What do you do when you’re an aeronautical engineer who can’t find a good lightweight, road-legal supercar on the market that meets your requirements? Build your own, of course. At least that’s the way Andy Round decided to do things. The original car, which was built in the United Kingdom, was called the F400 and was modeled after Formula 1 cars and powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder Audi engine. When the car was licensed by Michigan-based Autosport Development, they dropped the Audi engine in favor of a 6.0-liter V8 sourced from a Chevrolet Corvette and re-christened the car the G400.
The LS2 Corvette Engine is tuned to 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque in road-legal trim, though dedicated racers could be tuned for more. That may seem a bit small for such a massive engine, but when you take into account the fact that the Deronda G400 only weighs 1,890 pounds, that is more than enough. That equals a 0-to-60 mph time of about 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 183 mph.
The secret to the G400′s light weight is in its tubular frame construction. The two-inch tubes are made of chromium molybdenum steel. The addition of chromium and molybdenum to the steel alloy results better strength and durability, meaning that the frame can be smaller and lighter than it could have been if it was a pure steel tubular frame. In fact, while the tubes are two inches in diameter, the wall thickness is only 0.095 inches thick.
The engine is placed in the middle of the frame and is mated to a five-speed manual transmission sourced from Porsche which brings the power to the rear wheels. A custom suspension system is installed that utilizes different length control arms that take advantage of the tubular frame’s design in order to keep the wheels on the road and the grip firm. Stopping power is provided by brakes sourced from a C5 Corvette.
The body panels are created out of light weight carbon fiber and fiberglass in order to keep the weight down. Also, the Deronda G400 is lacking in doors. In order to make a car door that is able to withstand crash impacts, auto engineers have to build it out of all sorts of support members and braces, which or course make it heavier. So, the Deronda just got rid of them and used the tubular frame to provide the safety. If you’re taking the G400 out for a night on the town, make sure your date doesn’t wear a dress.
Of course, the Deronda G400 isn’t really meant for luxurious cruising. This car takes its racing pedigree seriously and the cabin is minimal at best. There are seats (with racing harnesses), pedals, gauges, a shifter, and a steering wheel. And not much else. This car was definitely designed with track days in mind.
The ride of the car makes you wish you had a huge, open track in front of you. The 400 lb-ft of torque is almost always fully on tap, thanks to the gearing of the transmission, so ample acceleration is just a foot press away. Don’t jam down on the gas pedal though, because that will cause your tires to spin and smoke as they search for grip. And besides, you don’t really need all that power, at least not on the road. Taking it easy on the gas in a Deronda G400 is like pushing an average sports car to its limits. You will get a little tired, though. The steering is unassisted which is great to give you a better feel for the road, but after driving for a bit your arms will be getting tired. Then again, the G400 will get you wherever you need to go in only a minute or two, so that’s not really an issue.
And then there’s the price which, considering the abilities of the car, is about as light weight as its frame. The base MSRP is $64,000, incredibly low for a car that could run circles around supercars that cost four times that amount. There are a bunch of customization options, so the final price tag will probably get into the $80k range, but that’s still a pretty penny less than a Ferrari F430 or Lamborghini Gallardo. But while the price may be low, the waiting list will be high. Each Deronda G400 takes about eight weeks to build, as the contruction is done entirely by hand, and Autosports Development only plans on building 10-15 of them each year. So get in line now, and get ready for the drive of your life.