July 15, 2024


It's the Technology

Czinger 21C Is a Screamin’-Good 253-mph Proof-of-Concept


  • The Czinger 21C hypercar is still more than a year out from start of production, but we got a couple of hot laps in the back seat and found it quite quick.
  • While the hypercar is one thing, the means of design and manufacture are more impressive: It’s all designed on a computer and almost all 3D-printed.
  • Czinger’s production methods are being taken up by other carmakers, too.

    Yes, the Czinger 21C is fast. I just got a ride around The Thermal Club’s two-mile-long South Palm road course in the hypercar’s cramped back seat and, in addition to seeing the back of IMSA driver Joel Miller’s helmeted head, I can attest that the 21C is, indeed, mighty impressive around a road course. I would say among the fastest street-legal cars I’ve ever driven or ridden in—maybe the fastest, without being harsh. In fact, I would imagine that from the far-more-spacious front seat the Czinger 21C could seem like one of the best hypercars ever made.

    But you’d expect that. It’s a hypercar.

    In addition to a curb weight of just 2,910 pounds or so (at this point in its development), the car has 1250 hp from a unique hybrid drivetrain for a ludicrous power-to-weight ratio of 2.3 pounds per hp, if we are to believe the spec sheet, and having just ridden in it I do. 0-60 comes up in less than 1.9 seconds; top speed is 253 mph. Things are getting fuzzy and blurry again just thinking about it.

    Somewhere in there is a Czinger-designed-and-built twin-turbo 2.88-liter V8 that will make 950 hp.

    Robert Grubbs Photography

    But that’s not even the biggest deal about this carbon fiber-bodied, howling, two-passenger screamer. The biggest thing—and the thing that could potentially change the way the world designs and manufactures cars—is the way it was designed and manufactured.

    We wrote about it last year, but here’s a recap: Most of the load-bearing structural parts of the car were made by inputting the expected loads of whatever part you’re making into a computer, the computer coming up with the best possible shape to manage those loads, and then all that being sent to a 3D printer and printed. Yep, that’s right, printed. In the future we are going to be printing cars in pieces and then gluing (okay, bonding) them together. Bond enough parts in the right order and voila, you have a hypercar.

    Automotive manufacturing of the last 140 or so years involved giant stamping machines whomping out steel or aluminum body panels that were then bolted onto extruded, stamped or welded frame rails. More recently extruded, stamped or welded parts were then spot-welded together. Sometimes, as with Lotii, they were also glued. But the shapes were more often assumed to be folded or bent metal that came into a factory as a big roll of flat steel. The Czinger is made by imagining whatever shape you might need and just oozing it out of a 3D printer in a process known as additive manufacturing. You don’t settle for a piece made out of flat metal bent into a shape that approximates what you need.

    You make exactly what you need.

    “Our place (Czinger, and parent company Divergent), you kind of need to have a frontal lobotomy on the way in because all of your years of experience as to how to manufacture things, it becomes ingrained in the way that you design things, and you’ve got to really throw all that away,” said 21C’s chief engineer Ewan Baldry.

    Consider, for example, a part at the rear of the car that combines a brake caliper and a suspension upright into a single piece.

    “Those are two structures that typically don’t help each other out,” Baldry said. “They kind of live apart on most cars. And we’ve been able to combine those and get the structures to help one another. That’s a great, like, easy-to-get-your-head-around example of what the technology can offer.”

    Because it’s 3D-printed, the piece was designed with the brake lines inside. There’s no separate brake fluid line outside the caliper/upright, it was designed into the piece to save weight, complexity and cost.

    3D-printed steering column brace.

    Robert Grubbs Photography

    Everything on the car is like that, from the accepting point where they hood latch engages to the structure of the car to the aluminum matrix that holds the steering column to the dash. It all looks a little like alien creatures clinging throughout the car.

    “Kevin calls it ‘alien technology’ or, he likes to say this is the ‘Westworld of cars’ or, a factory where a bunch of aliens landed and they set up their manufacturing process,” says Lukas Czinger, son of company founder Kevin Czinger.

    The Czingers, along with a cast of hundreds of engineers, designers and even scientists are working in the company’s Torrance, California, facility to not only design and build the 21C, but to export the whole process to other carmakers, many of whom are buying into it. Look for similar parts on a well-known manufacturer’s production car come this September.

    But even with all that rapid reduction in design-to-manufacture process the company brags about, you’ll have to wait until August 2023 for a Czinger 21C. And you’ll need $2 million.

    “They start at two million, but they’re usually optioned around two-five,” said Lukas.

    Is it worth it? I haven’t driven one myself—no one outside the company has—but from the back seat it sure felt impressive. Czinger is only making 80 of these but will offer a peek of its next model this summer at Pebble Beach. Czinger’s design and manufacturing processes could allow even small and moderately sized carmakers to create their own mini-assembly plants and build cars with virtually limitless ingenuity.

    Hang on as a new auto industry dawns.

    Next up: Technical details on the Czinger 21C

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