Jim Glickenhaus’s journey from prolific car collector and commissioner of spectacular one-offs to fully fledged supercar maker and race team owner is a Hollywood scriptwriter’s dream. Ironic given that it’s his success as a movie producer and director that has in part provided the financial means to pursue his four-wheeled dreams.
Though he’s been on the car scene for many years, Glickenhaus rose to prominence in 2006 thanks to his Ferrari Enzo-based, spectacular Pininfarina-styled ‘P4/5’ commission. A bold and beautiful homage to Ferrari’s iconic late-60s P3/4 sports racer (an example of which Glickenhaus also has in his enviable collection), the P4/5 was so well received that Ferrari the project its blessing, allowing it to be referred to as the Ferrari P4/5.
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The love-in between Ferrari and the 71-year-old New Yorker has since soured somewhat, but far from deterring Glickenhaus this only served to spur him into redoubling his efforts and developing supercars from the ground up under his own Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus (SCG ) banner. Like Henry Ford II and Ferruccio Lamborghini before him, Glickenhaus has clearly drawn energy and strength from his conflict with Maranello.
As its name suggests, the SCG 004 is not the first SCG-badged machine, but it is by far the most important, for it’s the 004 that – if it proves successful – will cement Glickenhaus as that rarest of automotive marques: the maker of credible, covetable supercars with serious international racing pedigree.
The setting for our first drive of this intriguing supercar is as unlikely as the Glickenhaus story itself: the fruits of a collaboration between US-based SCG and Glickenhaus’s long-standing technical partners – Italian firm Podium Advanced Technologies (PAT) – driven for the first time at that most British of race tracks, Goodwood in Sussex.
To be completely honest, much as I adore this ultra-fast and totally unforgiving circuit, it would not be my first choice of venue to test a road-going supercar that’s still in a somewhat raw state of dynamic development. By ‘raw’ I mean a car that’s very much a work in progress. Not in terms of basic proof of concept, durability or reliability – these hard miles have already been successfully completed by earlier prototype test cars – but the all-important refinement of engine calibration, braking and damping. This, then, is a brand new supercar in its formal state.
It speaks volumes for what makes SCG – and Jim Glickenhaus – special that in addition to our exclusive drive of the 004S (S for Stradale) we also have the chance to drive the 004C (C for Competizione). Specifically ‘Mama’, the battle-worn car that has raced to commendable finishes in the 2020 and 2021 editions of the Nürburgring N24. This pair perfectly frame what sets SCG apart from other independent supercar makers, and why we should take Glickenhaus’s ambition and achievements to date very seriously indeed.
Sadly the man himself cannot be present at our test, but we have full access to SCG Racing’s team principal and PAT’s head of automotive engineering, Luca Ciancetti, SCG works racer Richard Westbrook, and the owner of 004S #001, Cici Muldoon. All are on hand to share what it is to build, race and own one of these fascinating supercars.
First the basics. The 004S is a mid-engined supercar built around a bespoke, PAT-designed carbonfibre tub cloaked in carbon bodywork. It is powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter Chevrolet V8, which drives through a six-speed stick-shift transmission. It also features a McLaren F1/Murray T50-inspired central driving position with a passenger positioned either side and slightly aft of the driver. So far, so cool.
Though designed and developed by PAT, SCG will build 004Ss to order at its new production facility in Connecticut. This car (chassis 001 and nicknamed ‘Gigi’ by Muldoon) is unique in that it is a customer car – the first! – but built by PAT in Italy in order to be completed in time for its dynamic debut at last summer’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.
It will also serve as a final development car to refine chassis and engine settings before the specification is set in stone, paving the way for the so-called ‘Founder Edition’ 004s that will be built in Connecticut for those long-standing deposit-placers who were first to support the project. According to Ciancetti, there is currently capacity to built 50 or so cars per year in the US. More than this and additional tooling will be required. There is no cap on production, the only limit being that which the market sets. Priced at $460,000 in its home market, it is expected to land in the UK for circa £350k.
Styled and aerodynamically honed in-house, it’s a convincing and compelling design. Muldoon’s highly personal color scheme is divisive, but doesn’t distract from a shape that very clearly evolves the Glickenhaus aesthetic. Not unexpectedly there are echoes of the classic Ferrari P3/4, but it fuses contemporary downforce-driven aerodynamics with curvaceous lines to create a car that’s contemporary yet redolent of the ’60s sports prototypes so beloved of its maker. It’s not as handsome as the SCG 003 that preceded it, but it’s proud and distinctive.
SCG claims a competitive if not class-leading kerb weight of 1480kg. For context, McLaren states 1339kg for its more hardcore 765LT, while Ferrari’s complex hybrid SF90 is 1570kg drained of fluids and fitted with lightweight options, but more like 1770kg ‘wet’ in a spec representative of a customer car. For many the 004’s commitment to an analogue driving experience and that central driver’s seat are more important than obsessively chasing weight savings. Besides which, any 600+bhp supercar that dips beneath 1500kg is going to be plenty quick enough.
Like all true supercars, the SCG 004 goes the extra mile with its doors, in this case slowly tilting forwards and out on powered rams. The process is a bit slow and cumbersome (PAT is working on a speedier solution), but there’s very little to complain about with the arrangement of the three-seater cockpit. Inevitably there’s a bit of clambering required to duck inside and work your way to the driver’s seat (via the left-hand side to avoid the right-mounted gear lever), but, once in, the view and driving position are terrific.
We’ve become so used to a pair of pedals in the footwell and a pair of paddles behind the steering wheel that it’s initially a bit unsettling to find three pedals and an H-pattern shift controlled by that right-hand gearstick. Add an array of simple dials across the dashboard and it takes you back at least two decades.
It’s made all the more timeless by a Momo Prototipo steering wheel, which is devoid of airbags and feels great in the palms of your hands. If there’s a criticism to level it’s that the ambience isn’t premium enough. The switchgear and instruments are a bit bland, despite wearing bespoke SCG branding, while the fixtures and fittings are rather nondescript and a little too functional.
One thing that feels bang on the money is the 646bhp 6.2-liter supercharged Chevrolet V8. These modern LS motors are hugely potent and pretty much bombproof. They also have a character distinct from the European obsession with twin-turbo V8s. One that’s very much in keeping with SCG’s proud American roots. It has a real presence but also impressive refinement. Where you might expect it to start with a hot rod holler, it gently rumbles into life before settling into a quietly potent idle. Not for SCG a Lamborghini-style shock and awe bombardment, though such a model is in the wider SCG 004 model plan, a little more of which later. For what it’s worth the Stradale could be a bit more vocal, but that’s easily addressed.
If the honest-to-goodness presence of a non-hybrid internal combustion V8 sitting behind your shoulders gives you a nice warm glow then the exposed gate stick-shift will make your inner purist rejoice. Especially when it’s blessed with a lightness and mechanical precision that makes it a joy to use. Supplied by CIMA, the ‘box is an established supercar staple and pairs brilliantly with the V8 to make a timeless and unusually engaging powertrain. One that sets the 004 apart from its contemporary rivals.
As I flagged at the start of this story, Goodwood is a fast and unforgiving venue for any car, let alone one with minimal mileage and with plenty of set-up work still to be done. According to this is a first drive in the truest sense of the words. Definitive appraisal can wait for a car with a finished set-up, but driven at modest speeds the early signs are hugely encouraging.
There’s an immediacy of response that gives the 004S a real sense of agility. A little more steering weight and feel would be welcome, if only to gain confidence through a greater sense of connection. For now it’s a bit glassy, but connection and feedback will come.
As it stands, the combination of keen response and a lack of feel means there’s an initial sense that in its keenness to head for an apex the nose will rotate more aggressively than the tail can cope with. However, having relaxed into the car, a little familiarity reveals a sweeter balance than the darty turn-in suggests. Once into the corner you can feel the lateral load building through the steering and form a picture of how hard the car is working. The rear end feels stable with well-matched roll front to rear, and though we weren’t really committing on corner entry or chasing the throttle on corner exit, the basics are very much present and correct.
As forewarned by Ciancetti, both the brakes and engine require detailed calibration work to finesse their response, the former being over-served and the latter having some obvious gaps in the mapping.
What’s clear is that even in this, the mildest of the SCG 004 range, the V8 motor delivers vivid acceleration – this tends to be the result of 630lbft from just 3600rpm – thanks to the meaty supercharged delivery that makes these Chevy motors so memorable. Somewhat against the modern obsession with synaptic upshifts, progress in the 004 is made all the more enjoyable by the brief punctuation points that come with each manual gearshift.
Ciancetti is under no illusions that the 004S is about to enter its most important phase, but when the final layers of polish are added (with extensive road mileage back in Italy) the SCG 004 feels poised to fulfil its potential to be a fast, habitable , entertaining and hugely individual supercar.
Glickenhaus SCG 004S specs
|Engine||V8, 6162cc, supercharged|
|Power||646bhp @ 6400rpm|
|Torque||630lb ft @ 3600rpm|
This story was first featured in evo issue 294. To purchase any back issues, or subscribe visit our online shop here