The Kimera EV037 Is a Restomod of Rally’s Most Terrifying Era

Photo credit: Jon Harper
Photo credit: Jon Harper
Photo credit: Jon Harper
Photo credit: Jon Harper

Hissing, whooshing, and burbling, the Kimera EV037 announced its approach before I could see it climbing toward me on the roof of the garage. Looking down through the parking structure, I saw flashes of blue as the car shot up each ramp. Squealing tires on the last switchback, the car lunged fully into view. Yellow rally lights on the front end looked vintage – that is, until it got closer.

I was standing on the top level of the garage in the late summer Los Angeles heat as Kimera founder Luca Betti screeched to a stop with his batty creation. He was on his way to The Quail in Monterey, but took a few days in LA to show off the EV037. He didn’t need to work very hard at this; the car was the center of attention everywhere it went. Even at a Sunday morning car show at the Petersen Museum featuring new and classic supercars like the McLaren P1 Lanzante and Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, the Kimera EV037 stole the show.

Betti’s EV037 is a gurgling, growling symbol of the way the high-end restomod market has been pumping out modernized classics at an almost staggering rate. Depending on whether you prefer your updated classic from Germany, Sweden, or Italy, options abound. Betti chose the Lancia Scorpion or Montecarlo as donor car for the EV037, the same base car Lancia initially used to homologate the 037 back in 1980. The only remaining Lancia piece is the cockpit; the rest of the chassis is a reconstructed tube frame.

Photo credit: Jon Harper
Photo credit: Jon Harper

On the rooftop, when he finally got out to talk, I asked Betti about the car, and what inspired it. Then I listened. Betti is an intense guy. His passion for driving and racing is evident. He measures and emphasizes every word he says. He tells me about how his family was adamantly against his desire to race cars when he was young, but he was resolute. He financed his own racing team, and quickly proved himself on the World Rally Championship circuit, where over the years he has piled up 48 class wins to date, and counting.

He tells me that throughout his racing career he relished chances to drive iconic historic rally cars. Of all of the classics he drove, the 037 stood out. He liked it so much, he wanted to make it better. He knew there would be competition in the restomod arena, but thinks his work stands alone, especially when compared with Automobili Amos, another Lancia restomod purveyor. “Our approach is totally different,” he insisted. “Amos improved the Delta. We rebuilt and updated the 037.”

Kimera’s design ethos was simple: Take all the pieces and parts that make up a Lancia 037 and throw them out. Then redesign each 1980s-era part using 2020s technology. The result is extensive use of high-precision CNC to produce almost every piece of the new EV037. The gear shifter is a prime example of the exquisite metal shapes you find throughout. The gold details wrapped with blue metallic paint and alcantara give off Subaru World Rally Blue vibes – and it works.

Photo credit: Jon Harper
Photo credit: Jon Harper

Betti moves over the car and the rear clamshell opens upward, revealing a gleaming lump of potential speed nested behind the passenger compartment. The block itself is barely visible through all the plumbing. It makes sense given the double forced-induction setup on the 2.1 four-cylinder. The Kimera EV037 takes a page from the later Delta S4, running both a supercharger and turbocharger. This Abarth engine produces just over 500hp.

On the outside, much like other ultra-high-end restmodders Singer and Cyan, the EV037 dimensions have been slightly massaged from the original: arches to accommodate bigger, wider wheels with stickier rubber, stuff like that. It looks so right, from every single angle. The yellow-tinted headlights add that Group-B flavor.

Betti waxes poetic about the ethos behind the EV037, putting it in a category all on its own. “There’s no comparable car on the market,” he half-explained and half-boasted. “Our EV037 is a Group B rally car updated with modern technology. This means it is a car completely different from all other sports cars. All of them take the concept inspiration from circuit race cars, not from rally. In circuit racing you have different conditions than ‘open roads’ and the driving style changes completely. Ours is a rally car, so it’s incredibly fast in direction changes. The reactions the car gives are perfectly balanced and neutral to be driven on and over the limits, even in sliding.”

Photo credit: Jon Harper
Photo credit: Jon Harper

The ideal buyer, according to Betti, is the finest lover of cars: “They are a person who has a deep love for automotive and motorsport culture. They fully appreciate the design and the technology (absolutely not digital) behind a vehicle. They are a car collector who is searching for something more than what the supercar market is offering.”

And how much, you may wonder, does that buyer pay? With a price tag of $585,000, the EV037 is firmly in Singer territory price-wise. When we spoke, Betti was hoping to fill the last handful of remaining order slots of the 37 available at The Quail in Monterey a few days later. (We caught up again a few days after the event, and he joyfully reported that his order book was now full for the Kimera EV037.)

There wasn’t an opportunity for me to drive the EV037 in the short period before the car headed up to Monterey, but according to Betti we have now ticked two of the three important boxes that comprise experiencing his creation. “The first is looking at the car in pictures or video,” he said. “The second is looking at it for the first time in person – and I always say, it is incredibly better than all the best pictures. The third and most important ‘wow’ is when a person drives the EV037.”

Well, Mr. Betti, two out of three just won’t cut it. You know how to reach us.

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

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