As a nation of 328 million people, we Americans own some 274 million automobiles. While the overt purpose of all this sundry rolling stock is to drag our lazy carcasses from Point A to all points beyond, our cars represent much more than mere mechanical conveyance. Asserting that a motor vehicle is little more than unadorned transportation would be akin to standing atop the catwalk in Milan and proclaiming that clothes need do nothing beyond keep us warm and dry.
A Tactical Ride is a Statement
Reality is that our vehicles are fashion statements and status symbols all mounted atop four sexy wheels. A nice sportscar is a safe and legal recreational drug. It really isn’t just about getting there. It’s about getting there in style. Nowhere will you find a better embodiment of that timeless truism than in the Donkervoort D8 GTO-JD70.
What’s A Donkervoort?
A Donkervoort is first and foremost a guy. Joop Donkervoort is the man behind his eponymous car company. Founded in 1978, Donkervoort Automobielen BV is a high-end manufacturer of hand-built, ultralight, high-performance sports cars located in Lelystad, Netherlands. Donkervoort’s motto is “No Compromise,” and his vehicles religiously eschew electronic driving aids like anti-lock brakes or electronic stability programs. Donkervoort cars provide a virgin interface between the driver and the road.
Donkervoort is 70 years old this year. So, in celebration of his birthday, the company is releasing a limited edition sports car. There will only be 70 copies produced, and more than half of them are already sold. If you’ve got a little cash and you don’t mind being the center of attention no matter where you drive, then the Donkervoort D8 GTO-JD70 is your ride.
Broad brush, the Donkervoort D8 GTO-JD70 is a lightweight, track-capable supercar that is comparably at home stylishly scooting out to Home Depot to pick up a few emergency toilet parts. The 2.5-liter, in-line, five-cylinder engine hails from Audi Sport and produces 415 bhp along with 520 Nm of torque. This spunky plant is slaved to a close-ratio, five-speed manual gearbox. A short-throw gear lever along with reinforced synchromesh maximize the awesome. The meticulously crafted gear ratios maximize highway performance and fuel economy without sacrificing the car’s space shuttle-grade blast-off.
The skeleton of the GTO-JD70 is a tubular steel ladder frame liberally enhanced with carbon fiber and aluminum for additional strength and minimal weight. The double wishbone wide track suspension system includes trailing arms at the rear end. The car’s coil springs are custom-crafted for Donkervoort, while the front and rear anti-roll bars are adjustable.
The Italian firm Tarox does the brakes. 310mmx24mm wave-pattern discs and six-piston, monobloc calipers manage the chaos up front. Single-piston calipers interface with 285mmx24mm discs in the back.
Past Donkervoort cars have generally eschewed power steering systems. However, the GTO-JD70 includes an optional ultra-lightweight electric power steering system that will prevent drivers from having to test their strength or endurance limits unduly. The adjustable nature of this custom EPS means the driver can readily switch from one steering setting for track work to another for a raucous drive through the city. This EPS even allows drivers to change the relative weight of the wheel to suit their mood.
The exhaust system is located along the sides of the car. This frees up space that can enhance the aerodynamic downforce of the rear end. It also produces a unique timbre that announces your arrival long before you come around that last corner. A redesigned diffuser on the back along with louvers on the cycle wing covers add an aggregate 130kg of extra road-hugging down pressure over previous superlative Donkervoort designs. A redesigned underbody increases the cooling air to the differential, as well.
The visible bodywork is a predominantly carbon fiber/Kevlar weave. You can custom paint the body or leave it naked. A simple lacquer coating is available in your choice of polished or matte finishes. The newly designed front geometry features a hexagonal motif. These bits are all formed from 3D-printed composites.
More than 95 percent of the Donkervoort D8 GTO-JD70’s bodywork is carbon fiber. While this makes the car preternaturally light, it also remains profoundly strong and fully compliant with restrictive European Commission Small Series crash regulations. The single-piece doors designed for these cars have inspired components used in cycling, yachting and aviation.
Built for Speed
The empty weight is a mere 1,529 pounds. There is room for two people and another 250 liters devoted to luggage space. That’s honestly not a whole lot. However, you don’t use this car to tote the extended family to Niagara Falls over Memorial Day weekend. The Donkervoort D8 GTO-JD70 will pull more than two lateral Gs in a tight turn. Combine this with zero to 120 miles per hour in 7.7 seconds and you have the sort of ride typically reserved for SpaceX.
The seats are formed from carbon fiber, while the quick-release steering wheel serves as a multi-function unit to save both weight and switchgear on the instrument panel. The cockpit layout is well reasoned, efficient and intoxicating. The overall effect both inside and out is rakish, radical and inimitably cool.
Aesthetics and Options
A Toyota Prius is an eminently more practical automobile at a fraction of the cost. However, you don’t buy a car like this because it is practical. That’s why God made minivans. The Donkervoort D8 GTO-JD70, by contrast, makes an undeniable statement.
Zipping through the drive-through pickup line at the local elementary school in a Donkervoort D8 GTO-JD70 instantly catapults you to the rarefied post of “Coolest Uncle in the Universe.” It will also likely land you a date with that hot first-grade teacher who is riding herd on all those other little monsters. If you don’t like being looked at, you should probably be thinking about a different car.
A car like this is a reflection of its owner, and every owner is different. This axiom is manifest in the plethora of add-ons and options available for this particular model. Variegated exhaust systems, restraint harnesses, electronic data displays, and rim and tire options are all on the menu. An optional MXS Pista digital color instrument display with Wi-Fi data logging and GPS live lap timing are options for those who are truly track-bound.
An ultra-lightweight air conditioner as well as rear-facing camera are both available, as are two different built-in alarm systems. Xenon headlights help displace the darkness, while optional wind deflectors can be added to the window frame to minimize in-cabin turbulence. The fabric roof must be manually mounted or removed. Such stuff lets you customize your Donkervoort ride to suit your mood, reputation and comportment.
So Sign Me Up
Not so fast, my friend. The Donkervoort D8 GTO-JD70 isn’t your run-of-the-mill Mustang GT or Corvette Stingray. The consistent thing about rare, hand-built sports cars is that the price is the same as rare, hand-built sports cars. The baseline stripped down Donkervoort D8 GTO-JD70 will set you back a cool 200,000 Euros. At today’s exchange rate, that’s about $226,000. Extra stuff costs, well, extra. You could easily drop a quarter-million dollars on one of these vehicles. Just what might you get for that not insubstantial investment?
As supercars go, that’s actually a fairly reasonable price, believe it or not. The Donkervoort Company offers financing terms as well. Even when compared to such staples as Ferrari and Lamborghini, however, the Donkervoort D8 GTO-JD70 is truly fresh and new. Amidst a sea of high-end automobiles, the GTO-JD70 is going to be the one that really stands out.
You could buy a really nice airplane for what one of these rascals would cost. That airplane will likely get you from place to place a bit faster, as well. However, it’s not always about how fast you get there. Sometimes it’s more about getting the attention of that hot first-grade teacher. Quite literally, nothing does that better than the Donkervoort D8 GTO-JD70. For more information, visit donkervoort.com.