Falcon: a modern American supercar
acarplace.com talked with CEO Jeff Lemke about the Falcon F7, a modern American supercar to be built in Holly, Michigan. The car has a six-speed manual transmission with a 620 horsepower V8; the projected 0-60 is 3.6 seconds, with a top speed estimated at 200 mph. The car weighs less than 2,800 pounds and costs around $225,000. Despite the name, this is the first Falcon car.
What did you do before making the Falcon?
Before this, I did aftermarket parts for the Dodge Viper, we did body kits and hard tops, and we still do them.
My first product was working with the guy who did the interior on this [the Falcon], and I did the rings around the original Viper RT-10 gauges. I helped him with the leather and things like that. But then when I owned my first Dodge Viper, I designed a 3 piece hard top that went in that went in the trunk because the first ones didn’t have windows and tops and all that. The tops were awful, the ragtop thing. I wanted a really nice looking top that fit in the trunk, and that’s a product that I still make and it’s still popular. The Dodge community loves it. I did body kit for the newer Viper and I did hard tops for that car and some other things and eventually I did this.
It’s the same company we have now. It was named AP Engineering at the time, it’s still the same company but we changed the name.
Do you have an online site for parts?
Marc: Yeah, I think it’s under Mach 7 Motorsports, you can go to that website and see all the Dodge Viper products. It’s in Holly.
Who did you work for before you started the company?
Guy1: I’ve always been in business for myself.
Have you been more of a supplier per se, for Chrysler?
Guy1: No, it was my own aftermarket company. No, I actually did some production work for Chrysler with the hard tops, at the time it was Mercedes, and Mercedes bought a bunch of hardtops from me to do their new SLC convertible. It was disguised as a Viper so they bought a bunch of Viper stuff to do their testing.
So you look to see what you might be able to build for other companies and other cars?
Yes, well right now since this car is so big for me I just want to focus on the car and not so much the after market products. I don’t know what the future will hold; we will see how we do here.
So you have a big facility?
It’s not a big facility at all; it’s very small, very humble. We have a team of people who are very passionate about what they do. We make our own molds. We do our own lay-ups for the carbon fiber, we paint and we assemble the car there. Assemble the interior, we do all the design and engineering there.
The chassis is a race car chassis; it was based on a successful race car. A gentleman named Fran Hall in Clinton Township and his design is incorporated into this car. He came to us and said let’s put a chassis under the Falcon that is just going to kill everybody. We will base it on a successful race car, which he did, there were a few modifications to get it to a street car but basically there is a pretty raw, serious race car under that.
More designed for street use but if you wanted to race it you could?
Oh, yeah, it definitely has one foot in the race track. It’s very serious about its mission to perform.
It started out that I just wanted a sexy GT car for myself that was no joke that really performed. That was the original vision. And it has since morphed into a little more serious race car than what I had envisioned it to be, but I am glad it is.
Has it replaced the Viper?
Has it replaced it for me? Oh yeah, definitely it has. The Viper is probably one of my favorite cars of all time. I can’t say enough great things about the Dodge Viper. The new one coming out is amazing. I was fortunate enough to get to see it. I love it a lot.
Is there room for parts on the new Viper?
I don’t know yet. I think I will have to get more time. What I saw of the new Dodge Viper was very brief. I thought it was wonderful, I thought it was very inline with what the Dodge Viper is. Ralph is a great guy. I take a lot of my design cues from him. He is my inspiration as a designer. His designs are spot on; the way that he looks at lines and the way that he envisions a car are great. He made a minivan look good! He’s a real car guy.
What are your future plans then for production?
We are going to start taking orders and build cars. There’s no real set goal. We want to build 10 cars this year and then maybe ramp it up to 20 in the following years but nothing overwhelming. It’s a very niche type of thing. There is no way that we are competing with anyone. We are doing are own thing.
Do you plan on doing any shows this year besides show and tell?
I think we have a handful of things in mind. My marketing guys, they are the one who are very serious about getting that organized.
We have a lot hard work invested. It’s a great start and an honor to be at the Detroit Auto Show. It was a lot of hard work to get here.
You said before that your customers can drive the options as far as color and interior, your customers can pick out what they want?
Yes, and not only that, but we are doing something with the first ten customers, they actually get to be involved in the final development of the car. They can have a hand in what the car will ultimately be in 2013 for the most of what we build. They will get to come to the track with us and drive these cars and say we like this about the suspension but let’s do this, or I think we should have more sound deadening or let’s go with this type of tire. Ultimately, these first 10 customers will help shape and be part of the team that’s going to finish developing the car.
I think the guys who will want to be involved in that will be serious car enthusiasts and will know what they are doing. We are going to kind of weed them out and make sure that that’s what they are.
Where is your facility?
It’s in Holly, Michigan.
Falcon’s home page is at http://www.falconf7.com/