This Henrik Fisker roadster unfortunately remains a dream
T raumwagen Henrik Fisker has designed a few throughout his career. He drew the BMW Z8 and was responsible for the last model generation of Aston Martin, he helped launch the Artega and built the first green luxury sedan, the Fisker Karma, under his own name, even before Tesla did. But he has never had a car in his fingers: a Wiesmann roadster.
The open sports car from Dulmen has fascinated him from the first day on. The reason: There’s a kind of soul mate between "his" Z8 and the horseshoe from the province. Both are retro roadsters, and both run on the V8 engine from the BMW M5 of the era, Henrik Fisker says.
"Except that the Wiesmann was always the more radical sports car, the more brute driving machine. And of course the not so finely honed," the Dane qualifies. A little something, he lets slip, he would have known how to improve on the car. And it didn’t take much for him to do that too.
Because the fact that Wiesmann was in crisis was something Fisker himself noticed in the U.S.; that’s where the 53-year-old now lives and runs his own design studio in Los Angeles. And then Wiesmann even went bankrupt. When he heard about the impending sale rather by chance from an acquaintance in Monaco, he was electrified.
"I talked to a few friends and called an old acquaintance in London who had always wanted to get involved in the automotive business," he recalls of a little more than two years ago. The Brit was also immediately fired up, but had just 48 hours to raise the money needed to register in the bidding process.
Fisker has reactivated many BMW contacts
"And of course it was just the weekend."But somehow the two managed to do it, first putting up the guarantee and then a bid – and actually winning the deal.
While his London acquaintance took care of the planning for the deal, Fisker immediately took on the car. Pulled some old strings and negotiated a deal with BMW for the new V8 turbo from the current M5.
He talked to suppliers, brought in a couple of production specialists and a former BMW plant manager. And most importantly, he’s put pen to paper on a new Roadster worthy of a Wiesmann.
His design, seen here for the first time in public, shows a beefy two-seater in a modernized retro design with a brawny, wicked front end, a long, powerfully sculpted hood, a wasp waistline that’s as slender as it is strong, with seductive fenders and sporty gills, and a rear end that’s flat and wide, wearing only a tiny spoiler.
Although the new Wiesmann had the makings of a dream car, Fisker kept his feet on the ground and looked closely at the money in his design: Underneath the carbon body, he wanted to keep using the old platform for cost reasons.
And in addition to the engine, the headlights, for example, should also come from the BMW shelf – in this case from the Mini. He even wanted to source parts of the wiring harness in Munich to keep the investment small.
Although the duo was already quite far along, had a business plan for up to 2,500 cars a year and even had ideas for a larger coupe or an even smaller roadster based on, say, the Z4. "All we had to do was get started," says Fisker.
"The only thing we were missing was 25 million"
As he says this, his mood changes. He looks sad and angry, enthusiasm gives way to disappointment.
Fisker found that his acquaintance lacked the necessary money to fully launch the project. Or the courage to spend it. "Buying a company is the smaller problem," says Fisker. But if you want to get a place like this up and running again, you have to put a lot more money on the line.
"We had the car, the engine, the factory, the people to build it, and the customers to buy it," recalls a wistful Fisker: "The only thing we lacked was 25 million."
And collecting that money was apparently harder than he thought: Wiesmann is just not Tesla, Fisker laments; he had to learn that people are apparently no longer quite as willing to invest in such a supposedly old-fashioned car as they are in Elon Musk’s dreams.
This is how Fisker failed with his idea of a Wiesmann revival just before the finish line, and not much more remains of his new sports car than a few sketches.
The Berry brothers have not yet delivered
But he hopes someone else will have better luck. "All it takes is one enthusiast with 25 million to spare to make a bet on the future," he says, sounding more hopeful again.
"Because the world needs small exotic sports car companies and not just boring mass-produced cars."Besides, Fisker finally wants to drive a Wiesmann at some point.
At the end of 2015, English brothers Sahir and Roheen Berry bought the manufactory in Munsterland, Germany. Shortly after buying Wiesmann, the pair announced that there should be new models in 2016.
In addition, they said in the "Welt" interview that they wanted to set up the brand internationally and open up new markets with right-hand drive vehicles. In addition to Great Britain, large parts of Asia and Africa, as well as Australia and New Zealand, offer great potential. So far, however, there are no new products.