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20 Forgotten and Obscure Supercars

Vukasin HerbezSeptember 7, 2017

Photo Credit: Automobile Mag

16. Vector W8

The only American supercar on this list is the legendary Vector W8, a wedge-shaped, V8-powered monster they presented in 1990. It was an ambitious project by the Vector Aeromotive Corporation. They wanted to produce the most advanced supercar in the world by using aeronautical technology and materials in car production. The W8 had a space frame chassis with a Kevlar body and reinforced with a special kind of plastic.

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Under the engine cover was a typical American powerhouse in the form of a Chevrolet small-block V8. They paired it with twin turbochargers to produce 625 HP, which was an impressive figure. The company claimed that at full boost, the 6.0-liter twin-turbo engine was capable of 1200 HP. However, they suggested drivers not use a full boost for extended periods of time, since it would affect the durability of the engine itself. The Vector W2 cost $450,000, which was an enormous sum for the day. Despite being featured in numerous movies, TV shows, and computer games, it failed to reach sales success. When production ended in 1993, the Vector Aeromotive Company managed to produce only 22 examples of this fantastic American supercar.

Photo Credit: Autoclass Magazine

15. Monteverdi Hai 450 SS

Ask anyone who knows those classic supercars from the 1960s and early 1970s if they’ve heard of the Monteverdi Hai 450 SS, and you may be surprised. In fact, most people have never even heard of it. The Monteverdi company was a Swiss manufacturer of high-end coupes and limousines. They became popular for their elegant creations featuring Italian styling, German quality, and American engines. All their models featured Chrysler engines that delivered the raw power most European manufacturers of the period lacked. After a line of beautiful Gran Turismo coupes, Peter Monteverdi, the owner of the company, wanted to enter the supercar market. He decided to produce a car with a rear-mounted Chrysler engine, a low-profile body, and high performance.

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They introduced a new model they named the Hai 450 SS in 1970. It featured a new chassis and body, as well as the famous Hemi 426 V8 engine in the back. Monteverdi wanted the most powerful engine Mopar had to offer and in 1970, that was the mighty Hemi. The car was called “Hai,” a German word for “shark.” Despite delivering 450 HP and superb performance, the Hai 450 SS emerged just as the automotive industry slid into the recession. So buyers were hard to find. Eventually, they sold one car at a high price and later produced two more. Monteverdi’s concern for customers contributed to their decision to cease production. He thought it was too fast and aggressive, making the Hai 450 SS dangerous. Today, this is one of the lost supercars and one of the rarest Swiss-built cars ever.

Photo Credit: W Super Cars

14. Noble M600

The expansion of supercars in the 2000s brought many interesting, powerful machines. Most models of recent years are infamous, so many car enthusiasts are aware of them. However, a few models flew under the radar despite being powerful and fast. And one of those cars is the Noble M600. In fact, Noble became famous for producing extreme cars using components from other manufacturers. Being a British car company, people considered them to be a kit car factory. However, this was not true, but it affected their reputation on the supercar market. However, they shattered that reputation by offering the M600 model. It showed what Noble was capable of in the supercar market. They used a 4.4-liter V8 from Volvo and bolted two turbochargers on it to achieve 550 or 650 HP.

Photo Credit: W Super Cars

And they installed that engine in a lightweight, sleek body. The idea behind the M600 was to produce a pure supercar without any unnecessary electronic aids to deliver the purest driving experience possible. This made the M600 scary to drive, but also an immensely fun and unforgettable experience. Using all 650 HP, the M600 can climb to 60 mph in just 3.0 seconds and go over 220 mph. Unfortunately, regardless of its great looks and performance, mainstream supercars buyers avoided this model. Even though Top Gear featured it in their show and praised its qualities, not many people have heard of it. The M600 is still in production, so if you want to be a proud owner of one of today’s purest and fastest supercars, be ready to pay over $200,000.

Photo Credit: Car Pixel

13. Alfa Romeo TZ3 Stradale

You may wonder why this list features an Alfa Romeo since Alfa is a well-known factory that doesn’t produce supercars. However, they created one model so strange, obscure, and rare, it is fitting for this article. They introduced the Alfa Romeo TZ 3 Stradale in 2011 in just nine vehicles. However, the TZ name has been present in Alfa history since the 1960s when they produced several sports and racing cars. And they included the TZ 1 and TZ 2. The “T” is for Turbulare and the “Z” is for Zagato, the designer house. To connect with its glorious racing past, Alfa Romeo presented a limited production model called the TZ 3 in 2011 with a Zagato body. The automobile public was surprised when they presented the new model because Alfa didn’t have the chassis or the engine for such a model.

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When they revealed the specifications, the secret came to the light. The Alfa Romeo TZ 3 was a previous generation Dodge Viper ACR-X in a track-prepared version. Alfa dressed the Viper in a Zagato body but left the important mechanical components and the massive 8.2-liter engine intact. Even the interior was the same except the badging was Alfa Romeo instead of Dodge. The TZ 3 had a supercar-beating performance with 600 HP, 3.4 seconds 0 to 60 mph acceleration time, and a 200-mph top speed. Despite the fancy Italian suit, V10 engine, perfect driving dynamics, and legendary name, Alfa only managed to sell nine copies. Today, only six years after they released it, almost nobody remembers the Alfa Romeo TZ 3.

Photo Credit: Automobile Mag

12. Venturi 400 GT

It is no surprise if you don’t know about Venturi. They were a small French car company that was active in the 1990s. Using components from other car companies and producing their own bodies and chassis, Venturi presented several beautiful, fast cars. Venturi left its mark in the history of obscure supercars with its magnificent 400 GT model from the mid-1990s. Visually similar to the Ferrari F40, the Venturi 400 GT also had a twin-turbocharged engine. But in Venturi`s case, it was a 3.0-liter Peugeot V6 they pumped up to produce 400 HP in street trim. In racing trim, it was capable of over 600 HP. With all that firepower, the 400 GT could accelerate to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds and go over 180 mph. And that was faster than the Porsches and Ferraris of the day.

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The Venturi participated in many races including the Le Mans. It even had its own racing series where wealthy amateurs could compete with their Venturi in match races. Unfortunately, financial reality caught up with Venturi’s big ambitions. They closed the company down, first in 1997, and then again in 2000. Venturi managed to produce less than 100 models of the fantastic 400 GT, which has been lost in the corridors of time.

Photo Credit: Road and Track

11. Lister Storm

The Lister company was famous for being a racing outfit. They prepared racing cars for many mainstream manufacturers like Jaguar, Maserati, and Chevrolet. But in the mid-1990s, Lister decided to make their own supercar using a highly tuned Jaguar V12 engine. Their idea behind the supercar was to introduce a brutally fast four-seater Gran Turismo coupe. It would be capable of breaking speed records and transporting passengers in comfort. Lister called the new model the Storm and it featured a V12 engine with 550 HP. They derived the 7.0-liter engine from a Le Mans racer. Lister made their own body, which featured a wide track to accommodate the wide tires. It had lots of scoops and spoilers for better cooling and aerodynamics.

Photo Credit: Road and Track

At the same time, Lister offered the Storm as a passenger car at almost $450,000, as well as a racing version for private teams. However, despite having brutal power, 4.0 seconds to 60 mph and over 210 mph, only four customers ordered it. The reason was that some people thought the car was aggressive-looking, or even ugly. Also, despite being a four-seater, it didn’t have a lot of space in its interior.

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10. Ascari KZ 1

Back in the early 2000s, the Ascari was on the verge of becoming the next big thing in the supercar segment. Unfortunately, that didn’t materialize, and all that is left of this interesting venture is the KZ 1 model. The KZ 1 entered the automobile market in 2004. It featured cool styling and solid construction with a carbon-fiber tub. They gave it an S62 V8 engine from the E39 BMW M5, which produced 400 HP. The KZ 1 was light and balanced, so it performed well. The acceleration time from 0 to 60 was possible in 4.0 seconds, while the top speed was 200 mph. The specifications and features in popular magazines added to the hype, too.

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But when they revealed the pricing, the KZ 1 hit the wall. Ascari priced this car at a hefty $400,000, which was more than the comparable Ferrari or Porsche. The price tag sealed the destiny of the KZ 1. They stopped production a few years later after building only 10 models.

Photo Credit: Motor 1

9. Panoz Esperante GTR-1

If you are a 90s kid, you probably remember the Panoz Esperante GTR-1 from cult racing games like Gran Turismo or Midtown Madness. This American supercar was the talk of the racing community in the late 1990s. However, despite its promising start, Panoz built only a few racing versions and one street-legal example. The technology behind the Esperante was clearly for racing purposes. It had a space frame body structure, lightweight panels, and two seats. Also, they installed a front-engine mounted towards the middle of the car for the best weight distribution. The characteristic front of the car was aerodynamically efficient, although it wasn’t that attractive.

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Under the hood was a Roush-built, Ford-derived V8 with over 500 HP mated to a sequential gearbox. Panoz successfully raced the Esperante on numerous race tracks all over the world. However, they only managed to build only one street version. But, there is a rumor the company will build a new street-legal Esperante GTR-1 for approximately $1 million.

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8. TVR Speed 12

One of the craziest and rarest supercars is the TVR Speed 12. TVR based it on the mid-90s TVR Cerbera coupe. The Speed 12 was the ultimate version of a chassis and engineering exercise to test the limits of power and speed in the production car market. Back in the day, TVR had a lot of racing experience. So, the company wanted to see what they could do if they concentrated all their resources on a superfast racing/street model. They built the Speed 12 with FIA racing propositions in mind. Soon they presented the first and only prototype. It had a 7.7-liter V12 engine capable of delivering close to 1,000 HP.

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The rest of the car was for pure racing with a lightweight chassis, sequential gearbox, and active aero package. The performance was terrifying. The Speed 12 could accelerate to 60 mph in less than three seconds and go well over 200 mph. Unfortunately, TVR canceled production for two reasons. First, the FIA changed the requirements for the racing class, making the Speed 12 obsolete. Second, company management was afraid the car was too fast for the street and drivers would get killed driving it.

Photo Credit: Motor 1

7. Jaguar XJR-15

This list has already included the fantastic, often misunderstood Jaguar XJ220 supercar. But, this wasn’t the only high speed, low production sports model from the famed British brand in the ’90s. The second one, the XJR-15, was much rarer and forgotten. Back in the late 1980s and early ’90s, Jaguar had much success in endurance racing and on Le Mans. To commemorate the winning car, Jaguar decided to produce a limited run of special sportscars with racing technology.

Photo Credit: Motor 1

Soon, they presented the XJR-15. Again, it was a race car for the streets with a 6.0-liter V12. This was as close to a racing engine as it could get. Jaguar paired it up with a proper competition chassis, suspension, and drivetrain. The result was 450 HP and a 0 to 60 mph time of 3.5 seconds. Production started in 1990 and ended in 1992, during which time Jaguar built 53 examples at close to $1 million each.

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6. Bristol Fighter

In 2004, Bristol decided to introduce a new model with uncompromised performance and fresh design. And that is how the Bristol Fighter was born. They custom-built the chassis with a special body featuring gullwing doors and a long hood. Although the design of the Fighter doesn’t resemble other Bristol cars, it carries the tradition of using Chrysler engines.

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But best of all, this sports car has an 8.0-liter V10 from Dodge Viper delivering 525 HP. With 0 to 60 mph acceleration times of around four seconds and top speeds of over 200 mph, it was one of the fastest cars at the time. However, Bristol’s policy and refusal to sell many cars ended in 2011 when the company closed. Allegedly, they built only 13 Fighters, delivering none of them to the U.S.

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5. Jaguar XJ13

Back in the mid-60s Jaguar wanted to go racing, but they needed a new, modern car. And, it had to be far more advanced than the E-Type sports coupe they offered at the moment. That is why they conceived the secret XJ13 project. Jaguar wanted to produce a mid-engine supercar with a V12 unit in the back. Also, it had to have aerodynamic styling and sublime performance.

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Unfortunately, they only completed one car, so the project never got off the ground. But once the race regulations changed, the XJ13 became obsolete even before they were ready to race it. They scraped the plans for a road-going homologation version. Unfortunately, the XJ13 became known as the best “what if” story in Jaguar’s history.

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4. Lotec Sirius

The Sirius is one of the most obscure European supercars the Lotec Company produced in the early 2000s. However, the prototype caused much attention when they first showed it in 2001. But ever since, the news about this crazy supercar has been scarce. Some say they only made two of them. Yet others think the Sirius never progressed beyond the prototype stage.

Photo Credit: Wallpaper Cave

However, the Sirius is still one of the most powerful and interesting machines out there. The heart is a twin-turbo Mercedes-derived V12 engine that develops around 1,300 HP. With a five-speed manual transmission and weighing just 2,800 pounds, the Sirius is unbelievably fast. In fact, a 0 to 60 mph sprint takes less than 3.7 seconds and the top speed is an amazing 285 mph.

Photo Credit: Emanual Online

3. Dome Zero

You may remember this car if you grew up in the late ‘70s or early ‘80s. It was one of the first Japanese supercars with a memorable design. The Dome Zero was a small Japanese car company dedicated to producing expensive road-going and race models. Production started in 1976 and continued until 1986, but it is unclear how many cars they built.

Photo Credit: Emanual Online

The Dome Zero came with a 2.8-liter SOHC six-cylinder engine with 147 HP. Although that doesn’t sound like much, the car was extremely light, so the performance was respectable. Unfortunately, Zero never completed the homologation process, so their racing career was short and unsuccessful.

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2. Mitsuoka Orochi

One of the world’s most obscure supercars comes from Japan in the form of the Mitsuoka Orochi. It was a cool-looking two-seater with Lamborghini doors and a controversial design. The Mitsuoka company was famous for building restomoded cars based on regular models. However, in 2006 they decided to enter the supercar market with the highly exclusive Orochi.

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They named the car after a mythical Japanese dragon with eight heads that influenced the design of the car. Even though they based the Orochi on the Honda NSX platform, it’s powered by a Toyota 3.3-liter V6 engine with 240 HP. This car is light and nimble, so the performance is satisfying, to say the least. They never intended to sell the Orochi outside of Japan or some selected Asian markets, especially not in the U.S.

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1. Tatra MTX V8

Defunct Czech car company Tatra produced luxury sedans behind the Iron Curtain. But in 1991, a group of young, talented engineers decided to make a supercar using race technology and a Tatra V8 engine. And they named the result the Tatra MTX V8. Tatra revealed the car at the Prague Motor Show. The MTX V8 received many orders, but production proved to be difficult, so they canceled the project. They only completed four cars, which is a shame. The MTX V8 never got a chance to race against Ferraris, Porsches, or Maseratis.

Photo Credit: Drive Tribe

These are the 20 most forgotten and obscure supercars ever produced. If you love to drive fast and have the skills to handle a fast, powerful car, one of these vehicles could be for you. Each of them has a lasting legacy in the car industry.

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