If you're a true Pinoy Petrolhead, you will definitely appreciate and celebrate today's event - the launch of Michel Motors' Gitano. Not only is this this Michel's first foray into designing and building its own cars (Michel is perhaps the foremost kit car maker in the Philippines), it is most likely the most ambitious attempt at building a Philippine-made sports car. It also has the distinction of being the first ever Philippine-made hybrid sports car.
Continuing the work of Michel Motors' founder Nene Syquia, Jan Kierulf and Reggie Sy, with designer Christopher Lacson, set out to create something unique. Using a lightweight fiberglass body penned by Chris Lacson, and a next generation American designed and built hybrid powerplant, it will definitely have sporting character. The lightweight electric motor weighs just over 100kg, and puts out about 250bhp.
The car is still an unfinished prototype, and has several details that have yet to be unveiled, but it is very close to a working, running vehicle. It sets off this Wednesday for Las Vegas, USA, to be part of the world-famous SEMA show.
It's not everyday you get to be part of something not just exciting, but groundbreaking. And it's been my pleasure to have been part of this project (through Glasteck, Inc., who created the custom glass panels for the entire car). Here's to the success of the Gitano, and the Philippine automotive industry!