Gigliato Aerosa

gigliato-aerosa

First, I've been trying to figure out what engine is in this car, and I think I've straightened it all out. See, most of the information online points to it being fitted with a 4.6-litre Ford Mustang V8.

Except for one source. In the Google results, John Lamm's book Supercars has a throwaway line in his article on the Acura NSX-T saying that the Aerosa was at one time powered by the Yamaha V6 from the Ford Taurus SHO.

Wouldn't that be perfect? And when you look at the image of the engine, well, it's pretty clearly the Yamaha V6—that nest of pipes on top is a dead giveaway!

gigliato-aerosa

Another one of his books, though, says the engine came from the Mustang. Hmm.

Strangely parallel, actually, is that all sources I could find all say that the car was to be assembled in England. A Yamaha V6 engine makes sense, though, right? The Acura NSX, with which the Aerosa shares many design details, had a similar layout…

A story on allcarindex says that the early version, shown in 1993, had a mid-mounted Ford V6 and was later shown, in 1997, fitted with a Ford V8—from the Mustang—mounted front to back. This Japanese brochure scan would seem to confirm that it once had the V6 from the Ford Taurus SHO. Eventually upgrading to the Yamaha V8 seems plausible, maybe it wasn't ready in time.

Aerosa04.jpg

What other mid-engined sports cars, designed in England, had their engines mounted left-right? With a fondness for fitting Ford and Yamaha-derived motors? Those created by Lee Noble, namesake to Noble Automotive.

Was he involved in the development of the car? I have no idea. But I'll keep trying to find out. Get in touch if you know anything. But they eventually used a Yamaha V8…from the Volvo XC90!

Nobuo Nakamura, the car's designer, is said to have come from Isuzu. The latest Toyota Aygo was styled by a man named Nobuo Nakamura. Could they be the same person? (Actually, the Aerosa and last Toyota Supra have a remarkably similar interior.)

But no matter who worked on what, the Aerosa was, sadly, doomed from the start.

gigliato-aerosa

Thing is, for the car's incredible looks and very possible market success, the car's development was hampered by incredibly bad timing. After being bought by Chrysler in 1987, Lamborghini was unceremoniously dumped by the American automaker in 1993 to a Bermuda-registered company called MegaTech.

One thing led to another, and by 1997 Lamborghini had signed an agreement with Gigliato to engineer the Aerosa production vehicle.

The car was to be designed in Japan, engineered in Italy, and built in England…until the German Lamborghini dealer convinced everyone that it should be made there instead.

The last version of the Aerosa, the MP3, was shown with a mid-mounted 4.6-litre Ford Mustang V8 engine.

The last version of the Aerosa, the MP3, was shown with a mid-mounted 4.6-litre Ford Mustang V8 engine.

In addition, Asia was in the middle of an intense financial crisis. It led to Lamborghini being sold to Audi in 1998 and surely didn't help the Aerosa's chances of being produced.

Period articles say it was designed to compete with the Ferrari F355 sports car and that it would sell for a very low price of around $85,000 Usd. See what I mean? It was just too good to be true.

That said, there were several more companies looking to create the first true modern Japanese supercar.

But that's a story for another day.

Sources / Recommended reading