Gillet: supercar better not!

A bit about the creator

His automotive career started with Gillet that began modifying subcompacts hatchback Renault 4 to participate in the Belgian Rally Championship in 1968. Forced "insects" were affordable and in demand by novice pilots. But Tony did not want to just build sports cars for someone else, but also to take part in competitions. In the late '70s in Belgium gathered momentum this extreme sport like mountain race – speed climbing streamers on heavy-duty vehicles. Often on the track it was not even any limiting strikers …

First Gillet performed at definable bolidah Renault Formula 2, but later moved to an even more serious equipment: racing car, "Formula 5000" with 700-horsepower engine and rear tire width of about 80 cm! This monster several times he won the title of Mountain races in Belgium. In addition to the mountain of the competition, he was Tony and racing marathons – for example, won prizes in the 24 hours of Spa-Francorchamps.

Soon the race in a circle he was tired, and our hero became interested in rally-raids. Gillet first time participated in the legendary marathon "Paris-Dakar" 1982 in the Toyota Land Cruiser, prepared in-house. In those years the "Dakar" was the race enthusiasts, keen racing, and many had no significant finance to build a race car. Artisanal and primitive some designs did not work for Tony, and he decided to cook his own racing SUVs. In 1983, the "Dakar" Jacky Ickx won at the Mercedes G-klasse, car interested private traders, who had a budget, and Gillet decided to establish their own SUV.

Thanks to his connections with the military he was able to arrange to defense plants located far away from his hometown, gave a small company Gillet Racing … waste composite materials production. First Gillet used for their machines composite with aluminum honeycomb matrix, and then one of the first to actively use carbon fiber and Kevlar. It was a sensation: racing SUV Mercedes Gelandewagen for rally-raid "Paris-Dakar" with the external body panels from carbon fiber debuted almost parallel with the formulary fireballs McLaren MP4 / 1, which had a monocoque made of the same carbon. True, the SUV with the body of the space and cost of materials for space: in the carbon panels needed to put the price of another G-Class, and not in the poorest complete. But it was worth it – the mass of an SUV with a composite body fell just 250 kg.

Of course, the production of carbon residues from the military industry was not massive, but the number of racing teams still used in new car – the result was a 2nd place on the podium. As a result, in 1987 the project of carbon bodies for Gelendvagenov buys sports department of AMG. And Gillet Racing switched to the creation of carbon fiber monocoque commissioned by racing teams from Europe. Business took off, and in the early '90s, Tony Gillet started to think about creating your own supercar.

1990 – Foundation of Gillet Cars

The company was established a separate unit, which was commissioned to create a road car. According to Tony Gillet, it had to be as easy, fast and at the same time durable and safe for their passengers.

1992 – Gillet Vertigo Prototype

The prototype of the new car, get the name of the Vertigo, which translated from French means "fad" was shown at the Brussels Motor Show and made a splash there. Still – lightweight (weighing only 990 kg) Roadster, the world's first, had an open-monocoque body made entirely of carbon fiber! The car was equipped with a two-liter inline turbo engine capacity of 230 hp, which is borrowed from the Ford Escort Cosworth. First, as an advertisement, in Gillet conceived to participate in the races, but the finance company with a tiny hard enough for experienced car construction.


However, in order to glorify your car, Tony Gillet decided to apply to the Guinness Book of Records to register the record of accelerating from zero to 100 km / h. Record prototype Gillet Vertigo equipped with all the same engine Cosworth, which develops power of over 600 hp He used the firm Garrett turbine boost pressure more than 3 bar, intercooler cooled with dry ice, and the exhaust system was a direct flow pipe diameter of about half a meter, protruding from under the hood. Of course, access to the public road car did not have, but it did not matter to fix the record. With a choice of routes for arrival long tormented – Gillet agreed with the authorities of Belgium on the ceiling of the main highway, and the record took place. To register for the World Record was attended by representatives of the Guinness Book, as well as the official timekeeper of the FIA. At the request of strict regulations, the car under control of Tony Gillet several times clocked on the line and score? With the best of the displayed results – with 3,266. Since many years the world record in the discipline of the acceleration of 0-100 km / h belonged Gillet Vertigo.

In addition to the record of the car they were built two more prototypes – one of them worked out design elements and bring the chassis, but the second was used for the certification of Vertigo for public roads, which included the front crash test.

1997 – Gillet Vertigo

Lapping prototypes to serial production was very slow, actually on the enthusiasm of the creator. Lack of finance, "wet" construction of the machine and bring it to mind forces the designers of the company – all this spoil a lot of blood, Tony Gillet, but by 1997 he was honorably released from a difficult situation and provided Vertigo road on a motor show in Brussels. The car is almost no different from the prototype: the same 230-horsepower engine is the Cosworth, 5-speed "mechanics", carbon fiber monocoque body-weight of 70 kg and the carbon fiber exterior panels, double wishbone front and rear independent suspension. New passport overclocked to a hundred in just 5.5 seconds, while top speed supercar does not exceed 230 km / h. A few customers did not appreciate the little car – scared away a very specific appearance of the car, which was created by Tony himself, being inspired by the design of the Dutch Donkervoort S8.

2002 – Gillet Vertigo Streiff

By the 10th anniversary of his brand Tony Gillet creates a completely new car, which is to his name gets the prefix Vertigo Streiff. This is – a sign of gratitude to the chief ally Gillet, Phillip strafe. The pilot of Formula 1 in France in 1989, was in a serious car accident in testing in Brazil, which resulted in was paralyzed. Nevertheless, he continues to actively assist in the creation of new Gillet brand vehicles.

The design of the new Vertigo, was working stylist Charles van den Bosch from Brussels, it has become more restrained, but retained the characteristic mark of extravagance and eccentricity: almost wedge-shaped profile, long hood and rear, shaped like an ellipse – all this creates a memorable appearance model. Separate memorable feature of steel roll-up doors with a protruding part of the roof for the convenience of landing. This is – a tribute to racing prototypes "Group C".

Unlike the previous model, the novelty began to look more respectable, became richer and the basic equipment of the car. Place under the hood took V6 Alfa Romeo TwinSpark 3-liter engine borrowed from the model Alfa Romeo 166. The engine has an output of 225 hp and 275 Nm of torque. Together with them are 5-speed manual BorgWarner, but on request can be installed a racing sequential spur Hewland Gearbox with self-locking rear interwheel differenitsialom Quaife.

Acceleration from zero to hundreds of takes 4.3 seconds, thanks for this is the small mass of the Belgian supercar – only 900 kg. It is interesting that the very carbon-fiber monocoque, which is the basis for design of the car weighs only 58 kg. A closed-designed aerodynamic body type coupe Vertigo to disperse up to 280 km / h. The basic equipment includes supercar power steering, trim suede and carbon fiber, as well as the audio system and electric windows. The starting price of Vertigo – 105 thousand euros, excluding VAT.

2002 – Gillet Vertigo GT2 Race

Together with the new generation serial Vertigo has been prepared and its racing version, homologated by the rules FIA GT2. To convert the road version of the car in the race was not required virtually no major costs – a racing car has 90% of the parts borrowed from the civilian model. Of course, the framework of security and fire-fighting system, and change the settings of the suspension and brakes were installed.

Alfa Romeo engine was enhanced and improved based on the increased load: were reinforced crankshaft and forged pistons, titanium connecting rods and lubrication dry sump. All this, together with the new engine and sequential gearbox allowed to develop power 360 hp For several years Vertigo cars participated in the FIA ​​GT Championship, including at Le Mans, where, however, reached the finish line once, and then only in 10th place. The most successful cars made in the local Belgian Belcar GT championship, which took several prizes and opposed such famous rivals like the Porsche 911 GT3 and Ferrari 360.

2008 – Gillet Vertigo 5

The new model from the little Belgian company came 6 years after the premiere strafe. New feature in the title number 5, which symbolized the fifth car, developed by Gillet. The novelty was shown to the public at the Festival of Speed ​​at Goodwood. Car design has remained unchanged – the same carbon-fiber monocoque weighing just 58 kg (the vehicle itself while weighing only 950 kg) to which the front and rear mounted independent suspension double wishbone, and the appearance of new items almost was not changed – there are only new bumper and hood, front and rear optics, and a large rear wing placed on the trunk lid.

But the most important change is hidden inside: instead of the 3-liter Alfa Romeo engine was placed V-shaped "eight» Maserati 4.2-liter. This engine develops 420 hp already and 490 Nm of torque, which allows easy Gillet to catapult from zero to "hundreds" in just 3.2 seconds! Together with them are 6-speed manual ZF 6S. The maximum speed of the new Belgian supercar exceeded 300 km / h. Standard equipment includes 5 Vertigo trim expensive leather and polished carbon fiber, electric mirrors and windows, a navigation system with touch screen, audio system and Hi-Fi with 14 speakers and separate climate control and power steering. For all this wealth with the customer will be asked to 300 000 euro! Such cost Tony Gillet explains the increased cost for the production of parts made of carbon fiber and the purchase of Maserati engines.

2008 – Gillet Vertigo 5 GT2 Race

A couple of the civil version of the machine company introduced Gillet and racing car based on the "five". In accordance with the rules of the competition, "Belgian" was equipped with advanced safety cage, fire suppression system and pnevmodomkratami. Vehicle Aerodynamics was worked out based on race tracks: there was the rear wing and new diffuser and front has been installed more developed spoiler. The prototype managed to take part in races of the 2008 season, but even boosted to 500 hp Maserati engine, the car was not the fastest and finished in the middle of the field. The money to finance the racing program was not enough, and racing was prudently covered by the program in response to the crisis.

Now the company is engaged in production Gillet Vertigo 5, and plans for the coming years, Tony Gillet a new generation of its supercars Vertigo.

Production of car brands

The company is based in the city of Charleroi, which is located in Belgium. The company's staff consists of 9 people. Each vehicle is hand-assembled and built in just one year, only one (!) Gillet Vertigo.

The company has no money to build their own autoclave, so the production of carboxylic panels made on proven technology. A special workshop is the similarity of the autoclave – cubic wooden structure, inside coated with several layers of insulating material – glass. In this design, and are panels that are "baked" at a lower than conventional autoclave pressure and temperature, so it takes longer to manufacture.

The company does not manufacture its own units, a large number of components and assemblies are purchased from other producers. Among the company's suppliers have Alfa Romeo and Maserati (engines), BorgWarner and Hewland (gearbox), OZ Racing (wheels of light alloys), AP Racing and Brembo (brakes).

Interesting Facts:

In 2015, at Villa d'Este Competition was introduced car Zagato Mostro. The design of this supercar has created a design studio Zagato itself and the basis for the model used the chassis Gillet Vertigo 5.

One of the Gillet Vertigo Streiff was presented to Philippe Streiff. Especially for the driver supercar equipped with an automatic transmission with manual control by means of the original joystick.

Among the owners Gillet Vertigo has Prince Albert of Monaco and the French actor and singer Johnny Holiday.

Gillet logo is simple and unpretentious: a circle inscribed in the name of the creator on a red background.

Issue own supercar – an expensive and time-consuming business, so in addition to the production of the supercar company engaged Gillet also the restoration of European vintage cars of 30-50-ies of the last century. In addition, Tony Gillet since the 90s of the last century – Donkervoort cars official dealer in Belgium, which is also its services in updating and repairing the Dutch supercar.

In 1999 Gillet designed and built the original carbon fiber roof to the front door of the armored car Mercedes S-Class, which is used Crown Prince Philippe of Belgium and Princess Mathilde.

What's the trick Gillet cars?

  1. The world's first production car with a carbon-fiber monocoque – it appeared only a few months ahead of McLaren F1.
  2. The only currently own a supercar and car manufacturer from Belgium.
  3. The low weight of the vehicle: thanks to the light body, he can not use the most high-powered motors to achieve high-speed performance at the level of the fastest of its competitors.
  4. The team is actively involved in racing series, including such well-known as the 24 Hours of Le Mans or the Belgian Belcar championship.

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