Mexico in the Time of Mastretta: First Mexican Sports Car

What do many people think of when they think of a “Mexican” car?  The answer is likely that they think of a customized American car.  This is humorously illustrated in the film “The Mexican”.  Brad Pitt deboards the plane in Baja, walks up to the car rental agency counter, about to grab the keys to a Buick, he hesitates, then asks for “Something a little more…Mexican?”  He is then handed the keys to a vintage customized El Camino.

Of course, as most of us know, the El Camino was never a “Mexican” car.  It was a Chevy which was likely based on a Ford design which was based off of suggestions from Australian farmers who wanted a “vehicle to go to church in on a Sunday and which can carry our pigs to market on Mondays.”  Yet it has become quite popular both in Mexico and the states for its stylish customizability and its practicality…sort of what the Australian farmers were asking for.

That was the extent of Mexico’s presence on the world automotive market up until this year when the Mexican automotive manufacturer Mastretta released the Mastretta MXT, the first sports car wholly designed and manufactured in Mexico.  The entire package is based on the British super sport bonded alloy chassis with a carbon fiber floor panel and rear engine cradle, much like the Lotus Elise, a car to which the Mastretta MXT bears a striking resemblance.  BUT, some say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery.

One key difference between a Lotus and a Mastretta would be the price.  The Lotus, brand new and at a certain level of comfort and luxury, will likely cost anywhere between $75k and $100k.  The Mastretta MXT currently sells for the equivalent of $58,000 in Mexico, and General Manager Carlos Mastretta has insisted that the price will remain the same or comparable once it is available for direct sale in the US.

Direct sale?  Thats right, the US is a tricky place to import cars into, maybe not for companies in Europe and Asia who have been doing it for more than half a century, but for south of the border start ups, yes, it is difficult.  The trick for the Mastretta MXT’s entry into the North American market will be for clients to purchase the chassis and body assembly sans engine and transmission. After getting their hollow sports cars, customers can choose essentially whichever 2.0-liter T-ish engine they might desire, thus the car can qualify under the “specialty” homologation loophole group.

Its a little tricky, but if you have the time, money, a love of the wrench, and you like the idea of what is essentially a Mexican take on a Lotus Elise style super sport, then we here at Vroom say “Go for it.”

Phoenix Valley auto and tech enthusiasts should seriously consider taking a road trip out to Los Angeles in late November for the LA Auto Show, a popular platform for the worlds leaders in design, engineering, and electronics to debut their most cutting edge concepts and developments.

Phoenix Valley auto enthusiasts should also plan on attending the Phoenix Arizona International Auto Show to learn about the most recent concepts and innovations from Volkswagen, as well as the rest of the auto industry, taking place at the Phoenix Arizona Convention center over Thanksgiving weekend.

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