For months now we’ve been hearing rumors that the Savage Rivale supercars were powered by LSx engines. Our curiosity got the best of us, and we went straight to the source to find out if there was any truth to the rumors. Emile Pop, the founder and CEO of Savage Rivale was kind enough to give us an inside scoop on the Savage Rivale’s engines and drivetrains in their Roadyacht GTS and GTR. After talking with Pop, we can confirm that both supercars are motivated by our banner powerplant; the mighty LSx.
Savage Rivale is based in The Hague, Holland, and was the product of Pop’s seemingly unattainable personal goal of someday owning supercar, something many of us can relate to. Interestingly enough, it also has something to do with losing a street race to a jerk in a 911, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
As for the cars, Savage Rivale’s models are something a little different. Let’s face it, the world has plenty of two-door, two-seat supercars, but the Savage Rivale Roadyacht is a breath of fresh air – literally. The Roadyacht GTS is a four-door convertible super car that features plenty of room for you and thee of your friends to cruise in comfort, and will feature a cool telescoping roof with folding panels.
On the other end of the supercar spectrum lies the track ready Savage Rivale GTR. The GTR is meant to be the track toy of the Savage Rivale line-up, and features more power, less weight, and less creature comforts.
Both models are thoroughly European in their exterior styling, but under the hood, it’s all American LSx muscle. Check out our interview with Pop below, and get all the details on the Savage Rivale’s LSx powerplants.
LSXTV: Mr. Pop, can you give us a bit of history on Savage Rivale? When was the company founded? What is Savage Rivale’s philosophy when it comes to building supercars?
Emile Pop: “Savage Rivale was founded because of my passion for the unreachable goal of owning and driving a supercar. Back in 2000, I was driving my Renault Clio Williams in the Cote D’Azur region of France, where they have the most beautiful coastal roads. I got overtaken by a guy in a Porsche 911, and it was then that I decided to take on the challenge of developing a new car with my vision and personal design ideology.
In a few years the idea suddenly became reality when I met Justin de Boer, and together we made a simple list of design features – like convertible, 4 doors, and a V8 engine. The resulting design of the car is heavily influenced by the yachting world. The bow lines and the interior are direct results, and of course, the name ‘Roadyacht’ as well.
It’s not like a supercar there are so many of nowadays, and we are striving to make a new concept with the Roadyacht. It’s a 4-door convertible coupe with a Retractable Telescopic Multi Panel roof system that can fit four people comfortably. There’s nothing else like it.”
LSXTV: You could have literally picked any engine in the world to put in your cars, so what made you pick the LSx? What specific LS engine do you use, and what all modifications do you make before putting them in the cars?
Pop: “I like the LSX engine family because of its simplicity and bullet proof-ness. We only use the LS3 6.2 engine because it’s perfection in the late-model Corvettes. What we actually do is take it apart and do a little porting and milling, and replace some parts like the camshaft. But the core of the engine stays intact. We also replace the whole belt driven appendages with electric versions, like power steering and the water pump.
We put on a front mount turbocharger, because the LS engine would not fit under the dashboard with a supercharger. We also add a dual canal intercooler system, combine this with an Inconel long header exhaust system built in-house. The exhaust system is custom made because we have built our own chassis, which is a tubular aluminum steel monocoque, riveted and bonded. Besides that, the engine gives a very nice ‘speed boat’ blower sound, pronouncing the yacht influence.”
LSXTV: So how is the LS3 mounted in the car? What transmission do you use to go along with it?
Pop: “By comparing blueprints of our car and other cars, we found the Corvette C6 drivetrain the perfect match. We use the engine and 6-speed transmission integrally. The engines are exactly mounted as in the C6 Corvette, with the engine right after the front axle and the transmission in front of the rear axle. I never knew how well everything is designed on the Corvette until I started working on one, and what a surprise. Everything is designed in a way that you, think “Of course I can understand why they built it like that!” I now understand that you have to build a very complex machine before you can simplify it. You still need some of that American boldness and courage to build it, of course.”
LSXTV: How much power do the turbo Savage Rivale LS3’s make?
Pop: “By designing a new inlet system and adjusting the stand-alone ECU from Speartech in Indiana, the result in the GTS is 670 brake horsepower, but with an economic twist. You’ll only use 8 liters of gas in 100 kilometers [roughly 30 MPG] if you let your right foot at ease. The GTR differs by leaving off the exhaust system catalytic converters and tuning the turbocharger and ECU. That results in a 15 to 20 percent increase of power and torque. For the LS3 in the GTR, 700 to 800 brake horsepower is no problem.”
LSXTV: What about performance? How well can the GTR and Roadyacht GTS put all that power to use?
Pop: “The Roadyacht GTS does 3.4 seconds from 0-100 KPH [0-62 MPH], and the GTR takes less than 2.8 seconds depending on the driver. Top speed for the GTS is around 330 KPH [205 MPH], and 360 KPH [223 MPH] or more for the GTR depending on tires and rear wing angle. We haven’t actually measured the quarter mile, but maybe that’s something we will do this summer. Later on this year we want to take action and attack the Nurburgring lap time record for 4 door cars.”