I am spellbound… A relatively nascent manufacturer, with very little years of experience designs a masterpiece so good, it leaves everyone in awe. Say hello to the iconic Venturi 400 GT.
Venturi originally spelled as “Ventury”, was started in 1984. Venturi’s main focus was to create road legal Gran Tourismos to compete against the likes of Aston Martin, Porsche and Ferrari. However the limited resources and lack of image ruined Venturi’s plans. The brand shifted its attention towards racing. Soon unveiled was the 400 GTR, a race homologation special. Its limited edition, road legal version known as the Venturi GT 400 came into existence, and what a machine it was.
Gérard Godfroy, founder and former owner of Venturi Automobiles played an active part in the design of the GT. Propelling the GT is a barking mad Peugeot sourced 3.0-litre V6 bi-turbo, mated to a Renault sourced 5-speed transmission. Spitting out 402 race horses and 520Nm of torque, GT was on par with its European rivals. Couple that with its relatively low weight of 1100kg (claimed) and you’d have a recipe for some unadulterated fun. Did I mentioned the carbon brakes it came equipped with, making it the very first production car to have them as standard. Having the mechanical bits covered, Godfroy turned his attention to hike it’s want factor. A complete array of tailor-made interior trim was made available, Recaro provided their state of the art racing seats and OZ Racing came up with slick looking wheels. Studded with such race jewellery the GT was fondly addressed as the F40 of France.
Above: Venturi 400 GT from the 100+ photo album at Spa Classic 2017
Although not edgy, it’s somewhat boxy design still turned heads. The bonnet sits low to the ground and is very well complemented with the halfway retractable lights. The rear is wide with the two twin pipe mufflers adding to its flair, and who can overlook that big rear wing? Svelte it was, with overall fit and finish ahead of the very best at that time.
It wasn’t all good however. The mad raw character of it saw owners getting tired of its race car-like manners. The engine had reliability issues and needed frequent servicing. The carbon brakes which were revered took time to heat up and even if they did, they only served to test the strength of your right calf. Lastly the lack of availability of spares and specialists, meant owners parted with the GT.
Finally Venturi’s shift to electric technology meant the era of the super rare GT came to an end. These sassy supercar classics often demand high prices on online sites and make it only to those who have pockets fathoms deep.