Supercars are fast, sleek, exotic and sexy. They (usually) personify the greatest, state of the art driving technology from around the world. Some of the greatest automotive design minds are making a living by taking the simple act of personal transportation and turning it into an exciting adventure. While most of us will never log many hours behind the wheel of a supercar, if you’re of a mind to do so, you can put a lot of your eggs in one basket and end up owning the supercar of your dreams.
But, before you start stashing away every dollar you can find, selling every piece of your life that has value and hunting for the perfect four-wheel fighter jet deal, you might want to comb this list of supercars gone wrong to make sure you’re not buying a dream that will become a nightmare. There’s not much worse than spending a great deal of time, money and effort to buy into something that ends up being one of the worst decisions of your life.
Now, if you are that person poised to take the pole position in the supercar purchase race of a lifetime, don’t forget to post pictures on social media and tag #HotCars so we can all share in your excitement. In the meantime, for the rest of us who just dream of such things, here’s the list of ones to avoid at any cost.
20 Devel-ishly fast
While it’s hard to knock the looks of this rocket ship on wheels, apparently that’s where the enjoyment of the Drake Devel ends. According to the folks over at TheDrive.com, “The Devel Sixteen debuted at the Dubai Motor Show with 5007 horsepower, twin-turbocharged V-16 engine, and an estimated top speed of 320 miles per hour. That all sounds awesome, but also scary to drive and insanely impractical, even by hypercar standards. We aren't certain how the car will be geared, but it sounds like one flex of the toe will thrust you into a wall at Mach 1.” The feeling of out of control is one thing, actually driving an uncontrollable car is quite another.
19 Weber: better stick to grillin’
Unlike the Drake Devel, the “Faster One” as the folks at Weber have dubbed it, looks more like a ride for a villain in the latest Batman animated TV show. From the borderline creepy front bumper and grille lines, to the “someone put an overexaggerated body kit on a Del Sol” paint job and lines, the Faster One might not impress the same crowd that the Ferrari F550 and Lamborghini Aventador appeal to. Over at Carthrottle.com, they seem to agree with this, “From a swiss watch maker, the Weber Faster One promises over 900 hp and over 200 mph. Of course, that hasn’t happened yet. It looks like a nightmarish Tim Burton interpretation of a BMW Z4. The horror!”
18 Navigating the wrong Vector
When you take a classic supercar, arguably one of the most popular in automotive history such as the Lamborghini Diablo and try to put your own spin on it, the fail-rate has to be pretty high.
Considering the price of admission for a Diablo is already cost prohibitive for most auto enthusiasts, tinkering with one and raising the price tag tightens your target audience even further.
Then when MSN points out things like, “Vector Motors hand-built the M12 in California from 1995 through 1998, using a Lamborghini Diablo engine and a lengthened Diablo chassis. With bones like that, the M12 should have been great, but the Vector suffered from a cheaply made fiberglass body, corner-cutting build quality and fuel economy of just 13 mpg,” you might as well throw in the towel.
17 Panthers have come a long way
While we’re not sure if it’s socially acceptable in this day and age to point out this thing is straight up ugly, we’ll go ahead and avoid actually stating that this ride is straight up ugly, but if we were confident we could say such things, in our opinion, pointing out this Panther is straight up ugly would be a statement reflective of the visual assault gazing on this gas guzzler presents to the senses. Did we point out it’s straight up ugly? Well, if we could, we would seriously consider saying that. But, chances are we wouldn’t need to since you’re already thinking the same thing.
16 McLaren Senna
If you’ve ever seen one of the Terminator movies, you probably recall scenes where the Terminator’s themselves have their human flesh peeled back from their faces and skulls in places, allowing the metal, hydraulics and circuitry show through.
That’s the same sort of visceral reaction many have when they look at the Mclaren Senna for the first time.
Over at the drive, they gave voice to this very concern, “[the Senna] puts form over function to make it an absolute monster on the track. It sacrifices horsepower (789 HP compared to the P1's 900) for aerodynamics, but why does it have to be so ugly?”
15 Aston Martin Virage
Somewhere between mid-70s Chrysler coupe and a 1985 Mercedes Benz SL lies the Aston Martin Virage. Not sure where the name came from? Maybe a mash-up of virtual and mirage, which is a bit of a mind bender, but also a good wordplay that could mean this is a fake of a fake supercar.
No matter what you call it, Aston Martin has put out much better offerings.
The folks at Cardriver agree, “Conceived in the booming mid-80s but released in the depression of the early 1990s, the Virage was average to drive, shoddily built and had headlights borrowed from an Audi 200.”
14 Mitsuoka Orochi
If you took an Acura NSX and decided it didn’t look enough like a school kid wanted to create a catfish transformed into a supercar, you might end up with the Orochi. The front end is downright creepy, looking like something that’s more suited to swallowing plankton than blacktop. MSN puts a fine point on it, “The Mitsuoka Orochi is named after an eight-headed, eight-tailed dragon from Japanese legend. But for this Orochi, the name is where any comparison to a legendary beast ends. Spoken bluntly, the Orochi is the ugliest supercar ever made.” Can’t say as we disagree with that assessment.
13 Apollo Intensa Emozione Hasn't Landed
Over at thedrive.com, their response to the Emozione is a bit of a mixed bag, “Sorry Lamborghini Aventador, the new Apollo Intensa Emozione is now the closest thing you can buy to the Batmobile, aside from the actual Batmobile itself.
Underneath all of the aggressive carbon fiber pieces is a 6.3-liter V-12 mated to a 6-speed sequential gearbox, keeping things nice and simple.
However, those aero bits help the Intensa Emozione generate 2,976 lbs of downforce–– that's 700 pounds more than the car weighs. It also sounds like an angry swarm of hornets.” While batmobile is a great descriptor for a supercar, the angry swarm of hornets is a certain deal-killer for most.
12 Maserati Missed the (Merak) Mark
When you think “supercar” you probably picture flying over the road at insane speeds. Well, if you happen to pick up a Maserati Merak, you should probably dial that dream back quite a bit – like below hopped-up Honda Civic standards. According to Jalopnik, the Merak is seriously underpowered, “You look at the Merak, and think yes, this must be a supercar! It's got crazy styling thanks to Giugiaro, a mid-engined layout and a trident up front. Unfortunately, later Meraks came with a 2.0-liter V6 producing 168 horsepower. It wasn't super.” The list of plane jane cars that exceed that horsepower rating would make a top 100 list…
11 No Big Red S for the Ferrari Mondial
Speaking of Jalopnik’s lack of love for not so supercars, they rated the Ferrari Mondial as the “least super supercar” with this bit, “Supercars are about unbridled panache, but even the best carmakers get the formula totally wrong.
It wasn't really slow, it wasn't really ugly, but it just wasn't super. Unsurprisingly, nobody bought any of them.
I actually like Venturis, but super they were not. Take all the weaknesses of the early injected 308 and put them in a bigger, heavier, instantly dateable shell. The nadir of Ferrari's production cars.” Talk about an anti-sales pitch, pretty sure you’re not ready to run out and buy one after reading that…
10 Just Say No To The Lamborghini Urraco
With a look that seemed more like someone was trying to ape the classic 1970s era Datsun 260Z, the Lamborghini Urraco had far more in common with an average production car than its brand mates such as the Diablo, Aventador and Huracan. Autozine detailed the history here, “The Urraco intended to be an entry-level Lamborghini.
Ferruccio wanted to sell 1,000 units of this car annually, far more than the one or two hundred cars Sant'Agata achieved so far.
Therefore it had to be cheaper to build and more practical to use yet preserve the exotic image of Lamborghini. Paolo Stanzani determined a mid-engined 2+2 layout would satisfy those requirements. He designed a compact all-aluminum V8, mated it in-line with a 5-speed gearbox and mounted them transversely between the rear wheels. To make that possible, he opted for space-saving MacPherson strut suspensions (sourced from Fiat). The whole chassis and body was steel monocoque in order to reduce assembly time and optimize interior space.”
9 Caparo T1 (Firestarter)
It’s easy to see how the Caparo T1 might fit right in with any super rich person’s collection of supercars. However, a word of caution to anyone who wants to ape Tony Stark and park them all inside an underground garage in your mansion: the T1 allegedly tends to burst into flames. Now, if you’re in Texas and need a car to help fire up the smoker, this might be a good thing, although all the plastic, fiberglass and carbon fiber will most likely give your brisket an unwanted smoked plastic flavor. But, to each his or her own…
8 Delorean – Back to the Past (to undo this design)
With the exception of Back to the Future, there’s really no context in which you can discuss the Delorean that results in any amount of cool validation. While John Delorean did bring us such amazing rides as the 1960s era Pontiac GTO and the original Firebirds and Trans Ams, he must have run out of talent when he decided to create his very own supercar. But, all hope is not lost. Maybe, Hollywood can do a remake of Back to the Future where Marty McFly goes back in time and stops Delorean from making this infamously awful supercar in the first place.
7 Fire the Consultant MOSLER CONSULIER GTP
Somewhere, stuffed inside a desk in a third-grade classroom, is race car drawing done by an eight-year-old that may have later been discovered and used as the basis for the Mosler Consulier GTP.
Examining the car from any angle brings back memories of a Simpsons episode when Homer Simpson was given the reigns of a new car design project.
“You can never find a horn when you want one! Put one here, here, here, here, here and here,” exclaimed Homer in a “eureka” moment of auto engineering gone wrong. Maybe Homer was the lead consultant on the Consulier?
6 The Inconvenient Truth: COVINI C6W
It’s a little unclear how any engineer could determine that having two sets of front wheels, steering linkages, gears and related equipment could possibly improve performance of any car meant to race on blacktop. Yet, it’s happened more than once. Carverse states, “Covini deserves some credit for attempting to bring back the Tyrrell’s P34 Formula One car from the late 1970s which is an odd 6-wheeled entity that placed on the podium 14 times. The P34’s 6 wheels are not meant to be driven on the streets. The strange proportions and scissor doors might attract a few curious eyes, but not really any admirers. The car is a V8, has a 6-speed manual transmission and a top speed of 186 mph.”
5 The Joke's On Jaguar - XJ220
Investing in a Jaguar is always a risky proposition. The old saying used to be “If you buy a Jaguar, you better have a spare to drive while the first is in the shop.” So, when they get into the supercar sweepstakes, watch out.
MSN details it as such, “Jaguar told prospective buyers of the XJ220 to expect a car much like the concept unveiled in 1988 — a svelte body draped over a roaring V12 engine mated to a sure-footed all-wheel-drive system. The premise had the automotive community buzzing and buyers lining up around the block. The attractive body remained, but the much-anticipated V12 was booted in favor of a V6 and rear-wheel drive. The result was a competent car whose sales crumbled under the weight of its expectations.”
4 TVR Sagaris – You Can’t Handle This
The Stig says it all, “Three little letters that encapsulate the absolute worst of vehicle design: T-V-R. They were all ghastly, unreliable and held together by craft glue but the standout cataclysm was the TVR Sagaris. It had no door handles. To open the door you pressed a button under the wing mirror and prayed the electrics worked, because on many TVRs they don't. The seating was invented by Houdini and changing gear required you to dislocate a shoulder. Meaningless quasi-aerodynamic features on the bodywork shook violently when you reached speed and that happened quickly. Zero to 100km/h took just 3.8 seconds.It had no ABS or traction control, which would normally attract my praise, but the handling was so beguiling. Human beings have an innate feel for cars, perhaps developed over thousands of years of balancing on horseback. In bends, the weight of the engine over the front wheels made it pitch insanely and I spun off countless times with no idea why. If this was the result with a so-called pro at the wheel, I pitied the man who polished it all week before going for a Sunday drive.”
3 What Do you Call a Racecar That Never Raced? BMW M1
It’s hard to use the term “legendary racecar” in a sentence when referring to a car that never actually raced anything. But, that didn’t stop the folks at MSN from stating the facts about the BMW M1, “BMW's M1 was the first in a long line of critically lauded and race-winning M cars. For that, we thank it.
But in addition to birthing a legendary sub-brand, the M1 was a legendary flop.
The car was designed to compete in touring car racing and was handed off for production. Lamborghini soon went under, tanking the project. BMW salvaged the project's scraps, but a rule changed barred the M1 from ever racing in the series it was designed to dominate.”
2 1992 Dodge Viper – Out of Control Much?
The term “sled” is never a good one when referring to any sort of performance car. In the late 90s, I had a customer at my shop who owned a 1992 Viper and had all the money he could possibly want to dump into modding it. Despite his best efforts, the thing never outran it’s “sled” description. If you had the pleasure of pointing it in a straight line, punching the accelerator and rocketing through the gears, it would nearly crush you into the seat as you approached escape velocity. But, if there was even so much as a slight curve in the road, warping the brake rotors in order to slow down enough to handle the corner without losing control, or missing the turn altogether, was inevitable.
1 Homogenized Ferrari – the California
If you took a supercar, then removed everything “super” about it, rounded off all the really cool, starship inspired aerodynamics, and added a healthy dose of yawn-inducing visual features, you’d invariably end up with a car just like the Ferrari California.
While the state of California has some of the greatest roads on earth for pushing a supercar to its limits, including the famous heart-stopping Mulholland Drive, the Ferrari of the same name is better suited for Rodeo Drive where looks are more important than anything and the only thing that needs to perform is someone’s American Express Black Card.
Sources: MSN.com, Cardriver.com, Jalopnik.com