Those eager to spend upwards of $250,000 on a modern American muscle car are presently out of luck, but Michigan-based Equus Automotive aims to create and fulfill that quite specific niche early next year with the introduction of its first production car, the BASS 770. Named not for the fish but rather the baritone rumble of its mighty Corvette-derived engine (with 770 cc's of fuel capacity in each of its 8-Cylinders), this “fast and furious”-style 2+2 coupe is at once totally familiar yet thoroughly new, bringing the shape of the 60s Mustang fastback together with handibuilt, hi-lux fabrication to create an American-built dream car with an unabashedly exotic price tag.
“We wanted to show it’s possible to build a 21st Century car with the same charm and charisma as in the old days,” says Michael Oualid, head of External Affairs at Equus Automotive. “New cars are very nice, but the classics bring something that we just don’t have anymore.” I concur!
Despite its retro looks, the BASS 770 is indeed a spanking new car from the ground up, starting with a proprietary aluminum chassis and body that Equus equips with mechanical components sourced from a range of external suppliers. Carbon-ceramic brakes, a 6-speed dual-clutch manual gearbox, electronic stability control and adjustable magnetic suspension are all standard. Its 6.3 liter, 640HP V8 supercharged engine (from the previous-generation Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1) propels the BASS 770 from 0-60mph in 3.4 seconds, with a top speed of 200mph.
Oualid describes the 770’s design as “not arrogant, and very sympathetic in a way that draws you towards it rather than pushing you away,” and that cool approachability is carried through to its quietly rich interior trimmed with supercar niceties including carbon fiber door “inners” (which also line the hood and rear deck-lid), sheets of leather and Alcantara (aka faux suede), and solid aluminum switchgear and door-pulls. While fully equipped with navigation and connectivity for Bluetooth devices through the stereo, Equus reckons that overdesigning the interior with too many clever styling motifs creates too much visual context, leaving little room for the driver’s own imagination: I’m still weighing the merits of this interesting premise. That said, while it’s impossible to judge a car’s aesthetics and ergonomics (let alone driving dynamics) from photos alone, it looks impressive so far – both inside and out.
The allure of the BASS 770’s unique, somewhat fetishized take on Americana could be most exotic to those living outside the USA. Since the BASS 770 was announced in late September with prices beginning at $250,000, Equus has taken approximately fifty orders from clients (each putting down 30% cash up front) residing not only in the United States, but also Germany, Sweden, Asia, and the Far East to name a few. Only three Equus BASS 770 test cars exist today, with deliveries of production vehicles scheduled to begin after its debut at the Detroit Motor Show in late January, 2014. Equus plans to add more models in the future, with the BASS 770 reigning as the flagship.