A week ago, a company called Bulleta Motors out of California told the world it would be building a Lotus Evora-based sports car, the RF22. Complete with attractive renderings, the enticing RF22 promised 505 horsepower in a 2,920-pound package.
Too bad it's fake.
We were first tipped to the RF22's lack of reality by Kevin Smith, marketing and public relations communications executive for Lotus Cars USA. Smith was very clear about where Bulleta stands in relation to Lotus.
"This 'Bulleta RF22' is a pipe dream," wrote Smith. "They have no deal whatsoever with Lotus to acquire chassis from us to build the car upon. They have no rights to use the 'LOTUS' or 'EVORA' names or the images of our car whatsoever. They have the pipe dream to create a 'car' based upon Lotus' world class technology and they have no access in place whatsoever to acquire that technology."
So next, we spoke with Bulleta Motors co-founder Ramtin Haghighi. He explained, in great detail, what the RF22 is all about, saying the first customer car would be finished in 4-6 months, after additional testing of the current prototype vehicle (which he says is already in RF22 form).
When asked if Bulleta had worked out a contract with Lotus for supply of the Evora chassis and engine that would underpin the RF22, Haghighi told us, "That's correct. It's basically a direct relationship with Lotus, the chassis are being shipped from the UK to us." Haghighi went on to note that Lotus USA has a bad reputation amongst Lotus owners for being late with parts shipments. "We're not working with Lotus USA, we're working directly with the UK," he said.
That, of course, directly contradicts what Lotus Cars USA's Smith had told us. We figured Lotus, being the small company it is, might have arranged a deal with Bulleta through its UK arm without the American branch being aware. So we reached out to Group Lotus public relations manager Alastair Florance, based at the firm's headquarters in Hethel.
We asked, quite plainly: Is the Bulleta Motors contract real, or is Lotus USA correct? Florance responded, "Lotus Cars USA (a division of Lotus here in the UK) is correct."
In other words, Smith's very clear explanation of the non-existence of any relationship with Lotus for supply or use of the Evora chassis, name, etc., was correct as far as Lotus in the UK and Group Lotus as a whole is concerned.
In other other words, Bulleta Motors lied to us and to the world about production of the RF22. It's fake.