The list of startup automakers that have successfully broken into higher echelons of the market is a very short one.
Pagani springs to mind, as does Koenigsegg. But such companies are very much exceptions to the rule, and each got off the ground as much through using tried-and-tested technology—Mercedes and Ford engines, respectively—as it did through engineering and quality.
This is not the case for the Godsil Manhattan. Brainchild of Jason Godsil, the startup luxury automaker has announced a new luxury coupe with a natural-gas powered V-16 engine. To save you checking, the answer is no: No current manufacturer produces a V-16 engine, let alone one powered by natural gas, so such a thing would be an in-house development. The closest you'll get is Bugatti's W-16 Veyron engine--a unit that caused the best engineers at the Volkswagen Group all manner of headaches during its long-winded development.
Beyond the mention of a V-16 engine, we have very little else to go on. Styling? From the single, faded, sketched image we have, the Manhattan appears to be a two-door coupe with a retro long-nose, flowing profile, a little like an elongated Wiesmann or Morgan Aero Coupe. Interior? Technical specifications? Release date? Pricing? All a complete mystery for the time being, and based on our previous experience of out-of-the-blue super-luxury vehicles--not to mention higher-profile luxury failures like Fisker--unlikely to appear any time soon.
We'd love to see Godsil succeed and bring its V-16 super-coupe to market. Even more so given its natural gas powertrain, and is therefore about as green as such vehicles get. And we admire Godsil's mission statement, proclaiming, "We’re bringing human ingenuity and meaning back to an industry. We’re bringing resolve and passion back to auto manufacturing. We’re bringing purpose and pride back to a country."
But we've been here too many times before. Starting a car company is very, very difficult. And those that manage to do so without the backing of another major automaker and zero heritage behind its name? As with solid information on the Manhattan, virtually non-existent...