Italy has a new car maker – sort of.
StudioTorino, an independent company controlled by Alfredo Stola and his wife Maria Paola, recently announced plans to produce the RK Spyder, the first model in what is expected to be a long line of exclusive, hand-assembled sports cars.
Alfredo Stola, a member of the illustrious Stola family, whose automotive engineering firm is most famous for a series of concept cars for such auto makers as Mercedes-Benz,Motor Co., and SA, sold 85% of his holding in the Stola Group in June 2004 to an Italian financial group.
StudioTorino was established the following January in Rivoli, Italy, near Turin, and will use a range of outsider suppliers to build its cars.
While a director of Stola, Alfredo initiated a series of one-off prototypes to show off Stola's engineering and body building skills. (See related story: Stola to Show Gandini-Designed Concept in Geneva)
Starting with-based models, like the Abarth Monotipo 98 and Dedica, Stola graduated to the Boxster-based S82 and GTS, all styled by Aldo Brovarone, an ex-Pininfarina designer who achieved immortality as the genius behind the Ferrari Dino 246.
The RK grew out of the Stola's Boxster variants. Alfredo's new StudioTorino plans to build only 49 cars, each to individual customer specification.
Although its Porsche beginnings are obvious, in fact the only panel the RK shares is the front left fender. The revised body is made of aluminum, steel and carbon fiber and takes 10 days to paint, confirming Alfredo Stola's obsession with quality finish.
Power comes from an Alois Ruf-modified, now 3.8L supercharged, version of Porsche AG's flat-6 engine, producing 409 hp at 7,000 rpm and 398-lb.-ft. (540 Nm) of torque at 5,500 rpm.
That is enough, Stola claims, for a 177 mph (285 km/h) top speed and acceleration times of 4.5 seconds 0-62 mph (100 km/h) and 13.8 seconds 0-124 mph (200 km/h).
The price of exclusivity doesn't come cheap. The RK lists for about €260,000 ($315,000), or more than five times the price of a Boxster S.