This isn’t the whiskey-based Manhattan you order in a fancy hotel bar. It’s an extra-long, head-turning coupe that makes the Rolls-Royce Wraith look modest and restrained. It answers the question, “what would a Duesenberg look like today if the company was still in business?”
It turns out, a modern-day Duesenberg would borrow styling cues from the Art Deco style of the 1920s and ’30s without going full retro. The end result is like the mutant love child of a Morgan 4/4 and the one-off Maybach Exerelo, conceived behind a Rolls-Royce dealership after a few too many Manhattans. It boasts understated stainless steel accents, wide vents in the front fenders, and a shapely boat-tail rear end.
Godsil wanted to really make a statement, so it couldn’t settle for buying a V8 engine from Chevrolet or Ford. That would be a little too mundane, don’t you think? Instead, it took the eye-wateringly expensive route of developing its own engine with input from engineer Stephen Chue. Technical specifications haven’t been finalized yet, but power for the Manhattan will come from a V16 engine with a displacement of about 13 liter and an output of roughly 1,000 horsepower.
If everything goes according to plan, the Manhattan will become the first production car to use a V16 engine since 1940. And, let’s make this clear before you send us hate mail: The Bugatti Chiron uses a W16, not a V16. Unlike other 16-cylinder engines, the Manhattan’s runs on natural gas. The decision was made for ecological and patriotic reasons.
“Natural gas is about 33 percent cleaner than gasoline and produces similar horsepower, torque and fuel mileage,” explained company founder Jason Godsil. Also, it’s “America’s fuel, which means if it can get into the mainstream of vehicle use, America can stop buying oil from countries that don’t like us much,” he added.
The big question is: What’s next? In a long press release, Godsil explains it tried scoring grants from 48 states, and it attempted to secure part of Volkswagen’s massive settlement fund, but it failed both times. The Department of Energy wasn’t willing to help, either, and venture capital companies refused to invest money into the project — yikes.
The company told Digital Trends it’s currently funding the project and doing a lot of the work on its own, but it needs investors to take the the Manhattan to the next level. Once it obtains the financing it needs, it will take about a year to assemble the first prototype, and anywhere between three to five years to build the first regular-production car. Pricing is tentatively set to start in the vicinity of $650,000.
Ultimately, Godsil plans on launching a full lineup of ultra-luxurious, V16-powered cars. The family will include a four-door sedan, a SUV, and even a midengined supercar. It all sounds intriguing, but the first and most important step is getting the Manhattan project off the ground.
Updated by Ronan Glon: Added official information about Manhattan’s launch schedule and price.
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