DoniRosset. Or the best gift a father has ever received

Today is Father’s Day in Brazil. The second Sunday of August is very likely a day to celebrate fatherhood other countries, but I am not really sure which. Whatever. This story also comes from Brazil. And it is about the best gift ever given to a father besides becoming a father. It has to do with gratitude, heritage and sharing tastes. In this case, the taste for amazing cars that Donino Rosset has passed on to William Denis Rosset. And that ended up in what was thought to be the first Brazilian supercar.

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Doni is the nickname of Donino. When William first had the idea to produce an exclusive car for his father, hardly anyone took him seriously. He had no experience in car projects. As a contractor, he only had the means to make it happen. But Fernando Morita, the author of the better looking Toyota Etios we have presented yesterday, met William in 2007 and he decided to give the idea a go. Work began in the middle of 2008.

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Morita discussed the design with William, showed him ideas and perfected them with the entrepreneur’s inputs. A clay model was developed with the help of Lucas Rodrigues, currently living in Wolfsburg. He is one of Volkswagen’s clay modelers. The push rod suspension was developed by Alexandre Hirata. Augusto Souza and Guilherme Venturi where the other professionals that helped to give the car an aluminum spaceframe structure, carbon fiber body and its glorious engine, the 8.4 V10 that powers the Dodge Viper. But with a much increased power: 741 kW using ethanol and 2 turbochargers. Its transmission would be a 6-speed sequential unit from Mendeola and the car would have a central seating position. Just like the McLaren F1.

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When I interviewed William, in May 28, 2012, while I still worked for the Brazilian edition of Car and Driver, he told me he wanted a brute force car. With no electronic aids. His goal was for it to reach a top speed of 400 km/h and a 0 to 100 km/h in 2 s.

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In that day, Donino’s birthday, the car was officially presented. It had a 24K gold badge, with 2 emerald gems, and should have other luxury items when it was finished. It was supposed to go through an extensive development after that. Even because many of William’s friends also wanted a DoniRosset for their own. The contractor had even put a price on each of them: R$ 2 million, or around US$ 1 million at the time. He intended to produce 50 units. But I have never heard of the car afterwards. Since it was developed for 4 years without anyone getting any information, I thought it was just another long time span for the final car to get ready.

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It came as a coincidence that, at the Fiat Mobi’s presentation, back in April, I stumbled upon Marcelo Picolo, PR for DoniRosset. Marcelo told me the car was parked somewhere and that William has moved away from São Paulo. He has not heard from him again. The 4.70 m long (and 2 m wide) car project is apparently halted. What comes as no surprise considering the Brazilian economic crisis. Another sports car that was under development in Brazil, called Rossin-Bertin Vorax, has also vanished.

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In Brazil, people are used to projects that do not go through due to the country’s economic problems. Being an entrepreneur in this country is incredibly difficult and many fail. We just think it is incredibly unfair for a car like this never to hit the streets. We prefer to think William has just given himself a break and that he will get the supercar for his father completed. It is, after all, the best gift any father must have ever received. Not only a special car, but a hypercar named after him. As special and unique as your father must be to you. Happy Father’s Day, whether you have already celebrated it or is doing it today, as Brazilians are!

Gustavo Henrique Ruffo

I have been an automotive journalist since 1998 and have worked for many important Brazilian newspapers and magazines, such as the local edition of Car and Driver and Quatro Rodas, Brazilian's biggest car magazine. I have also worked for foreign websites, such as World Car Fans and won a few journalism prizes, among them three SAE Journalism Awards and the 2017 IAM RoadSmart Safety Award. I am the author of "The Traffic Cholesterol", a book about bad drivers that you can buy at Hotmart, Google Play, Amazon and Kobo.