Mercedes 300SL Gullwing
Although Mercedes introduced the 300SL Gullwing in 1954 with just around 250 HP, the 300SL was one of the first cars people considered a supercar. It was fast, exclusive, expensive and had gullwing doors, which was unheard of in the mid-50s. It also had serious motorsport credentials and a gorgeous design. And all of this is so good, you’ll need to pay over a million dollars for a 300SL today.
In the mid-70s, Lancia wanted to go rally racing, so they made their first purpose-built rally car in the form of the Lancia Stratos. But although they had the design, they didn’t have the engine, so they borrowed a compact V6 from Ferrari. The Lancia powered by a Ferrari created a legend, becoming a world champion in 1977. With its design, exclusivity and racing success, the Stratos was a true rally supercar.
SSC Ultimate Aero TT
Emerging in 2009, the Ultimate Aero TT was a true masterpiece of engineering. It featured a turbocharged Corvette mill that pumped out 1,200 HP. It had an improved suspension, chassis and aerodynamics. Soon afterward, the Aero TT broke the production car speed record, achieving 256 mph, making it the fastest car in the world. With a price tag of close to $300,000, they only built 24 Aeros between 2006 and 2009.
The Countach is possibly the best-known supercar of its day and the most popular poster car on bedroom walls in the â70s and â80s. Lamborghini introduced it in 1974 as a concept car. But soon, it became a reality for wealthy playboys of the day. It was notoriously hard to drive and cramped inside, but nevertheless, it was, and still is, a legendary car.
The first BMW sports car was the legendary M1, which they introduced in 1978. Considered a failure due to the fact they only sold less than 500 of them, the M1 is now a highly collectible car with an enormous price tag. They mounted a 3.5-liter engine delivering 280 HP behind the driver, which provided this sleek Bavarian with respectable performance numbers.
The Dome Zero was a small Japanese car company dedicated to producing expensive, road-going and race models. They started production in 1976 and it continued until 1986. However, it is unclear how many cars they built. The Dome Zero got its power from a 2.8-liter SOHC six-cylinder engine with 147 HP. Even though that doesn’t sound like much, the car was extremely light so the performance numbers were respectable.
The Porsche 959 is one of the fastest, most advanced and technologically complex supercars of the â80s. The 959 was a super Porsche in every way and not only by design but also by performance and price. It had a 3.0-liter turbocharged flat-six engine that pumped out 450 HP to all four wheels over an intelligent all-wheel-drive (AWD) system.
In fact, this was the first AWD system of its kind. Also, they equipped the car with traction control, ABS and a host of electronic systems. And that helped the driver control its bestial power.
There is so much written material about the F1, like the way they designed and produced it, as well as how it changed the supercar world forever. So, here’s the basics. McLaren presented the F1 in 1992 and stayed in production until 1998.
During that period, McLaren produced 106 cars, including the GT-R versions, which were highly successful racing models. The F1 featured a bespoke 6.1-liter V12 engine BMW Motorsport built. It delivered a mind-blowing 627 HP and a six-speed manual transmission.
One of the world’s most obscure supercars comes from Japan in the form of the Mitsuoka Orochi. It was a groovy looking two-seater with Lambo doors and a controversial design. Mitsuoka based the Orochi on a Honda NSX platform.
However, they powered it with a Toyota 3.3-liter V6 engine producing 240 HP. That may not sound like a lot, but because the car is light and nimble, the performance is satisfying, to say the least.
2004-06 Ford GT
The 2004 GT was a perfect supercar in many ways. Ford introduced it at the height of the retro-futuristic car design. The GT was extremely capable, powerful and fast. At the moment, it was one of the best supercars on the scene and buyers loved it. In fact, in just two years of production, Ford managed to sell more than 4,000 GTs, making it one of the most popular supercars ever.
The Lotec Sirius is one of the most obscure European supercars that the Lotec Company produced in the early 2000s. The heart is a twin-turbo Mercedes-derived V12 engine that develops around 1,300 HP. With a five-speed manual transmission and just 2,800 pounds of curb weight, the Sirius is unbelievably fast.
The legendary Vector W8 is a wedge-shaped, V8 powered monster they presented in 1990. It was an ambitious project the Vector Aeromotive Corporation underwent. Under the engine cover was a typical American powerhouse in the form of a Chevrolet small block V8. They paired it up with twin turbochargers to produce 625 HP, which was an impressive figure.
Hennessey Venom GT
The Venom GT is not a 100 percent American supercar but a British-American hybrid. They based it on the Lotus Elise but significantly modified it. First, they widened and stretched it, adding a different suspension, brakes, design and drivetrain. In fact, practically everything is different from the original car. The power comes from a 7.0-liter LS2 V8 engine with three power levels, 800 HP, 1,000 HP and 1,200 HP.
Ferrari presented the F40 in 1987 as a commemorative model to mark the company’s 40th anniversary. However, it was much more than that. It was and still is one of the greatest sports cars ever built as well as one of the best Ferraris they ever produced. They got most of the chassis and drivetrain from the 288 GTO. However, with an updated engine, this supercar could pump out 450 HP.
2017 Ford GT
Ford’s newest, most advanced supercar is the mighty GT. Armed with a racing heritage and the latest technology, the GT is one of the fastest cars you can buy today. But the engine of the new GT is what is particularly interesting.
It is a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that delivers a head-spinning 656 HP. And it gives the car a 0 to 60 mph acceleration time of just 2.8 seconds. Better yet, it reaches a top speed of 216 mph.
Panoz Esperante GTR-1
You might’ve forgotten about Panoz, but the Esperante was a serious, race-bred supercar. The technology behind the Esperante was clearly for racing purposes. It had a space frame body structure, lightweight panels and two seats. Also, it had a front engine they mounted towards the middle of the car for the best weight distribution. Under the hood was a Roush-built, Ford-derived V8 producing over 500 HP they mated to a sequential gearbox.
AXIAM Mega Track
One of the most interesting, rarest supercars they ever built was the French Mega Track. Built by the Aixam company in the mid-90s, the Mega Track was the first and only off-road supercar. Behind the driver was a massive 6.0-liter V12 engine from Mercedes-Benz sending 400 HP to all four wheels. Sadly, the concept had its drawbacks because the Mega Track was a heavy, big car.
Back in the early 2000s, Ascari was on the verge of becoming the next big thing in the supercar segment. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, so all that is left of this interesting venture is the KZ 1 model. Ascari presented the KZ 1 in 2004 and it featured cool styling and quality construction. It came with a carbon fiber tub and an S62 V8 engine from the E39 BMW M5 that delivered over 400 HP.
It was a group of ex-Lamborghini engineers who built the Cizeta-Moroder V16T. But most interestingly, it had a rather crazy drivetrain. The main feature of this obscure beast was a monstrous V16 engine they made out of two flat-plane crank V8 units mounted transversely behind the cabin. The base list price was high at close to $300,000. And so, they ceased production after making just 20 of them, which is why they are a rare sight today.
Monteverdi Hai 450 SS
Monteverdi was a Swiss boutique car manufacturer that produced the Hai 450 SS supercar. They introduced it introduced in 1970 featuring a fully new chassis and body. And better yet, it had the famous Hemi 426 V8 engine in the back. Monteverdi wanted the most powerful engine Mopar had to offer so in 1970, that was the mighty Hemi. They named the car the “Hai,” which is a German word for “shark.”
Continuing the theme set with the F40, Ferrari introduced the F50 in 1995 as a coupe and a convertible. The idea behind the F50 was to present the Formula One car with road-going license plates. Behind the passengers was a race-derived 4.9-liter V12 pumping out 520 HP and fantastic performance numbers.
Venturi 400 GT
It is understandable if you don’t know about the Venturi, a small French car company active in the ’90s. They used components from other car companies and produced their own bodies and chassis. Visually similar to the Ferrari F40, the Venturi 400 GT also used a twin-turbocharged engine. But in the Venturi’s case, it was a 3.0-liter Peugeot V6 pumped to produce 400 HP in street trim. In racing trim, it was capable of over 600 HP.
Jaguar conceived the XJ220 in the late â80s as their first road-going supercar, and it looked promising. The concept car and the first prototypes had a Jaguar V12 engine they tuned to produce a high output. However, halfway into development, Jaguar decided to install a new 3.5-liter twin turbo V6 unit that produced 542 HP. The design of the car was fantastic with flowing lines along the sides and a wide stance to emphasize its performance and speed.
When the NSX first appeared in 1989 it revolutionized the supercar market. Basically, car buyers got a car with Ferrari performance and look at supermarket prices. Also, it came with Honda’s signature reliability and maintenance costs. The heart of the NSX was a 3.0-liter V6 with 274 HP and later, a 3.2-liter V6 with 290 HP. Since the car was light, the 0 to 60 mph time was a lightning-quick five seconds while the top speed was over 170 mph.
The market expected the F60, but Ferrari once again surprised car enthusiasts with the Ferrari Enzo, a supercar from 2004. It was the spiritual successor to the F40 and F50. But best of all, it featured even crazier specifications in the form of a high-revving 6.0-liter V12 engine. The engine delivered a mind-boggling 660 HP and the special F1-styled automatic gearbox gave it the ultimate performance.
Bugatti EB110 SS
Before the mighty Bugatti Veyron or the new Chiron developed with Volkswagen money, there was the early â90s Bugatti they produced in only one model type. Bugatti named it the EB 110, and it was on the market for a few short years.
Powered by a 600 HP engine and capable of reaching 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, the EB 110 SS cost over half a million dollars new. However, they never sold it in the USA. The Bugatti factory only made 33 of those brutally fast supercars before they went bankrupt.
Dodge Viper ACR
As you probably already know, those ACR Vipers were always a purist’s dream. They were specially-prepared road/track cars with immense possibilities, sublime handling and performances. But the secret of the ACR Viper was a slightly more powerful engine with 645 HP and a significant weight loss. And they topped that off with a perfectly-balanced chassis, race tires and powerful Brembo brakes.
Porsche Carrera GT
Porsche always relied much on racing in developing components for road-going cars. But, in the case of the Carrera GT, they developed nearly the whole car for racing, detuning it for road-going drivers. The Carrera GT looked like something more suited for a Le Mans race than on the street. And with a screaming V10 engine, brutal performance and sublime handling, it was just that.
Lexus needed something to draw the attention of hardcore car enthusiasts, so a supercar was just the thing they needed. And that is how the LFA was born. The heart of this super-capable sports car is a 4.3-liter V10 engine that developed 560 HP.
The power went to the rear axle over special six-speed robotized automatic transmission, which shifted fast and accurately. The rest of the car was equally advanced with innovative materials, bespoke components and perfect craftsmanship throughout.
One of the most interesting members of the highly exclusive supercar society is the Pagani. Thanks to the Zonda, they stole the spotlight of the automotive public. Powered by a Mercedes AMG V12 and consisting almost entirely of carbon fiber, the Zonda is extreme in all aspects. In fact, it’s highly praised by people lucky enough to have a spin.
If you think the Ferrari Enzo is the ugliest supercar on the planet, but you love the design and performance, the Maserati MC12 is the car for you. They built on the same platform and with the same drivetrain. However, the MC12 is slightly longer, a bit more comfortable and much better looking. Also, it is much rarer than the Enzo.
Under a strange name, in 2012 Ferrari presented their ultimate road-going model and successor to the Enzo. It was a big step forward for the company since the LaFerrari was the first hybrid car to combine a V12 engine with the KERS system. But with a combined output of 950 HP, the La Ferrari is one of the fastest supercars of the 21st century.
Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale
Despite the fact it is now irrelevant in the supercar class, in the late â60s, Alfa produced one of the most interesting supercars ever built, the Tipo 33 Stradale. It was not only the most expensive production car at the time; it was also the most exclusive. Powered by a screaming race-bred V8, Alfa only sold approximately 15 of them.
Many enthusiasts claim the Miura is the first proper supercar in the world. To be honest, it has all the right ingredients, including a fantastic design, and crazy power and performance numbers. It came with a high price tag and they produced it in limited quantities.
The Miura was also the first car to feature several technical solutions, which later became mandatory in the supercar segment. If it wasn’t the first, the Miura is certainly one of the most influential and iconic supercars.
It is hard to comprehend, but the SSJ from the late â20s was a real supercar of the period. The SSJ had a straight eight-cylinder engine with a supercharger that pumped up to 320 HP. And that is what gave this Duesenberg fantastic performance and exclusivity, which is still amazing, even today.
If the McLaren F1 revolutionized the supercar category in the â90s, the P1 did the same in the 21st century. With its unbelievable technology, advanced hybrid drivetrain and close to 1,000 HP, the P1 is the epitome of performance, style and speed. And those are all the things a supercar needs to have.
Bugatti Veyron Super Sport
The Veyron is one of the few cars that doesn’t have a direct competitor. Yes, there are similarly fast or exclusive models, but there is nothing quite like it. What can you say for a car with the W16 engine with 1001 HP and a 270-mph top speed? It is one of the greatest supercars they ever made.
There is so much around the new 918 that is fantastic that makes it one of the most desirable Porsche models they ever built. First, it is a proper supercar that gets almost 1,000 HP from its hybrid power train. Second, it is unbelievably fast and capable, thanks to its all-wheel drive. Sadly, it is a limited production hypercar that Porsche has already sold out.
Ariel Atom 500
This could be the craziest car for sale today you can put license plates on legally. The Ariel Atom 500 V8 weighs just 1,200 pounds and gets 500 HP from its V8 engine they mounted directly behind the driver. The car is basically a go-kart with a spoiler and room for two people.
However, it doesn’t have a trunk, body panels or fenders. It was just a naked chassis with a screaming V8 in the back. With 500 angry horses that want to run free in full power, a seven-speed sequential gearbox and four tires, it is screaming fast.
Gumpert Apollo Sport
Although not the prettiest supercar they ever produced but definitely one of the most brutal, the Gumpert Apollo was the brainchild of German engineers. To build it, they used an Audi 4.2-liter V8 and a light carbon fiber chassis. With the F1-syle suspension and aggressive aerodynamics package, the Apollo produced a truly incredible performance.
Coming from a long line of world-class supercars, the Diablo was the definitive â90s Lamborghini. It came with a screaming V12 behind the driver and Lambo-styled scissors doors. Best yet, it could reach a 200 mph top speed and came with a glorious soundtrack. However, it was only available as a manual and air conditioning was just an option.
Koenigsegg Agera R
One of the newest members of the exclusive supercar society is the Swedish brand Koenigsegg. With its bespoke cars, advanced technology and super powerful engines, people soon recognized Koenigsegg as the pinnacle of automotive engineering. Ad the Agera R is just that with its twin-turbo V8, 1,100 HP and 280 mph top speed.
The Zonda was tough to replace in terms of performance and looks, but somehow, Pagani managed to surprise the automotive world again. The Huayra follows their proven recipe of an AMG-derived V12, carbon fiber body, perfect engineering and sublime speed. And that is more than enough to get it on this list.
Audi R8 V10 Plus
The sports car world was surprised when Audi presented the first generation R8. Nobody expected such a bold move from Audi or such a great sports car. In fact, the Audi R8 is a supercar with a mid-mounted V10 engine and design.
But, better yet, it’s a supercar at sports car prices, so it’s available to a wider audience. And the engine is a true piece of art. It has a naturally-aspirated 5.2 liter V10 with a dual-injection intake that produces 610 HP.
The 2000s brought several great supercars, but just a few managed to survive the economic recession. And one of the cars that didn’t was the Spyker with its fantastic C8. However, the C8 was a great looking model with a unique design, 4.2-liter V8 in the back and a respectable performance.
Lotus Esprit V8
Lotus offered the Esprit since the early â70s, all the way up to the early 2000s. It has always been a fantastic supercar despite the fact it had smaller engines than its competitors. But the last and best version was the V8 featuring 350 HP. And, with its lightweight body, the Esprit could outrun many other cars, while still retaining that classic wedge look.
Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
The Corvette was always a sports car but the 2019 ZR1 is a true supercar in terms of power and performance. Chevrolet recently released this version of the C7 Corvette and it features an improved Z06 chassis, suspension and drivetrain. But best of all, it has an absolute beast of an engine.
The powerhouse is a 6.2-liter heavily supercharged LT4 engine that pumps out 755 HP with 527 lb-ft of torque. And, it sends all that power to the rear wheels through an automatic or manual gearbox.
Lamborghini Sesto Elemento
Lamborghini based the Sesto Elemento on the Gallardo. And it is a highly exclusive Lamborghini they designed for track use. It features special paint and an upgraded mechanics and engine, as well as numerous unique details and pieces. The engine is 5.0-liter V10 similar to the Audi R8, which delivers 590 HP. Lamborghini made 30 Sesto Elementos, all of which they sold for $2.92 million.
These are 50 of the most iconic supercars the automotive world has ever seen. Which one caught your eye? They are all amazingly fast and powerful. But best of all, they’ll get you noticed on the streets and at the red light.