10 Most Forgotten and Obscured Supercars Ever Produced Part II
I dare you to recognize at least three without googling them out first!
It’s been a while since we compiled the first list of forgotten and obscured supercars. There is no time like the present, so now we’re continuing where we’ve left off back then. Yet again, we’ll be taking you on a nostalgic journey riddled with underrated supercars. Supercars that likely deserved better than being called upon only when talking about flops, forgotten and/or obscured. Yet, they ended up in automotive history’s lost pages. Whether for being sub par in terms of quality, introduced at the wrong time, or simply strangled by competition, they never materialized as true-blooded supercars that caught imagination of majority of car enthusiasts.
This doesn’t mean all of these suffered from lack of quality, though. Many a good car suffered oblivious fate, including supercars. Although history seems to have decided that instead of us, sometimes the history’s simply wrong. Following 10 forgotten and obscured supercars surely deserved better than what they ultimately ended up with. Then again, maybe some of them really were POS. Decide for yourselves after taking a look at these supercars you’ve likely never seen before. Oh, and yet again, no concepts and one-offs. Let’s play it by the book, shall we?!
Isdera Commendatore 112i
Everything ever produced by Isdera is obscured. That’s how boutique German automaker works apparently. Yet, Commendatore 112i first introduced in 1993 is as obscured as supercar can get. It started as a one-off project which took 6 years and roughly $4 million to complete. The end result, however, was well worth it. With Mercedes-Benz 6.0L V12 at rear midsection, Commendatore developed 408 horsepower. Enough for 0 to 60 in 4.7 seconds and top speed of 213 mph. But it wasn’t performance that raised the most eyebrows here. It was the styling. Deep air intakes, long rear end, periscope style rearview mirror, and gullwing doors which opened together with the engine bay, were never seen prior to Commendatore 112i’s introduction.
“Knight Commander,” translated from Italian, never made serial production. Isdera soon went bankrupt, and was sold to Swiss investors who preferred to conduct their business behind closed doors. They did make another Commendatore with improved performance, however. Isdera Commendatore 112i Silver Arrow was completed in 1999, and it came with 6.9L V12 mill this time. The output rose considerably, to 611 horsepower. So did the top speed which now maxed out at 230 mph. New owners tried selling it on eBay for $3 million in 2005, but no one was willing to buy it. Where these supercar unicorns are nowadays, only their Swiss owners know. Isdera prefers seclusion, but they do appear to get out for some fresh air once in a blue moon. Maybe then we’ll find out.
Yamaha is one of the most versatile Japanese companies. They have their fingers in many spheres of life, producing high quality motorcycles, guitars, keyboards, electronics, and occasional car in the process. When they started supplying engines for Formula 1 in 1989, Japanese used that momentum in order to develop their own supercar. A supercar that would be powered by the same 3.5L V12 OX99 engine found in Zakspeed and Brabham F1 cars. International Automotive Design was supposed to be behind the supercar’s design, but British only supplied three cars by 1992. IAD and Yamaha relationship wasn’t really made in heaven, so Japanese decided to continue with in-house development from there, in order to cut down the costs.
Yamaha’s Ypsilon Technology, however, wasn’t able to meet the 6 month deadline and the project was delayed. With Japan in financial crisis at the time, OX99-11 was finally cancelled in 1994. Final number of completed cars remained at three (built by IAD). Blue, red and yellow prototype, all developed 400 horsepower and featured unorthodox design. 1+1 seater only had one canopy door and cockpit style roof. But it was fast as hell. Yamaha OX99-11 maxed out at 217 mph while hitting 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds. It’s still doing that in parallel universe where Yamaha actually proceeded marketing their $1 million offspring.
Monteverdi Hai 450 SS
If you think you’ve seen it all, here’s the Mopar-powered supercar you’ve probably never heard about. 1970 Monteverdi Hai 450 SS was designed in true supercar fashion and sports mid engine layout. This position is occupied by none other than iconic 426ci Hemi Elephant V8. Name was derived from German word for shark (hai) and supercar’s total power output of 450 metric horsepower. This Swiss masterpiece stood shoulder to shoulder with Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Maseratis of its time. Former Ferrari employee Peter Monteverdi, however, failed to market the car in the end. After completing another specimen with slightly longer wheelbase and 440ci Super Commando V8 – 1973 Monteverdi Hai 450 GTS – boutique automaker ceased further production. Two additional cars would be built from spare parts in early nineties, and currently reside in the official Monteverdi Museum in Basel-Binningen, alongside the GTS.
First Hai 450 SS, however, was sold at one point in 1971. Back then, Monteverdi put the $27,000 sticker on it and supercar changed hands multiple times before finally being restored to its original “Purple Smoke” condition. It was eventually sold again for $577,000 in 2012. Although precious few of us are in possession of that kind of spare cash, that was actually a bargain. For a car that used to cost as much as 7 Hemi ‘Cudas back in the day, being sold for much less than what one rare ‘Cuda is worth today has to be considered a bargain. Plus, it’s practically a one-off.
Although they don’t have that much in common, Mosler MT900 is regarded as Consulier’s successor. After all, it was MT900’s introduction in 2001 that finally forced oddball Consulier (then called Raptor) into retirement after 15 turbulent years. And MT900 is arguably Mosler Automotive’s most stable supercar considering all the aspects of production, sales and performance. One thing was shared between the two distant relatives, however. The GM V8 engine. When Initial MT900 came out in 2001, it started off with 5.7L LS1 V8 making 350 hp and corresponding amount of torque. It was good enough for 0 to 60 in 3.5 seconds and cost exactly $163,840, but only a dozen or so have ever been produced.
There were also the MT900R and MT900S; both with upgraded performance. Former was a racing only car weighing only 2,250 pounds which had found its way to some 30 new owners. Latter, however, was the evolution of the initial offering. In 2006, it developed north of 405 horsepower thanks to Corvette’s LS6 V8. Supercharged version of MT900S generated as much as 600 ponies, however. The upgrade was reflected in 0 to 60 time of just 3.1 seconds. The price also soared, but not by that much. MT900S was available for $190,500. Only 20 or so have been produced, though.
Last but not the least, Mosler ultimately offered MT900S Photon or MT900SP if you will. One was built in 2003, and another was commissioned in 2010. They are currently limited to one model per year with the price being just shy of $480,000. LS7 V8 motivating it, is tuned to 535 horsepower, which together with light carbon fiber frame, allows MT900SP to max out north of 200 mph. It can also reach 60 mph from standstill in less than 3 seconds. Although all they ever did was producing obscured supercars, Mosler still perseveres heroically. After all, Warren Mosler is one gifted engineer with ample means to fund his automotive endeavors.
Noble M600 is one of the last remaining old school supercars today. A dying breed with mid-engined, rear-wheel drive setup powered by 4.4L twin turbo V8. And not just any twin turbo V8. Noblest of Nobles comes with Yamaha-sourced code name B8444S engine built for Volvos between 2005 and 2010. This allows for abundance of horsepower and British company offers no less than 3 different setups. Road cars pack 450 horsepower, track setting raises 550 ponies, and racing M600 develops as much as 600 horses. At least that was the case during M600’s early years (2010 – onward).
As of 2015, company also offers M600 Speedster; roofless supercar with 650 horsepower on tap. In truth, however, every Noble M600 can offer the same output as the Speedster. What’s so great about them is the fact that they start in 450-hp form and shapeshift into 650-hp beast in an instant with the single push of the button. Moreover, they cost less than corresponding Ferraris and Lamborghinis. At around $250,000 for coupe and $300,000 for Speedster, you get one of the most unfairly obscured supercars capable of hitting 225 mph and 60 mph in 3 seconds flat. And if all that doesn’t make M600 one of the coolest supercars of our time, I don’t know what does.
Numerous former drivers often stay in the business by building their own sports car after their career has come to an end. Sadly, most of them only succeed in creating obscured supercars that never bring any real profit. Such was the case with Vern Schuppan, 24 Hours of Le Mans winner for 1983, onboard a Porsche 956. Schuppan 962CR was completed in 1994 thanks to Japanese financial backing. Based on Porsche 962 endurance racer, Schuppan’s supercar was built to commemorate his victories at Le Mans and in All Japan Sports Prototype Championship in 1983.
Only 6 cars are believed to have been produced. All were equipped with Porsche’s 3.3L twin turbo flat-six mill generating 600 horsepower. Three are currently in Japan, one in the US, and last car’s whereabouts are unknown. Sixth and final example was destroyed in fire some time ago. Although mostly forgotten now, Schuppan 962CR was a relative success, financially speaking. All six units were sold for around $1.5 million, which was their price back then. That certainly wasn’t an easy task. However, two of Japanese customers failed to meet the payment deadlines which forced Vern Schuppan to declare bankruptcy and fold his car company. Now, this sounds more like a boutique supercar manufacturer’s daily routine, sadly.
Hofstetter Turbo was born out of turmoil. Turmoil being the high taxes for exotic imports in Brazil, back in eighties. This opened up a window for domestic carmakers and Mario Richard Hofstetter took the opportunity that was presented. He devised a prototype wedge supercar in 1980 based on Gandini’s Alfa Romeo Carabo. It took him four more years of preparation, but production finally started in 1984. Hofstetter planned producing 30 cars a year, but in the end, they only made 18. In total!
Although Brazilian, Hofstetter sounds awfully Germanic-like. Apart from the fact Mario actually had German roots, his cars were powered by Volkswagen engines. The only non-supercar part of this forgotten supercar was its heart. Brazil-only 1.8L 4-cylinder was good enough for about 140 horsepower. That was rectified by introducing 2.0L Garrett turbocharged four in 1988. This new unit raised the output to 210 ponies. Still, though, Hofstetter Turbo lacked any true supercar’s performance.
Then again, this Brazilian wedge had pretty much everything else. Apart from one of the most iconic shapes, it also offered gullwing doors, mid-engined setup, rear-wheel drive, plushy interior stacked with suede leather, and digital gauges all over the dash. If you figure out how to import one, let me know.
I said no one-offs which makes Devon GTX perfectly fine candidate for this list with as much as two units completed. Scott Devon founded Devon Motorworks in 2008 and tried to buy the rights for using Dodge Viper platform prior to sports car’s first discontinuation in 2010. Chrysler, however, rejected his proposal and Devon Motorworks were forced to close their doors. Not before they built those two GTX’s, however.
Devon GTX came in what has to be considered a fine moment for now-defunct company. GTX’s role model Viper was axed, and it could have continued where its spiritual predecessor left off. But it simply wasn’t to be. Now’s also a great moment in theory, but who would buy a V10 car without Viper’s renown these days? And that’s exactly what Devon GTX had. 8.4L V10 packing some serious heat. It delivered 650 horsepower which was 50 ponies more than Viper had back then.
Devon also featured expensive, aircraft quality carbon fiber body and “up and forward” articulating doors which clearly slotted it in the supercar category. Apart from licensing issues, GTX’s main problem was the price. It was supposed to cost around $500,000 which was roughly five and a half times more than the Viper. It was almost impossible to justify such an exuberant sticker, especially when similar car had already proved things don’t necessarily have to be that expensive.
Centenaire was marketed by Monte Carlo Automobile in order to commemorate 100 year anniversary of the Automobile Club of Monaco. Supercar game was changed considerably in early nineties due to newfound global financial situation, hence only 5 units were completed between 1990 and 1992. Thing is, MCA’s founder Fulvio Maria Ballabio started the project five years before with the help of Formula 1 designer Guglielmo Bellasi. He couldn’t have expected demand for supercars would take such a hit, back then.
Anyway, fully carbon fiber-built Centenaire powered by Lamborghini V12 was still lucrative enough for one wealthy Georgian businessman (country on Caucasus; not a US state) to buy the company out. He renamed Centenaire to MIG M100 (with MIG standing for Migrelia & Georgia), and entered the Le Mans race. After failing to qualify, MIG M100 was never seen again. Instead, Aixam-Mega bought the project and renamed it to Monte Carlo. They also replaced Lambo’s V12 with Mercedes-Benz unit of corresponding number of cylinders. Mega Monte Carlo now developed 495 horsepower thanks to 6.0L V12 and ZF 6-speed manual trans. French company also had Le Mans in their sights, but failed to homologate the car. Exact production figures since Aixam-Mega took over are unknown, but production finally ceased in 1999 ending the Centenaire as we knew it.
Although established a long time ago, in 1962, Lotec only built their first production vehicle in 2004. It was the Sirius, as you can imagine. And it was a supercar. In fact, it still is. After a redesign in 2009, Lotec Sirius isn’t showing any signs of stopping. You’re welcome to try and dig out any precise production numbers, but judging by Lotec’s nature of small sports car manufacturer, they’re rather low.
Sirius is powered by the same Mercedes-Benz 6.0L V12 at one point found in Pagani Zonda. Mercedes mill, coupled with dual KKK turbochargers, was enough for Sirius to deliver 850 horsepower. I say “was,” because they’ve apparently moved on from such conservative practice. These days, Lotec Sirius delivers either 1,000 horsepower with 12.33 psi (0.85 Bar) of boost or 1,200 ponies with 17.4 psi (1.2 Bar) of pressure. That actually puts Sirius among the top players in the game with Bugatti, Koenigsegg and co. Lotec states SIrius can max out at 249 mph in its top form.
Why is Sirius among obscured supercars with the specs like that? Beats me. It’s probably down to their marketing strategy or lack of one thereof. Then again, maybe it’s their name. Lotec sounds awfully close to low tech. In fact, company even made a slogan out of it: “High tech from Lotec.” If that isn’t desperate, I don’t know what is! Then again, it’s also funny way of being desperate. Who said that Germans don’t have the sense of humor?!
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