Ira Spector owns a rare car he sometimes compares to a cute dog. It’s a term of endearment. When he’s driving his 2012 Fisker Karma Revero everyone wants to know all about it.
“It’s like a puppy; people stop you and they engage you,” said Spector, who likely owns the only Revero in Los Gatos. “They ask questions; it’s kind of fun. Most of them have never seen it before. Others who have seen one may think the company is bankrupt and that they’re longer built.”
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Fisker Karma: Rare, Beautiful
Spector is our guest on this episode of The Weekly Driver Podcast. Co-hosts Bruch Aldrich talk with the car’s owner, his enjoyment of sports cars and his automotive passion for his Fisker Karma.
A retired electrical engineer, Spector has further fun as the organizer of a club whose members own the iconic upscale sports car. The group periodically gathers for a seminar relating to the car, lunch and a driving outing.
Owners from throughout the Bay Area and as far away as Canada bring their Karmas. The gatherings have had as many as 20 participants.
“In my opinion, it’s one of the most beautiful cars ever designed,” said Spector, who has owned many other sports cars, including several Corvettes. “And that’s why I want to keep it for as long as I can drive it. It’s performing beautifully; it looks brand new inside and out.”
Fisker Karma: Made only in 2012
Although new versions were made after a change of ownership beginning in 2017, about 2,700 of the electric-gas, plug-in hybrid original Reveros were made in 2012. About 1,600 were available in the United States It’s the only model manufactured by Fisker Karma and its originator, Henrik Fisker. The company went out of business a year after it began.
“For any other manufacturer, that would be a prototype run,” said Spector, a retired electrical engineer, about the limited edition.”That’s what we are all driving and everyone has had problems with it. It wasn’t really finished.”
The Revero has about a 50-mile electric-only range, 300-mile total range. When switched to “Sport” mode, the Karma will use the gas engine in conjunction with the electric motors. The total output is 403 horsepower. It accelerates from 0-to-60 miles per hour in about six seconds.
Not everything was perfect. Replacement batteries weren’t available until a third-party manufacturer emerged. When Revero models were repaired, Spector believes owners were used as test drivers to “find the bugs and get them fixed.”
Fisker Karma: A car drivers love driving
But he’s not complaining. The original car has had a resurgence. New models have also returned via Karma Automotive, headquartered in Irvine. Fisker attended the recent Los Angles Auto Show to tout his pending new all-electric sports car, the Fisker Ocean.
Spector’s car also carries a family legacy. With his Barbara (she drives a Tesla Model 3) then the mayor of Los Gatos, the couple drove the Revero via a loan from the owner in the city’s annual holiday parade in 2012. Spector bought the car two months later for about $100,000. He traded in a Jaguar XK8.
“It sat in a lot for a year with a bunch of other cars because of the company’s bankruptcy issues,” he said. “We were invited to rides in a parade. One of the investors in Fisker who had the car and let us use it. I fell in love with it just sitting in it and looking at it.”
The 2.0 GM turbocharged engine is similar to the engine in a Pontiac Solstice. It’s used to charge the battery.
The Revero, Spector says, is quiet, smooth and a vehicle for drivers who thrive on the enjoyment of driving.
“The Fisker Karma was designed to engage you with a driving experience,” he said. “It’s got 22-inch wheels. It’s low-to-the-ground. It’s heavy. The CG (center of gravity) and tires make it handle beautifully. It’s so much fun to drive.
“By contrast, the Tesla Model 3 does everything to remove you from the driving experience. As you know, it has lane change alarms and autopilot. You can just sit there and be a passenger as opposed to being a driver. It’s your choice.”
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