boy, it was like one of those
Russian Babushka dolls. We kept uncovering more and more and more weird and wild (beep) about it. So first we have to talk
about the man responsible for this thing right here. Then, we’re gonna dive deep
into how one goes about building a supercar back in the ’80s. Finally, I’ll explain
why a 200 horsepower, no-name American exotic
got banned from racing. We’re going bumper-to-bumper
on this Consulier GTP. (upbeat rock music) (’80s electronic music) Before we get into the
nitty-gritty of this Consulier GTP, I think you’d be able to
appreciate the car more if we explained how this thing came to be. To do that, we have to go
all the way back to the ’80s. (’80s electronic music) Now, I would imagine that
most people who go off and start their own car
manufacturing company have their roots in the automotive world. They’re engineers, or
racing owners, or Elon Musk. Warren Mosler is none of those things. He’s an economist, a
guy who’s had a passion, or as he puts it, a disease for cars, ever since his early days of
messing around with go-karts. But before Mr. Mosler could
form his new car company, Consulier Industries, he needed some guap. In 1982 he started his own hedge fund, you know, a company that
invests other people’s money. Lucky for his investors,
he was good at it. While he wasn’t some
billionaire with unlimited cash, like Tony Stark, he had some fun money, and he used some of that
fun money to go racing. (engine revs)
(tires squeal) It was at a local race that he met a guy that would ultimately plant the seed for him to build this thing
standing right next to me. That man was Dick Respess, an emergency room doctor,
and car enthusiast. Dick said that he could build Mosler a VW that came in at roughly
under 1,200 pounds. He got to thinking, if he could build a sub-2,000 pound production car, with good power-to-weight ratio, it would not only outrun the competition, but because it’s so light, it might get really good gas-mileage. We’re talking 30 miles
per gallon for a supercar. If that was the case, people would be banging
on his door to buy one. At the tender young age of 36, Mosler formed Consulier
Industries, and his car-making days (gong gongs)
began. So what goes into making a
high-strength, lightweight composite supercar that outruns
anything else on the road? (’80s electronic music) Now, the entire basis
for this car being built was that it should be lightweight, so using what they discovered
with the prototype, the Consulier team began by designing the carbon and composite foam monocoque, and this thing?
(car thumps) It’s rock solid. Now, monocoques are nothing new. They’ve been used in race
cars since the early ’60s. But a production car, with
a metal-free monocoque? Now that’s not very common. Once it’s complete,
the monocoque weighs in at roughly 275 pounds. It literally weighs the same as Nolan. Now, if you take a step
back and look at the car, it’s certainly different, and back when it was being shown around, it was just as polarizing. Actually, it’s all for function. Without a traditional framework chassis, the body acts as a load-bearing surface, so the shape you see in this car is necessary for it’s
structural integrity, hence the fact that it
has this five inch radius that runs all the way to the front. And also, look at these
massive air intake door seals. They’re just ginormous. Everything on this car was done to add more torsional rigidity. Also, the entire car was designed
without a single computer. That’s frickin’ wild. (mouse clicks) So not only is the chassis light, (car thumps)
it’s rigid. More rigid than a metal structure, and rigidity is a racers best friend. This is, for all intents and
purposes, a frickin’ race car. The GTP has fully independent suspension on all four corners. Mosler went to McKee Engineering, who happened to be experts at
the frickin’ Indy car thing, to design and engineer the
inboard suspension setup. The GTP is smaller than it looks, but it still has a
relatively long wheelbase. That, and it’s low center of gravity allowed the car to pull
1G on the skid pad. That’s a huge accomplishment, especially as your first
time out building a race car. This dude had something going for him. In the brakes department,
the GTP went with Pontiac, specifically, the Pontiac Fiero, for four-wheel,
ventilated, 10-inch brakes. Now because this thing is so light, it can stop from 60 to zero miles per hour in roughly 100 feet. Just for a context, a modern-day supercar sporting carbon-ceramic brakes has roughly a similar measure to that. So the Consulier GTP is light. It’s got good suspension,
good stopping power, all the makings of a quick car. But what about the power plant? Where does one Warren Mosler go to seek out an engine for
his American supercar? (’80s electronic music) Okay, now, under the
hood of the Consulier is not an engine. I didn’t make that clear, this
is a mid-engine sports car, just like one of my
all-time favorites, the NSX, and my new favorite, the C8 Corvette. Now in the front is your battery, your brake booster, power steering. I can see the spare tire
down there, it’s super small. And the front end also
has some odd features, like this hole over there. It’s a NACA duct. It’s an air duct placed there because the federal government requires so many cubic feet of fresh air to pass into the passenger compartment. Speaking of, you know, regulations, the monocoque exceeded all crash
test standards of the time, because of it’s high tensile strength. I mean, you can stand on
the roof of this thing, and it wouldn’t buckle. Front to back, Mr. Mosler
went all Elon back in the day, stood on the roof of one of these things, took a sledgehammer to it,
and it suffered no damage. Also, because the monocoque
made the car so safe, it was one of the few cars in the ’80s without those ugly bumper extender things, like the Countach, or the 280Z. When sourcing a motor, well
Mosler went to Chrysler, and he picked out a Chrysler Turbo II. This is a 2.2 liter,
turbocharged inline four, making 200 horsepower. The Turbo II was, and still
is, a bulletproof engine, and it was used in all sorts
of Chryslers at the time, like the Dodge Daytona,
and the Chrysler LeBaron, along with a bunch of minivans. Even Carroll Shelby used
it in his Shelby Lancer, and you know, the car that
this engine was built for, the Omni GLHS. After Shelby used it for that car, it basically was taken over
by Dodge to be put elsewhere. It’s not your typical
high-horsepower beast, but from a power-to-weight perspective, there was nothing around that could put up those kinds of horsepower numbers, and that was as light as this engine is. Matched up to the Turbo
II was the five speed, also out of the Dodge Daytona. Mosler actually purchased as many parts from the
Daytona as he could. The drivetrain, the shifter
mechanics, the steering column, ignition keeps, hubs, spindles, all came directly from Chrylser. Building the Consulier was
only half the problem though. Getting people to buy
them was another hurdle, so Mosler did what all
car companies would do. He called up the press
to get some exposure, and this is where things
get even more interesting. (’80s electronic music) To prove the worth of the Consulier, Mosler put out a challenge. This is exactly what he said. “Beat this car around a track, “and I’ll give you $25,000
out of my own pocket.” Car and Driver wanted to
take on the challenge, so they got their hands on a Consulier that was used at a driving school. They took a beat-up, three year old, driver school Consulier GTP,
with no brakes and old tires, and ran it against a brand
new 1991 C4 Corvette. The Consulier ran a 1:22
around the test track. The Corvette, it ran a 1:21,
and it had fresh tires. Mosler thought that wasn’t
fair, and refused to payout. He offered to redo the
challenge with Car and Driver if they swapped in new
brake pads on the GTP, and used a driver of his choice. Well, Car and Driver rejected the deal, then proceeded to print
an article on the GTP that painted it in a bad light. This was the first of many feuds between Mosler, and Car and Driver, and it kicked of the GTP’s
failure in the media. Should have gone to Donut, dude. So what did Mosler do when car reviewers wouldn’t
give them a fair shake? He went frickin’ racing, but before we get into the racing legacy, let’s see what’s going on inside the GTP. (upbeat ’80s electronic music) Man, being in here is such a time capsule. The interior is pretty basic, but that is part of the cool factor. Like I mentioned earlier, Mosler went with a lot K-car components, and I’m not talking Japan
K-cars, I’m talking Chrysler. It’s a mix of really
dope stuff from the ’80s, and some Dodge parts. It’s pretty rad. Now the seats, they’re
leather-covered Recaro’s, and the dash looks basic,
but it has so many gauges. My favorite frickin’ gauge of all time, I’ve never seen this on a street car, is engine hours. That’s really cool, that’s
really like race car stuff. It still has some items that
make it daily-driver friendly, like this Alpine pullout CD system. Dope. And it’s got frickin’ AC,
power everything, the windows. This thing, it was so ahead of it’s time. After he didn’t get a fair shake from the major car reviewers, Mr. Mosler took this thing racing, to showcase it’s true abilities,
like I mentioned before. It first ran in the 24 hour
Nelson Legends in 1988. After taking pole position, it ran in first place for 12 hours, until the turbo ran into some problems, and it finished 14th overall. Over the next couple of years, the GTP went back to that race, and won the entire race
three times, to be exact. But a rule stated that
once you win three times, you weren’t allowed to race anymore. Mosler found out many years later that there was no such rule, they just didn’t want
the GTP’s to come back, and you know, dominate the track. After being kicked out of that race, they wanted to race the
IMSA Supercar series. His team put the car in first,
second, fourth, and fifth during qualifying, and won the race. It wouldn’t be long before IMSA gave the car a 300 pound weight penalty. Imagine Nolan sitting next to me. But even before they could enforce it, the Consulier GTP was banned outright from racing in the series. So, what does an ’80s
street-legal race car sound like? (hands clap) I’ve been waiting for this, all day. (car dings) (engine rumbles) Oh man, just seeing the
turbo pressure go pfft. Oh, that’s so sick. There’s a Chrysler motor,
and it sounds so rad, from the ’80s, dude. I wanna drive this thing, on track. All right. That was way more exciting
than I was expecting it to be. Jesus Christ, this things loud. (electronic music) Eventually the bad press and the inability to consistently race, put the Consulier GTP
straight in the hole. All in all, only 83 GTP’s were built between 1985 and 1996. Also, the Petersen Museum has
one of the two electric ones that were built back in the
day, and sold at the mall. Consulier Industries spun
off their automotive division into Mosler Automotive, in 1993. They rebranded the car
as the Mosler Intruder, and Mosler Raptor, before
halting production in 2000. Mr. Mosler took a shot at building his version
of the American Supercar, and while he didn’t
find commercial success, he’s done what a few have been able to do, and what a lot of us wish we could do. Also, the guy frickin’
ran for president in 2009, only to drop out to run
for a US Senate seat. This story is frickin’
wild, and speaking of wild, we’d really like to thank Ryan Wild for bringing this thing out here. He drove this, on LA streets, all the way out here to this studio. That blows my mind, I wonder
what people were thinking when they saw it on the road. (video blips) Yeah. Yeah, this is him. Oh, hi Mrs. Eddie. No, yeah, he’s behind the
camera, he’s directing today. Oh, the Tupperware? It’s still at the office. But I don’t know, he
keeps bringing lasagne, but never eats it. Yeah, I’ll let him know. Cool, yeah, I love you too, bye. (laughing)


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