Car of the Year 2009: No. 13: Iconic GTR Roadster

Broken Dreams
In this era of cookie-cutter prefabrication, designer-dreamer Claudio Ballard deserves plaudits for creating a car that is hand- and purpose-built right down to its gauge needles and start button. The Iconic’s silhouette resembles that of the Shelby Cobra (a truly iconic car), revealing Ballard’s respect for the past, not his proclivity for plagiarism. Cause for applause, however, stops at the Iconic’s exterior. The car is crude, raucous, and harsh on the rear end. Who needs a coarse Nascar engine, iffy brakes, and a crash gearbox on a modern road car? Our judges, including the one who burned his hand on the side exhaust pipe, condemned the $600,000 two-seater as the worst of the lot. The Iconic further hurt its cause by breaking down before the week was out. —Paul Dean

 

Snake Pit
The Iconic does not know what it wants to be. It looks like a Cobra, sounds like an airplane, and costs as much as two Ferrari 599 Fioranos. The car on hand was a prototype, and, as such, it was available to sample largely from a passenger’s point of view. From what many riders said, that experience typically bordered on the unpleasant, thanks to the unforgiving ride and the ear-damaging noise emanating from the 6.9-liter V-8. Driving the Iconic proved no more enjoyable. The manual shifter had trouble clicking into most gears, and the steering required constant correction. Driving this car is like playing with a snake: mildly fun but mostly scary and, considering that the Iconic costs $600,000, just plain silly. —Marco R. della Cava

SPECIFICATIONS:

Configuration Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive roadster
Engine 6.9-liter V-8
Transmission 6-speed manual
Power 800 hp at 7,600 rpm
Torque 660 ft lbs at 5,800 rpm
Zero to 60 2.8 seconds
Top Speed 200 mph
Base Price $600,000
Price as Tested $600,000
Robb Report Rating 59.1
Iconic, www.iconicmotors.com

Photo by Drew Phillips
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