Over the years since its unveiling, the SR-71 Blackbird has inspired innovation in different walks of life. The radar-evading aircraft built way back in the 1960s continues to generate excitement today. Just mention the word Blackbird within a knowledgeable crowd, and you’re likely to catch the attention of everyone around you.
Perhaps, you’ve heard of Czinger, the revolutionary company that’s changing the game of how automobile parts are manufactured and assembled. Founded by the father-son team of Kevin and Lukas Czinger, the company is responsible for building the record-breaking 21C hypercar. At the Quail during Monterey Car Week, Czinger announced the founder’s edition of the 21C they named the Blackbird, paying tribute to Lockheed Corporation's SR-71, which inspired the car.
While the regular 21C itself took some inspiration from the SR-71, Kevin and Lukas felt a need to build a version that mirrors the character of the Blackbird even more.
If you're unfamiliar with the technology behind the 21C, let's deviate a little to summarize the subject. The chassis structure is generatively designed using supercomputing and artificial intelligence. That approach resulted in efficiency improvements which ensure that every part of the car's structure is optimized for its specific function without any waste. Many of the parts are also 3D printed, including the gearbox built in collaboration with Xtrac.
The assembly of the final structure from the 3D-printed parts is done with the aid of highly accurate laser-guided robotics. You can find out more about this intriguing technology on the Czinger website.
As for the 21C Blackbird, one just needs a quick glance at it to relate it to the aircraft that inspired it. So what does this new offering bring to the table?
Most notable is the horsepower bump. The Blackbird comes with 1,350bhp (100bhp more than the standard edition), a custom exhaust that borrows its shape from the afterburners you’ll find on the SR-71, and the menacing yet impressive look that signals an encounter with an exceptional automobile.
In addition, the wheel design shows some similarities to the top view profile of the SR-71. Speaking of the wheels, the carbon rim and titanium hub center go beyond beautiful. It’s doubtful you’ll find better-looking wheels on any other car out there today.
Capping off the distinct exterior are the unique logos and graphics that make the car stand out more. However, though there were a lot of impressive cars on display at the Quail, it’s the paintwork of the exterior of the Blackbird that allowed Czinger to steal the show. The custom JET black paint along with exposed carbon surfaces, make it difficult to look away from the car.
On the inside, you'll find the typical 21C inline seat configuration. Trimmed parts have a unique Alcantara pattern specifically designed for the SR-71 livery. The laser-etched material has a perforated backing in a perfectly contrasting orange color that adds to the appeal of the car. The exposed structural network in satin titanium and the black leather on the steering wheel and door spears put the final exclamation mark on what is an absolutely stunning interior.
There’s no denying the innovation behind the 21C, and paying tribute to the legendary SR-71 couldn’t be more appropriate.
Delivery of the 21C only marks the beginning of the Czinger vision. With the revolutionary technology this company is developing, it’s not hard to speculate that they hold more aces in car building than many of their rivals realize.
In the press release, Lukas Czinger indicated that he watched a lot of Kelly Johnson (credited for his contributions to the development of the U2 and SR-71) documentaries growing up, and seeing the 21C Blackbird come to life is essentially a dream come true. Undoubtedly, Kelly Johnson would have been proud to see this iconic car.