How much should you pay for speed? Since the first time “motor” and “sport” magnetically latched themselves together, money has always meant speed. The more cash you put in, the more performance comes out. This morning I came across the brilliant and beautiful Lucra LC470, which I’ve somehow overlooked for years. It looks simply wonderful, a modern, minimalist take on the Lister kit cars of yore. It hits 60 in 2.5 seconds. And this presented an interesting question: how much is it worth?
To look at the roofless Lucra is to see back through the ages to Le Mans in the late ‘50s. The lines are smooth and swervy, the hood would stick out of your garage door, and the stance is best described as “ready.” There’s one of those bumps behind the driver’s head, a pair of roll bars, and a gorgeous side-exit exhaust system. It’s a carbon fiber body wrapped around a mandrel-bent tube frame chassis, 1971 lbs, slipping up to 190 mph with the help of a GM V8 and a five-speed stick.
The S package includes the 6.3 liter LS3 engine and 550 hp. The SC package adds another 80 hp with an LS7. The latter is obviously the one claiming that 2.5 second on-ramp time.
And that was the first spec I saw about the car. I thought, “Such mad performance. This will have a supercar price tag. A Gallardo figure.” With the look of the thing, and the exclusivity factor, surely it would sell itself on rich guy cred alone. I was pleasantly confused to find that the S costs $85,000, and the SC $118,000.
Then I thought about it more. It’s just an SBC kit car, really, right? It’s been cleverly engineered, with the mill sitting so far back that it handles like a mid-engine car. But really, it’s a pretty simple machine. A glance through the interior reinforced this. There’s no stereo, no climate control, and no roof. Unless you get the SC, which comes with a removable cloth top.
So is it really worth so much? It’s a track car, sure, so we don’t expect the toys that come with a Mercedes, but Lucra seem to have priced the LC470, the SC, at least, into competition with something entirely different: the Nissan GT-R. Even the menacing Black Edition GT-R is priced under $100k, and that one reaches 60 mph in just 2.9 seconds. With that .04 second penalty you get a complete stereo system, GPS, AWD, cruise control, A/C, Bluetooth, launch control, back seats, and even a roof.
I actually think the Lucra is actually a bit overpriced for the competition. However, if you’re like me, you actually like things basic. You love that the dash isn’t packed with enough electronics to shame that shady shop on the corner. You enjoy the fact that there’s no fussy traction control, and that the transmission, which you have to reach down and shift yourself, only has five speeds.
But if they’re going to equip it as a stripped-down track tiller, perhaps a drop in price would be in order. Otherwise, why wouldn’t we just save several dozen grand and opt for an Arial Atom or a Caterham Seven? That’s where the Lucra’s real competition lies.
Or maybe I’m just being a grouch, a coin-stacking Scrooge with money on the brain, especially as it gets more and more expensive to live in America, and buying either the Lucra or the GT-R becomes more of a fiction. (But as long as we’re making things up, of the two, I’d probably choose the Lucra. That five-speed stick is enough for me.)