Beauty And The Brute: The Detroit Supercar
words Keith Charvonia images Justin Muir
The mid-engine bit is particularly interesting, since it’s a blend of exotic architecture with good ol’ American muscle. A tried-and-true Chevy LS7 is employed, and man, when you hear this thing coming, it’s convincing. This is due, at least in part, to the dual plane intake manifold, made from carbon fiber and billet aluminum. Not only does it look exotic and match the F7′s carbon construction, it also gives the car a unique sound and a good boost in horsepower – 620 of them in naturally aspirated trim. Interestingly, you won’t find this manifold on many other LS-equipped cars, mostly due to the added height and necessary hood clearance, but it really works here. Oh and if 620 horsepower aren’t enough, Falcon will build you a twin-turbo version that makes double that.
But how do you fit an American V8 in front of the rear wheels and still have room to sit? Jeff told me he first tried a transaxle out of a Ford GT, but they were just too hard to source. Believe it or not, the transaxle that’s used in a Lamborghini Gallardo proved easier to get, so that’s what the Falcon F7 runs.
It was at this point that it dawned on me: how did this guy come up with a car that looks so damn good and can drive down the road too? He must have tapped a design studio or engineering firm, right? Or not. Jeff told me he designed the Falcon the old-fashioned way – by hand. He already had lots of experience making hardtops and body kits for Vipers and Prowlers, so he had the skills. But still, to bust out a complete car is on another level. I probed further, wanting to know how he did it.
Finally I got Jeff to share at least a little bit about how he pulled this off. Apparently he first shaped one side of the car using foam, fiberglass and body filler until he was happy with the form of his new supercar. With half of the car sculpted, he had it 3D scanned and mirrored in a CAD program, then cut a complete F7-shaped foam plug out on a CNC so he could use it to make a mold.
Obviously it’s just not that simple though, because think about how you would wrap this sultry carbon fiber skin around a chassis that’s structurally sound, has the right suspension geometry and locates the mid-engine drivetrain. Yeah.
If there’s one thing that Jeff Lemke is most proud of with this car, it’s the fact that its built to drive. He’s used OEM components where necessary to make sure it has the solid feel and longevity a production car should and he’s also gone to the lengths of crafting a comfortable cockpit with all the modern options one would hope for. It’s got power steering, push-button start, a radio and even air conditioning if that’s what the customer wants.
He didn’t have to, but Jeff made every panel on the car, inside and out, from carbon fiber – then he reinforced them with Kevlar. It keeps the weight down and although there’s paint over it, you can still spot the carbon on the insides of the panels. For the interior he left the carbon fiber parts bare, and clearly had some fun with the CNC machine making billet parts too.
Like the rest of the car, the interior is a blend of OE, aftermarket and bespoke components, all of which play together nicely.
Being a supercar, there’s the obligatory gated shifter, and I really like the exposed mechanism underneath. One thing I found particularly interesting is that while the body and drivetrain are decided, an F7 customer can completely customize their interior, with each one built to spec.
Under the rear-tilting hood sits the suspension integrated with the drivetrain, a blend of Corvette ZR-1 components and Penske rocker-actuated coilovers. The way all of this nests together and functions is truly something beautiful.
Falcon used StopTech big brakes on this car, but you can spec full carbon Brembo stoppers if you want, probably a good idea if you go for that twin-turbo option. The brakes don’t look huge, but that’s because they’re riding in 20″ Forgeline wheels.
If you look closely, you’ll see these have been made specially for the Falcon F7, with a logo to match.
When I first stood by the Falcon F7, I found it intimidating. I mean, this is a proper supercar after all. It didn’t even cross my mind to shoot it for a feature because it seemed so, well, exotic – and I’m more of a hot rod guy myself.
Without that little push from a friend, I wouldn’t have looked closer and discovered what the F7 is all about. Turns out it is a hot rod in a way, and the story is as American as can be, forged from the determination and grit of one inspired individual who wanted to do things his way.
Top speed: 200 mph, max power: 620 wheel horsepower naturally aspirated, optional 1300 wheel horsepower twin turbo, weight: 2850 lbs (1293kg), 0-60 in 3.3 sec, 60-0 in 100 ft, 1/4 mile 10.9 sec, lateral acceleration 1.3g
Mid-engine 427ci LS7, Carbon XR dual plenum intake manifold, dual 90mm throttle bodies, Lingenfelter internals, dry sump oil system
Six-speed transaxle from Audi R8/Lamborghini Gallardo, dual disc clutch, optional Kevlar clutch
Aluminum, Kevlar and carbon fiber monocoque construction Suspension/Brakes Penske push-rod actuated coilovers, Corvette ZR1 spindles and control arms, sway bars, and steering rack, variable speed hydraulic power steering, Stoptech brakes, six-pot piston caliper with 15.5″ rotor (front), four-pot piston caliper with 15″ rotor (rear), optional carbon ceramic Brembo brake package
Forgeline 20×10 wheels with 275/35/20 Michelin Pilot Super Sport (front), Forgeline 20×13 with 345/35/20 Michelin Pilot Super Sport (rear)
All carbon fiber with layered Kevlar for strength, front splitter, side skirts and rear diffusers incorporated into body design, removable targa roof panel
Leather interior with billet gauge surrounds and knobs, air conditioning, power windows and keyless ignition
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(via Beauty And The Brute: The Detroit Supercar | Speedhunters)