Michigan has been synonymous with the automotive industry for more than a century. Revitalization is in the air, being helped along with an exciting start-up venture based in the small village of Holly, about 55 miles north of Detroit in the heart of car country.
Despite the severe economic downturn in 2009, engineer Jeff Lemke, CEO of Falcon Motorsports, decided to turn his focus from tinkering and retrofitting Vipers and Corvettes and pursue a dream of building his very own supercar. It turned out that Lemke’s timing couldn’t have been better. Many auto experts in the state found themselves with time on their hands and were eager to contribute to the project. The end result, which turned heads at the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, was an incredible hand-built mid-engine missile with the heart of an American hot rod.
The design of the F7’s exhaust is just one element directly inspired by fighter jets.
Painstakingly crafted almost entirely out of aluminum, carbon fiber and Kevlar, the Falcon F7 is a “cocktail” of all the cars Lemke’s ever loved: the Ferrari 288 GTO, Lamborghini, Corvette, Dodge Viper, Ford GT. It’s also part fighter jet. Lemke incorporated many features from U.S. fighter aircraft – including the exhaust and the instrument gauges – into the design (the name F7 is even a nod to the F15 jet). The mix of materials used makes the car incredibly lightweight at about 2,800 pounds.
Falcon is building their ninth F7, making this extraordinary vehicle a true hand-crafted ultra-low-production supercar. Lemke says that purchasing a car from his company is a “very intimate experience,” with each car set up exclusively for each individual customer. Some owners want to be on the race track all the time, while others just want to drive around in a statement-making GT car. One gentleman reportedly had his Falcon painted to match the color of his wife’s favorite handbag.
A new Falcon F7 costs approximately $295,000 for the standard 620hp model and $395,000 for the twin-turbo 1100hp version. It’s a lot of car for the money – especially when taking into consideration other carbon-fiber supercars of this caliber sell for significantly more, often into the seven figures.
The sleek design of the Falcon F7 is a blend of all the cars Falcon Motorsports CEO Jeff Lemke has ever loved – and is even part fighter jet.
The unique style of the Falcon F7 prototype caught the eye of a New York businessman, who approached Lemke at the Detroit Auto Show and told him he’d purchase the very first one. He did just that. “The Falcon is kind of out of this world,” he says. “It’s not something you’d normally see on the road. It’s an American exotic car.”
This VIN #001 Falcon Series 1 F7 is painted Sunset Orange – the only F7 sporting that color. The motor is an LS7 427ci with Lingenfelter performance components and a custom carbon-fiber intake manifold with separate plenums for each bank and long runners, creating 620hp and 600 ft/lbs of torque. A removable Targa roof panel exposes the top of the motor – a thing of beauty in its own right – through the massive rear decklid. (That decklid, by the way, is one of the largest single-piece carbon-fiber car panels in existence.)
The interior of the VIN #001 Falcon F7. The car “is kind of out of this world,” says the owner.
The transaxle is a Ricardo 6-speed, while the suspension is a coilover pushrod system with street-friendly damping, along with lightweight billet aluminum control arms and spindle uprights. This very first F7 uses a StopTech 4-piston braking system with 15-inch rotors front and rear. The 7-foot-wide and 44-inch high supercar has custom Forgeline 5-spoke wheels (10-inch front and 13-inch rear) wrapped in 20-inch Pirelli Pzeros.
Open the door to this Falcon and you’ll see black and orange custom leather from Venzano Interiors, along with custom billet gauges and knobs. Air conditioning, power windows, a keyless ignition and even two pieces of custom luggage add still more appeal to this remarkable car. “It’s a great driver,” says the current owner. “I can take it to the track if I want to, but it’s mostly set up for the street.”
There will be no mistaking the perfectly pitched roar of this 2012 Falcon Series 1 F7 VIN #001 as it motors onto the block at Barrett-Jackson’s Las Vegas auction at No Reserve in September 2015. This remarkable rolling work of art is certain to turn more than a few heads.