Gillet Vertigo 0.5 2008-2008

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vertigo.5 front

vertigo.5 front quarter

vertigo.5 profile

vertigo.5 rear quarter

vertigo.5 rear

Vertigo.5 FIA GT car

Vertigo Mk1

Alfa Romeo TZ3 Corsa, for comparison

Maserati Mostro, for comparison

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2010 Gillet Vertigo.5 Spirit

Country of Origin: Belgium

Design Info: A lightweight sports coupe made with exotic materials, including a honeycomb carbon fiber chassis (introduced in the Mk1 Vertigo) weighing less than 130 lbs. The aggressive styling is an evolution of the original Vertigo, which was itself loosely derived from the Lotus 7-based Donkervoort S8. The Vertigo.5 features all-around independent double-wishbone suspension and ventilated disc brakes. Total weight of the car is just shy of 2100 lbs.

Engine Info: While the original Vertigo was powered by a Ford-Cosworth 2.0 four cylinder, and subsequent models featured 3.0 and 3.6, and 4.0 liter Alfa Romeo V6s, the Vertigo.5 Spirit is powered by the 4.2 liter Ferrari-Maserati F136, most similar to those versions found in the Maserati Quattroporte and GranTurismo. In the Vertigo.5, the engine makes 420 hp and is good for a 0-60 mph sprint of 3.1 seconds.

Type: A lightweight ‚Äúpersonal supercar‚ÄĚ, the Vertigo.5 Spirit somewhat bridges the gap between lighter, less powerful track cars like the Donkervoort D8 and heavier, more powerful supercars like the Ferrari 458 Italia.

History: Not to be confused with the purveyors of an increasingly large number of razor blades on a single plastic handle, Belgian racing driver Tony Gillet began rally racing in 1968 in the cockpit of a Renault 4. By the early 80s, his involvement in motorsports had moved beyond simply driving: he began importing sports cars (built by Donkervoort) for sale in his home nation of Belgium, and he began constructing racing vehicles for competition in Dakar.

In 1990, Gillet modified a Donkervoort to capture a production car acceleration record, going from 0-100 km/h in 3.85 seconds. This modified Donkervoort would be the basis of Gillet‚Äôs first Vertigo prototype, completed in 1991 for the Brussels Auto Show in ‚Äė92. By 1994, the Vertigo Mk1 was ready for production, and set a new record in the same category as Gillet‚Äôs modified Donkervoort: 0-100km/h now in 3.266 seconds.

Gillet began building racing versions of the Vertigo, which first competed in the Belgian Racing Car Championship, or Belcar, in 1998. The car was adapted for FIA GT racing, and the 2007 and 2008 Vertigo GT3 cars debuted many features of the then new Vertigo.5 road car, including the 4.2 liter Maserati engine.

The Vertigo.5 Spirit first became available in 2010, and according to Gillet, each car sold is different, personalized for the buyer as a collaboration, and billed as a ‚Äúsupercar and work of art‚ÄĚ. Ostensibly Gillet continues to build the cars to this day, though actual production numbers are a mystery and Gillet‚Äôs website is difficult to navigate and shares little information of the manufacturer‚Äôs status today.

Why it’s cool/unique/significant: Belgium is not a country well-known for making sports cars, or, well, cars in general. Curiously, the most famous Gillet cars are not even publicly known as Gillets: the Alfa Romeo TZ3 Corsa (not to be confused with the Viper-based Stradale) and the Maserati Zagato Mostro, which are both, underneath their Zagato bodies, Gillet’s Vertigo.

Aside from this unusual wrinkle in Gillet’s story, the Vertigo.5 is best known for its dramatic (if polarizing) style and its presence in several Gran Turismo games. There’s not a lot of verifiable information available about it, even about its racing history, even from the website of Gillet itself. And that’s a shame, especially for something with such unusual styling and a racing heritage going back to the 60s.

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