Variety is the spice of life, and when it comes to the supercar segment of the automotive industry, this proves especially true. Because let’s face it. Although there’s no denying the state-of-the-art engineering and overall aesthetic beauty that comes with any car you’d buy from the likes of Ferrari or Lamborghini, after a while, they all start to become a bit derivative. It’s not a case of complacency — after all, the Prancing Horse and the Raging Bull are some of the most recognized marques in the world — but rather one of necessity. For in a game of sink or swim, being too different often puts you at some sort of competitive disadvantage — at least where sales are concerned.
So, even despite the fact that many of the cars we’ve featured here are heaped with promise, between their impossible performance claims, their outrageous asking prices, and their incredibly low sales volumes, they’ve been all but relegated to obscurity. And it’s a shame because we need more manufacturers who are daring enough to take risks and experiment beyond the expected. We don’t need another milk toast mid-engined supercar; we need something bold and different like the six-wheeled C6W. It may only appeal to a niche (and deep-pocketed) buyer, but that’s not to say that it’s any less deserving of its share of the limelight. Having scoured the web for some of the least-known automakers the world has to offer, below we’ve rounded up 20 of the best supercars you’ve never heard of. Read on to see our picks.
Aixam Mega Track
If you’ve ever wondered how well a supercar’s elegant body lines and on-tarmac authority would translate into a chunky-tired off-road application, the Mega Track will tell you all you need to know. Designed by Mega (the sporty subsidiary of French subcompact specialist Aixam), it offered four full-size passenger seats, adjustable 13-inch ground clearance, as well as full-time four-wheel-drive. Powered by a 6.0L naturally-aspirated V12 good for 389hp and 420lb-ft of torque, a 5.8s 0-60mph sprint, and a top speed of 155mph, it was unlike anything the world had ever seen. As was its $400,000 price tag in 1992.
Top Speed: 155mph
Arash is a boutique British supercar company that was originally founded in 1999 as Farboud Limited and then changed its name in 2006. After the rebrand, Arash proceeded to come out with a pair of supercars named the AF10 and AF8 (pictured here). Although the former gets most of the attention for its ludicrous five-motor hybrid-electric drivetrain, the latter isn’t one to be overlooked. In many ways the Af8 is comparable to the Ferrari 458 and McLaren MP4-12C of yesteryear: it has a 7.0-liter LS7 V8, it weighs just 2,645lbs, and it costs about a quarter-million dollars. Despite some previous flops, the AF8 is the car that could make Arash.
Top Speed: 200mph
Named after an Italian (Alberto Ascari, the first-ever double winner of the World Championship of drivers), founded by a Dutchman, and based in England, Ascari was a brand that specialized in small-run supercars for both the street and track. In addition to being the second model the automaker ever produced, the KZ1 was a road-going variant of the race-ready A410 Le Mans prototype. Each car sported a handcrafted carbon fiber monocoque body with a naturally-aspirated 5.0L V8 that made 500hp. As an added bonus, buyers had the opportunity to drive their KZ1’s at the Race Resort Ascari in Spain.
Top Speed: 199mph
Were you to take a Dodge Viper, give it a spot of British styling, and slap on a couple of gullwing doors, chances are good that you’d end up with something that looked a lot like the Bristol Fighter. Beneath its lengthy hood, it hid a V10 tuned to produce 525hp and just as many lb-ft of torque. Mated to either a six-speed manual or a four-speed automatic, it could take the Fighter to 60mph in just 4.0s before allegedly climbing all the way to 210mph. If you think those are some first-rate figures for the early 2000s, just imagine if Bristol had actually produced the Fighter T, a turbocharged 1,012hp variant with an impressive 0.27 drag coefficient.
Top Speed: 210mph
As the product of a joint venture between automotive designer Claudio Zampolli and musical composer Giorgio Moroder, the Cizeta V16T is truly a car unique unto itself. Engineered by a group of ex-Lamborghini employees, it embodied much of the Raging Bull’s characteristic excess. So, in addition to its angular Diablo-esque styling, it also featured a true V16 engine, four pop-up headlights, and a lengthy 105.9-inch wheelbase. Although it debuted in 1988 and stopped production in 1995, it started a second run in 2006 that’s supposedly still available by inquiry to this day.
Top Speed: 205mph
No list of obscure supercars would be complete without the Covini C6W, a mighty six-wheeled beast with a 4.2L Audi V8 sending all of its 500 horses to the rear. By gaining two additional contact points and an extra set of brakes, it was thought that the C6W would be able to corner at far higher speeds, grip better in wet conditions, and be able to stop that more effectively. To put it another way — Covini effectively set out to build the safest supercar on the market.
Top Speed: 185mph
Amongst a long list of other ambitious British supercar startups, you’ll find Devon and its GTX. Originally unveiled at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the GTX was to begin production in 2010 following a bid for the fourth-gen Dodge Viper design. Despite Devon Motorworks being the only bidder, Chrysler rejected the offer and decided to discontinue the car altogether. Without a platform for its production basis, the GTX was ultimately canned; were it to have been built, it would have worn a body made completely of carbon fiber and used an 8.4L V10 making 650hp.
Top Speed: N/A
When most people think of 70s-era wedge cars, their mind immediately goes to such famed Italian offerings as the Ferrari Modulo, the Lamborghini Countach, or the Lancia Stratos. And it’s for good reason — it’s not every day that Japan decides to take on Italy’s design prowess. Nevertheless, Dome was one such manufacturer and its eye-catching Zero concept car could really have put the Island Nation on the supercar map. Under the hood, power was modest when compared to its contemporaries — just 145hp from its Nissan L28 inline-six. However, because of its low weight (an even ton), five-speed manual, and approachable $60,000 price point, it was the ultimate driver’s car.
Top Speed: 140mph
Equus Bass 770
With its timeless muscle-inspired aesthetic, the Bass 770 is a supercar perfect for those looking to stoke their nostalgia for 60s Americana. But just because it may resemble a restomodded Mustang or Charger at first glance, don’t be quick to assume that it doesn’t bring some modern performance to back it. On the contrary — dig a little deeper and you’ll find that it touts some serious 21st-century tech, including a 6.2L supercharged pulled from a C6 ZR1, a magnetic suspension setup, as well as some Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes at all four wheels. Sure, it might not look like your typical exotic, but a 3.4s 0-60mph time and a 200mph top speed say otherwise.
Top Speed: 200mph
Like many other aspiring supercar manufacturers, the Gigliato Design Co. realized that it needed someone with some skin in the game in order to make its dreams become a reality. As such, after the car’s design was penned in Japan, its engineering was farmed out to Lamborghini, and its distribution headquarters were slated for Düsseldorf, Germany. And that’s not all — beneath its striking exterior, it hid an American powerplant in the form of a 4.6L Mustang-derived V8. At just $65,000, what’s not to like?
Top Speed: 160mph
Isdera Commendatore 112i
With a name like the Commendatore 112i (it’s an homage to Enzo Ferrari and his title of honor), Isdera better have been able to deliver when it comes to the rest of the car. In short: they have. From its 6.0L Mercedes-Benz M120 V12 to its beautifully handcrafted bodywork, the Commendatore 112i doesn’t just live up to its namesake — it exceeds expectation. And when you consider what it translates to in terms of performance — a 4.7s 0-60mph time and a 212mph top speed — it just goes to show that lesser-known supercar manufacturers can keep up with the big boys.
Top Speed: 212mph
The Kodiak F1 was the brainchild of Mladen Mitrovic, a Serbian business owner who headed an aftermarket parts outfit named Speed & Sport. Although the car never made it beyond the prototype stages, it was an incredible effort in its own right. For instance, under the hood, it featured a 5.7L Chevy small-block V8 from a Corvette producing 320hp. Add to that a ZF manual gearbox, a set of Brembo Brakes, and some Koni Shocks, and you have all the makings of a proper supercar. Unfortunately, its $117,000 asking price proved a bit too steep.
Top Speed: 142mph
The Laraki Fulgura is Africa’s first and only supercar. Designed in Morocco, it borrowed a lot of its platform from the Diablo, including both the frame as well as many of its mechanical components. In concept the Fulgra was to come with a 920hp quad-turbo Mercedes-Benz 6.0L V12; however, in practice the car actually “only” made 730hp. That being said, in combination with a seven-speed gearbox and an aerodynamic carbon fiber body, it was enough for Laraki to make it go 0-60mph in just 3.4s before hitting its 217mph top speed.
Top Speed: 217mph
While most people probably haven’t heard of Lotec, the company has actually been building race cars for a lot longer than you’d expect — since 1962, in fact. Even still, it wasn’t until 1990 when an oil baron commissioned a supercar that Lotec got to take its expertise to the street. What resulted was the Sirius, a car that made 1,000hp from its Mercedes-Benz-borrowed V12 and even up to 1,200hp depending on the tuning. At $385,000, it proved quite the pretty penny, but that’s 244mph costs back in the early 2,000s.
Top Speed: 244mph
Panoz Automotive Development is a Georgia-based automaker that was founded in 1989 by Dan Panoz. Like many of their road-going cars, the Abruzzi was heavily inspired by such race-ready vehicles as the Panoz LMP and GTR-1 of old. As such, it comes with performance provisions in spades, including a construction made from a composite know as Recyclable Energy Absorbing Matrix System (REAMS), a rear transaxle, as well as a ‘trifecta’ cooling system. Backing up its interesting looks is a 6.2L LS3 V8 that made 650hp and 590lb-ft of torque.
Top Speed: 205mph
Spania GTA Spano
Having spent 20 years racing with the Spania GTA Competición team, Domingo Ochoa decided in 2004 that he wanted to build a car of his own. Enter the Spano, a 925hp Viper V10-engined monster and one of Spain’s finest examples of what a supercar can be. Around the exterior, it features unique aerodynamic design elements like integrated door air intakes and badge-enabled access (meaning no traditional handles). What’s more, it offered some pretty cutting-edge innovations at the time of its debut, including a liquid crystal shading system and an aerospace-sourced Chassis made from carbon fiber, graphene, titanium, and kevlar.
Top Speed: 230mph
Although most supercars are high-maintenance gas-guzzling dinosaurs, Trident’s Magna is an exception to the rule. That’s because it was based around a 6.6L diesel V8, an engine that was supposed to offer in excess of 50mpg at 70mph speeds, up to 1,500 miles of driving on a single tank, and 100,000 miles between services. But don’t confuse the Magna for some token eco-friendly effort — it packed some serious performance too. With up to 660hp and 1050lb-ft of torque on tap, it could sprint to 60mph in 2.9s before topping out around 190mph.
Top Speed: 190mph
If you’re particularly well-endowed where height is concerned, the Nemesis is the ride for you. With enough legroom to fit drivers up to seven feet tall (and some space in the back for their golf clubs), it offers a welcome departure from the cramped conditions prototypical of most supercars on the market. Under the hood, Trion talks some pretty big game. Powered by a 2,000hp twin-turbo V8, it’s supposedly capable of exceeding 270mph and doing 0-60mph in a blistering 2.8s.
Top Speed: 270+mph
Admittedly, many lesser-known supercars never make it because of their questionable design decisions and ambitious performance claims. However, the Sarthe isn’t some obscure aspirational effort — it’s just built in incredibly low volumes. With five to six cars slated for assembly during the first year production (2015) and a maximum 12-vehicle maximum output in the years following, it’s a decidedly exclusive take on the classic supercar formula. Inspired by the analog models of the 80s, it’s intended to offer both an unadulterated driver-oriented interior as well as uncompromising on-road performance.
Top Speed: 210mph
W Motors Fenyr SuperSport
W Motors first found commercial success when the Lykan Hypersport made it big time and featured on the silver screen during Furious 7. Not one to be complacent, the Lebanese supercar company then redoubled its efforts and revised its formula in order to bring about the Fenyr. As a follow-up model to the Lykan Hypersport, it’s better in every way, boasting not just more power (800hp up from 780hp) but also improved aerodynamics and track capabilities. Given that it can do 0-60mph in 2.8s and nearly 250mph, there’s something apt about naming it after Fenrir, the Norse god of war.
Top Speed: 249mph
What’s The Difference: Hypercar vs. Supercar
Admittedly, when it comes time to discussing high-performance automotive creations, there are plenty of semantics in play. If you’re looking to set the record straight once and for all, be sure to check out our guide to the differences between a hypercar and a supercar.
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