Do you remember the Bulleta RF22 sports car project based on the underpinnings of the Lotus Evora, pictures of which we showed you last Friday? Some of you questioned the legitimacy of the concept and if we are to believe Lotus, you were very right to do so.
Besides the fact that the site has gone offline, now prompting a suspicious download, [edit, it's back online again] we received an email message from Kevin Smith, Lotus Cars USA Marketing and PR Communications Executive, in which he eloquently places the project on its deathbed even before its birth…
"FYI...You guys are reporting on VAPOR with this story about the Buletta RF22. I work for Lotus and can tell you we are NOT selling Evora chassis to this group to build their vaporcar from," Smith told Carscoops.
Whether it was hoax, a student rendering or a project built on hopes that Lotus may be interested in participating down the line, is something that remains unanswered, at least for the time being.
Update: We received the following email messages from the co-founder of California-based Bulleta Motors, Ferris Rezvani, a few hours after posting our story.
"Hi, Bulleta Motors works directly with Lotus UK, we have nothing to do with Lotus US. Lotus US is just a reseller of Lotus UK. Bulleta Motors is well funded and alive. Please retract your unfounded and un informed story please," read Mr. Rezvani's first email.
"Please fix your story about our RF22 being \"vapor\". you should have at least called us before publishing this. Kevin smith doesn\'t know anything about our dealings. We work directly with lotus UK. Please remove this blog ASAP - as its embarrassing for your site. please call us with any questions you may have," said Mr. Rezvani in his follow up email.
To begin with, our report was not "unfounded" as we shared an email statement made by an official representative of Lotus Cars USA. We did not make up the story.
In regards to not contacting Bulleta Motors, we noted in our initial posting that the company’s website was down at the time, so we did not have any contact info. When one of our readers told us that, the company's site was up and working again, we visited the page and saw that one of the team members is designer Samir Sadikhov, whom we sent an email asking for a response on Kevin Smith's statement – we haven't received a reply yet.
As far as Mr. Rezvani's request to "remove this blog ASAP - as its embarrassing for your site", the first part isn't going to happen, as last time I checked, we still have freedom of the press in this country, and even if we didn't, it still wouldn't happen. What we will do is post his replies and views in the same way that we shared Mr. Smith's statement. As for the second part, I will leave our readers to be the judge of that and not Mr. Rezvani.
When we wrote back to Mr. Rezvani explaining that this was a report on Mr. Smith's email message and the reason why we we did not contact Bulleta Motors immediately, we received the following emails:
"sounds like your computer maybe have a virus or malware directing you to other sites. lotus US is just a reseller. We deal directly with Lotus UK. Our web site has not been down and we are a real company not vapor. feel free to call us anytime tomorrow, I would be happy to speak with you . In the meantime please run a Malware scan on your computer."
"it's unfortunate that lotus US spokesman would speak without first checking with lotus UK. lotus US is just a reseller and theyre right were not buying chassis from them. Our contact is with lotus UK and was within the last week which maybe why Kevin smith mis spoke. also keep in mind we don't need to procure our chassis from lotus new either. There are plenty of pre owned chassis to purchase. call myself or my co founder ramtin tomorrow if you have any questions. in the meantime please retract the story until you've done more homework. just advise as it would discredit your site later when the car gets more exposure."
My advice to Mr. Rezvani would be to carefully read our report and understand that this was a statement made from a press spokesperson of a company that represents Lotus in the USA – it's not hearsay or supposition.
By John Halas