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Lutz it or leave it: VL Destino – converted Fisker Karmas – coming in 2014

Loved the looks of the Fisker Karma but held off on buying one for fear of spending $120,000 on an unknown entity? Well, you made the right choice. If that money is still burning a hole in your pocket, you can still have a Karma. This time, though, it’ll have a Chevrolet V8 under the hood.

Called the VL Destino, the re-mangled Karma will cost you $200,000. For that money, though, you get a 450-horsepower direct injected Corvette V8 or – for more money – a 638-hp version that’s been fitted with a supercharger.

Right now, VL only has 25 Karmas to convert into Destinos, which it will begin selling by mid-2014.

The man behind the VL Destino is famed former General Motors chairman Bob Lutz. Speaking with Automotive News, Lutz explained the Destino delivery date: “It’s going to take time. I don’t want a rough car that’s hard to drive with a bad transmission and high noise levels. At close to $200,000, these things are going to have to be silky and buttery to drive. The sound and feel have to be just right.”

The Destino isn’t just a simple engine swap, though. VL bolts up a more conservative grille, and a few other superficial alterations.

Finally, someone seems to be taking their time with the Karma – in one form or another. The original Karma was riddled with issues and none less pressing than leaky battery packs, which discharged Prismatic fluid and then failed.

If you were one of the unfortunate souls who bought one of the 1,900 Karmas originally sold under Fisker, Lutz will happily upgrade your “pristine” Karma into a Destino for $100,000. Have one of the messed-up ones? VL can’t help you.

Once the first run of 25 is finished and sold, VL will turn to a fleet of Karma gliders, which are semi-completed cars without drivetrains.

Yes, VL might also be an unknown start-up but it’s backed by Lutz and powered by a pushrod Chevy V8. Even if Lutz kicks the bucket and VL goes under, you will still be able to get replacement parts for your engine. The same, sadly, cannot be said for the original Karma.

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