When a Mercedes just won’t do
Henrik Fisker has some crazy thoughts. The CEO of Fisker Coachbuild and former design honcho at both BMW and Aston Martin looked at the Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG Roadster one day, a beautiful piece of modern automotive art, and apparently thought, “Nice, but I can do better.” The result is the 2006 Fisker Tramonto, a completely rebodied SL55 AMG that looks remarkably unique and offers an interior swathed in leather equivalent to the skins of an entire Texas herd. Needless to say, Henrik probably won’t be the keynote speaker at this year’s Man of the Year ceremony. Chances are his Tramonto won’t be recognized by the Green Car Journal, either, as it’s powered by the Mercedes-Benz’s supercharged 5.5-liter V8 that cranks out 493 horsepower and 516 lb.-ft. of torque in standard guise, while the Performance Plus Package, which includes tweaked exhaust and camshafts, boosts output to 610 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. of twist. Premium unleaded is required, so don’t go thinking that the big spending is over after the $234,800 sticker price has been covered. That lofty figure includes $126,000 for the SL55 AMG that serves as the Tramonto’s backbone, $7,500 for a Fisher trim package, $35,500 for a Fisker custom trim package, and a weighty $108,000 for the Fisker Coachbuild body, which features carbon fiber panels and milled aluminum that shines like chrome. There’s also $43,000 tossed in there for the Performance Plus Package, which besides the 610-horsepower supercharged engine, adds aluminum paddle shifters for control of the five-speed automatic transmission, larger cross-drilled disc brakes, and promises a 0-60 mph time of only 3.6 seconds; the “base" 2006 Fisker Tramonto lethargically meanders to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. Top speed is reportedly 202 mph, and mating the whole shebang to the ground are 20-inch forged alloy wheels, with Michelin Pilot Sport 255/30 tires up front and 325/25 tires out back. Buyers interested in purchasing a 2006 Fisker Tramonto might face a challenge in obtaining their very own copy. Mr. Fisker promises that all of his company’s models, now and in the future, will be limited to a production run of only 150 units. There are currently four dealers in the Los Angeles area, with expansion expected gradually throughout the U.S. So, if you’re not one of the lucky and extremely wealthy individuals fortunate enough to land a Tramonto, you might just have to settle for a Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG and drive through the neighborhood with shame.
Photos by Ron Perry