Project 50 - Dallara Masterpiece: KTM X-Bow
Project 50 – Dallara Masterpiece: KTM X-Bow

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Project 50 – Dallara Masterpiece: KTM X-Bow

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Project 50 – Dallara Masterpiece: KTM X-Bow

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Project 50 – Dallara Masterpiece: KTM X-Bow

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Project 50 – Dallara Masterpiece: KTM X-Bow

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Project 50 – Dallara Masterpiece: KTM X-Bow

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Project 50 – Dallara Masterpiece: KTM X-Bow

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Project 50 – Dallara Masterpiece: KTM X-Bow

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Project 50 – Dallara Masterpiece: KTM X-Bow

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Perhaps some of you remember her in a remote episode of Top Gear in 2012. At the wheel, an ecstatic Jeremy Clarkson exclaims that “it’s like driving on the attacker”, so much remains glued to the asphalt of Donington Park. A little less enthusiastic is his colleague James May, who defines the complicated procedure of starting the engine as “insane”. In those days there are those who do not consider the KTM X-Bow not even a car, but a kind of evolved rolling chassis. X-Bow is pronounced crossbow, “crossbow” in English. It is designed to be fired and hit the trajectory with the relentless precision and speed of a dart. But how, KTM doesn’t build motorcycles? And how: from supermoto to maxienduro, to superbike and MotoGP, things have never gone so well. The Mattighofen brand counts on a consolidated customer base with a hardcore approach in terms of dynamics and design. Here, keep these two factors in mind: in 2007 they were at the basis of KTM’s choice to think “out of the box”, out of its natural market.

As it is natural that the Austrian company turns to Gian Paolo Dallara to realize his very particular idea on four wheels. A perfect synchrony: for some time the Engineer has been thinking of a personal tribute to Colin Chapman, his design beacon since the 1960s. A concentrate of driving fun, performance and sensations projected ahead of the times. The modern evolution of the Lotus Seven, the last word on the power-to-weight ratio pronounced in Italian. The X-Bow is fast in its gestation: from the first sketch to the first lap of the prototype on the track, in Varano de Melegari it takes just nine months, during which the concept is tried and tested in the wind tunnel. Loris Bicocchi thinks of him on the track, between a Bugatti and a Pagani.

The result is a monocoque in composite materials with incorporated roll bar and global shock absorbing structures. The X-Bow is 3,078mm long, 1,202mm wide and 1,195mm high, with the wheels relegated to the four corners of the car. These are unusual proportions, among which, however, the 2-liter Audi turbo with 250 hp is at ease. Blissful lightness, the need is increasingly felt: the 790 kg help to project the X-Bow from zero to one hundred in 3.9 seconds, up to 217 km / h. Basically: the car according to Dallara, naked and raw.

2022-Dallara-ktm-xbow-007

If the top speed appears modest, consider that the X-Bow is a tray. No doors, no roof, a windshield so low it’s barely noticeable. Zero electronics, not even ABS is covered. Although it is the first two-seater sports car entirely in carbon homologated on the road, the creature by Dallara and designer Gerald Kiska was born to be driven with a helmet and without a filter, among the curbs. In the end Stefan Pierer, the boss of KTM, was so satisfied with the work done in Varano that he called the first series of 100 units “Dallara edition”. It seems that the engineer immediately set the condition that the first one be given to him – later we will see why. Promise kept.

Not so that of the market. The reception of the specialized press at the Geneva Motor Show and the Bologna Motorshow in 2007 swells expectations. To the point that, to build it in series, Pierer decides to acquire Wethje, a German company specializing in composite materials; and to set up a dedicated factory in Graz. The X-Bow tastes the market in 2008 starting from 45.850 euros plus taxes, a price in line with the various Caterham CRS 200 and Ariel Atom. These were light years, carefree, with the plus sign: the global crisis is still a storm front on the horizon. A little ‘the arrival of the cyclone, a little’ the very essence of the X-Bow drastically limit its commercial ambitions. At the end of 2009 the first series already sees the checkered flag, after just 450 toys sold and – ironically – the granting of the longed-for EU road homologation. Folly? Of the good ones, however, necessary to remind us every now and then of the essence of the sports car. However, there is a double happy ending. On the one hand, KTM insists and creates a complete range which today counts six models, closed and open. For his part, Dallara uses the experience on the X-Bow to design the Stradale, which debuts on the market in 2017. The realization of an old dream of the Engineer, which came true at the evergreen age of 81.

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#Project #Dallara #Masterpiece #KTM #XBow

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