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First look: Secret Aussie supercar revealed

Aussie all the way: The Joss is a local design from the ground up.

Melbourne motor show to host world unveil of V8 rocket

30 Jan 2004

A FERRARI-rivalling supercar developed in Australia is set to be unveiled at the Melbourne motor show, which kicks off on February 27.

To be known as the Joss SuperCar, it will be powered by a 6.6-litre all-aluminium V8 engine, which like the rest of the car has been developed and produced in Melbourne.

With a power output of around 350kW driving the rear wheels of a car expected to weigh in at around 1100kg, the Joss should be capable of 3.5-second 0-100km/h dash times and 12.5-second quarter miles.

And the car to be shown in Melbourne is a running prototype, not an empty shell. The company has ambitious plans to ramp up and start selling cars locally and internationally within 12 to 18 months.

The Joss SuperCar is the fulfillment of a dream by its creator, Matthew Thomas, a 33-year-old automotive designer from Warragul, Victoria, who has done design work for the Stewart Formula One Team, Aston Martin, Bentley, BMW, Ford, Jaguar, Range Rover, Saab and Volvo.

He has had extensive experience as a designer, aerodynamicist and automotive clay modeller, and is currently employed as a modeller by Ford Australia.

Mr Thomas also has a degree in industrial design, majoring in automotive design, from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

He has funded the whole project so far and is now looking for additional investment, although he insists Joss is a goer anyway.

"It’s something I have always wanted to do, I have never thought of not doing it," Mr Thomas said.

"I just can’t wait for Australia to have something like this. The amount of time you go to race meetings and see Lamborghini, Ferrari and Porsche dominate - and there’s no real reason for that, we have all the technology here." The engine of the Joss is housed in a composite body that includes a full underbody ‘ground effect’ floorpan that incorporates a front splitter and a rear diffuser. Formula One-style titanium skid plates are also fitted to the underside of the car.

Continuing the aerodynamic theme, the styling has an extremely low frontal area of only 1.8 metres squared, with a specially designed air ducting system that promotes higher rate brake cooling.

The body also has innovative vortex generators built into the lower section of the doors to aid downforce at high speeds.

The Joss has classic supercar specs, with the engine sitting longitudinally behind the two-seat cockpit and driving the rear wheels via a transaxle – five-speed in the prototype to be shown in Melbourne but six-speed in the production car. Suspension is via double wishbones all-round.

Mr Thomas said a key to the design was the car’s light weight, hence avoiding items like all-wheel drive such as the Lamborghini Murcielago employs.

"A lighter car allows us to run lighter brakes, have less heat come from the brakes, less inertia, better cornering, better tyre wear," Mr Thomas said.

"It’s just a sensible way to go and hopefully we can lighten it off even more." And the name? "I didn’t want to use an animal name," he said. "It was the name of a miner I read about in a gold mining book and I just like the name, it was short and sharp and in the end we couldn’t come up with anything better." The Joss is the latest in a series of local projects that have been displayed at the Melbourne motor show in recent years.

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