Jay Leno Champions the Rezvani Beast Supercar
In which the comic heralds boutique manufacturers as the future of cars.
Ferris Rezvani wants to make supercars affordable, a noble endeavor we can get behind. His first attempt is the 2016 Rezvani Beast, a supercharged 500-horsepower number that’s draped in carbon fiber and clocking in at a lithe 1,600 pounds. The power to weight ratio is wonderful, the design is achingly pretty, and the topless coupe’s snarls and snorts are loud and commanding. On paper, Rezvani’s brainchild ticks all the hallmarks of a supercar. As he showed Jay Leno the rear-engined Beast, Rezvani drops a bomb: The underpinnings are that of an Ariel Atom.
The conversion from stripped-down track-day hero to Rezvani Beast takes about 12 weeks, and it’s fully custom to buyer whims. Even the horn will be a sound of the owner’s choosing. Everything is handmade, even that double-layer carbon fiber body, which is crafted by one of the four staffers at Rezvani’s factory, where current output is one Beast per month. The powerplant is a Honda K24, fitted with a Rotrex supercharger. Rezvani avoided a turbo because he wanted immediate throttle response and less underhood heat. That powerplant is mated to a six-speed manual transmission plucked from a Civic Type R.
Rezvani explains his vision to Leno: The Beast should be a hyper-light, high-performance car sans electronic aids and filters. It should offer a proper driving experience, one that makes you feel like you’re racing, even at 30 mph. Lastly, it should be affordable.
While that’s admirable, didn’t Ariel already do that with the Atom? And when enough people complained about the Atom’s roadworthiness, Ariel made a windshield optional, plus wipers and other DOT-required bits. The main difference between an Atom and the Beast is Rezvani’s body, which, while stylish, adds 350 lb. to the car. Leno jokes that it’s just like plopping your very fat friend in the passenger seat. Rezvani says the body improves the aero, claiming that airflow over the car is perfect at 100 mph.
You’d expect the Beast to put up some impressive spec numbers. Indeed it does, considering it’ll sprint to 60 mph in 2.7 seconds. But that’s exactly the same time it takes an Atom to hit 60. As Leno says, the Beast basically is an Atom with clothes.
So how much does it cost to buy a Rezvani Beast? $159,000. Not exactly inexpensive, particularly when considering that an Atom 3S is about $90,000.
Throughout the episode, Leno makes a case for bespoke manufacturers such as Rezvani. He says that as more small builders come online, the more we return to a golden age of motoring like the 1960s. The denim-clad comic also thinks smaller groups are now set up better than ever to buy the best components and assemble them into properly incredible vehicles.
He’s right about that. But if you’re just adding a body kit and a bigger engine to an already existing platform and charging double for it, that doesn’t seem like a sustainable business model. Rezvani says he has two new models forthcoming, based on other platforms, though he won’t disclose details.
Leno closes the episode with a spiel about why work like Rezvani’s is important, though adding a slight disclaimer that the Beast may not be a supercar per se. We concur.