The iconic shape of classic Porsche 911, a glimpse of the Corvette`s long hood, the bright red color of a Ferrari or Lamborghini`s spoilers and scoops… Those are the details etched in mind of every car enthusiast out there. The iconic sports cars that have shaped the industry and collective conciseness for decades are now not just the legendary cars but also part of modern culture.
However, on every recognizable and well-known shape come dozen of rare, unknown and obscure sports cars that tried to become popular but failed for some reason. Those are the cars we want to talk to you about today. Rare, unloved, forgotten but somehow extremely cool and interesting models that deserve to be dragged into the light and shown to the public. So, here they are – 20 classic sports cars you probably didn’t know ever existed.
Melkus RS 1000
As you probably know, the sports car market in communist countries was extremely limited and apart from Skoda 110 R, there was no sports car available. However, in East Germany, automotive engineer Heinz Melkus designed a very capable and interesting sports coupe and convinced Wartburg factory of producing a limited number of cars.
Using the Wartburg 353 as a basis, Melkus designed and fabricated independent front and rear suspension, roll-bars and close ratio 5-speed gearbox. The 992 ccm engine was tuned to produce 68 HP and mounted behind the driver sending its power to rear wheels, instead to front like in the standard Wartburg 353. Melkus also designed and manufactured lightweight fiberglass body which featured modern design and low profile. The car was called Melkus RS 1000 and it was introduced in 1969. To be honest, for 1969 standards this was an extremely advanced sports car, however underpowered with just 68 HP on tap.
The production ended in 1979 after 101 cars were made. The Melkus RS 1000 was extremely expensive for East European standards which explains its limited production. Most examples were bought by sports teams and raced in local championships.