Totem throws out the baby with the bath water with its stupendously pretty take on the Alfa Giulia GT
By Sam Sheehan / Tuesday, November 10, 2020
Say what you will about the moral dilemma of hacking apart a classic car, but the new GTelectric is pretty, right? Apparently just 10 per cent of the original 1300 or 1600 Alfa Romeo Giulia GT Junior donor car remains when Totem is done with it. But it seems to have kept the right bits. The finished job has created an absolute stunner, melding sixties styling with a footprint designed to appeal to more contemporary tastes. With a new 518hp electric powerplant, there's plenty of go to the show, and thanks to a carbon fibre body weighing only 95kg and a low-mounted battery, it ought to handle, too.
Following the early design sketches and renderings released in March, new Italian firm Totem Automobile has delivered these snaps of its finished prototype along with more details. We knew of the car’s 50.4kWh battery, its 3.4 second 0-62mph time and its 152mph top speed, as well as its 224-mile range. Now, we know the 130kg electric motor produces 723lb ft of torque (!), the battery weighs 330kg and its capacity is 3400mAh. We’re told that the production-spec car will weigh 1,270kg all in, and get manually adjustable Bilstein dampers as standard. Buyers can upgrade to electrically adjustable ones. Sounds good.
To finish it off, the car sits on gorgeous pepper pot 17-inch wheels wrapped in Continental ContiSportContact tyres, while the brake hardware includes 345mm discs all round to ensure it stops as well as it goes. That brake setup suggests the overall layout is evenly balanced; Totem may be new, but it emphasises its commitment to a lavish attention to detail. Apparently, buyers can completely customise their car’s interior, such is the flexibility enabled by the 6,000 hours of combined handwork required by 18 staffers to build each GTelectric. This isn’t a reversible process; Totem says each donor car is “totally disassembled” before the extensive modification can take place. The standard car’s frame is “finely tuned and stiffened by hand” to survive the power.
Even more controversial than the thought of destroying the Alfa to save it, will be the decision to fit speakers that mimic the sounds of an internal combustion engine. Totem says that “thanks to the fusion of gaming and ICE calibration”, the tones of the original four-pot can be replicated in line with a driver’s throttle and control inputs. It adds that engineers can even “use a gear lever selector digitally connected to our controller with the same mechanical feeling of a conventional one”. Pretend changing gears that don't actually exist? How very 2020.
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