Canadian Supercar Manufacturer wows ‘Dragons Den’ investors

  Quick – where does the latest high-performance super sports car come from?

Germany? Italy? Japan?

Not even close. Try Montreal. Yes, Montreal, home of the HTT Pléthore LC-750. With its own Wikipedia entry and 750 horses thundering under the hood, super-car manufacturer HTT (High Tech Toy) is making waves as the next big contender for the Supercar crown.

“Pléthore” is the French word for “Plethora”, which means an overabundance, a word that more than adequately describes this vehicle. The carbon-fiber architecture is so light that the entire vehicle weighs no more than 1,250 kilograms (2750 pounds) – less than most compact cars. Such a light body helps propel the Pléthore from 0-to-100 km/h in 2.8 seconds, reaching a top cruising speed of 388 km/h (241 miles per hour). Of course, the V8, 7-litre super-charged engine helps, too.

“It’s the best-balanced car that’s ever been built,” boasts HTT president Sébastien Forest. “We’re not the fastest car, and we’re not the best at one specific element, but we’re perfectly balanced.”

“The co-founders were serious about putting the car on the road and needed someone to manage the company,” says HTT president Sebastien Forest, explaining how he brought his legal and financial background to the company. The co-founders he speaks of are Luc Chartrand and Carl Descoteaux.

“I’m not an engineer. I’m an electrician,” Luc Chartrand said back in 2009, when first sharing the design with the world (although he had been building replicas for decades until he decided ten years ago to build his own car.

Carl Descoteaux was a dentist.

Now they are both high-stakes entrepreneurs in one of the most glamorous niches in the world.

Cool facts about the Pléthore…

It is a central drive vehicle. There is no left or right driver’s seat – you sit in the middle. This helps maintain agile handling even at high speeds. Passengers sit on either side of the driver.

The doors are all hatches. They don’t swing – they lift. And, yes, they lift by remote control. 

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On display at SEMA in 2009

So would you be thinking of getting one of these babies for yourself? Only if you happen to have a spare $795,000 sitting around looking for some action (At just $495,000, pre-orders are a bargain!). HTT president Sebastien Forest hopes to sell as many as 50 units per year. Right now they have seven orders, all foreign – HTT is targeting millionaires in Europe, the Middle East, the United States and China. “We just signed a distribution agreement with a firm in China,” says Mr. Forest, noting that the number of millionaires in China is growing by 400% a year.

Of course, none of the vehicle orders have yet been built. HTT is ramping up for production right now, preparing the tooling and finalizing the design, and looking for a factory in which to build Canada’s first super car. That’s a long way from the preproduction foam prototype first introduced at the 2007 Montreal International Auto Show.

“We’re realistic, we don’t expect to take 10 or 15 orders in Canada,” Forest told the Toronto Star. “If we get one or two orders (in Toronto) we’ll be more than happy.”

If something about this car looks familiar, you might have seen it at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto (until Sunday), and it was also featured last week on CBC’s Dragons’ Den. While taping the show, Brett Wilson and Robert Herjavec (the “Dragons”) offered $1 million plus a $500,000 operating line of credit in exchange for 20 per cent of the company (valued at at $7.5-million) and three cars. After running into transmission problems, the deal was placed on hold, but those problems have supposedly been fixed. 

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The Pléthore on CBC’s Dragon’s Den



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