Say the word “supercar” to a gearhead, and the chances are you will see their eyes glaze over as they start to dream of having their very own collection of Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche, and Bugatti cars. However, not every supercar really is that super, and some seem to have been given the name under false pretenses; not that this has stopped serious collectors from hunting them down to make sure they have one of these vehicles in their garage.
Some of the biggest car collections in the world are blessed with many of the greatest cars ever made, including the Sultan of Brunei, whose own collection numbers more than 5,000 vehicles, including 300 Ferraris and 600 Rolls Royces! Even Jay Leno’s much more modest car collection contains a few gems, such as an Ariel Atom, one of the fastest accelerating cars in the world, and a McLaren P1, the first ever hybrid supercar.
If you have ambitions to start your own car collection, then you probably have a few dream cars that you already have on your wish list. It is equally important, however, that anyone with money to burn on a few supercars for their garage doesn’t get talked into buying a vehicle just because it is unusual.
The cars on this list may be innovative creations, but they are anything but supercars, and car collectors should steer well clear.
The DMC DeLorean may now be a cult classic, thanks to its starring role in the Back to the Future trilogy, but that doesn’t make it a great addition to a car collection. Even Marty McFly, played by Michael J.Fox, is incredulous that inventor Doc Brown has chosen to make his time machine out of a DeLorean.
With its vertical-lift doors, and futuristic design – in the 80s, at least – the DeLorean may have looked like a supercar, but its performance let it down badly, and it struggled to go from 0 to 60mph in less than 10 seconds.
The Czech Republic isn’t noted as a great car-building nation. This is the country, after all, which brought us the Skoda, the butt of many motoring jokes in Europe in the 1980s and 1990s. The region is also home to another automotive company, Tatra, the second oldest car manufacturer in the world, and in 1991 they created their very own “supercar”, the MVX Tatra.
Only four were ever made, which explains why some collectors might get excited on the rare occasion one comes on the market, but the MVX makes it easy to see why Tatra was not famed for their stylish automotive design.
Surely any car collector should be proud to have any Lamborghini in his collection? Well, within reason, yes, but there is little doubt that when it comes to Lamborghinis, some are more equal than others! The 1980 Lamborghini Countach was a highly desirable set of wheels in its day, but it just looks outdated when you compare to some of the 21st-century supercars.
All those straight lines and hard edges make the Countach look as though it has driven straight off the set of an 80s movie – probably by the bad guy. If you’re going to buy a Countach, don’t go retro.
Likewise, when it comes to supercar shopping lists, Ferrari is going to pretty near the top along with their fellow Italian automotive rival. But like the Lamborghini Countach, not all Ferraris have stood the test of time. The Ferrari F40, for example, was created to celebrate the company’s 40th birthday in 1987, and one model owned by Formula One star Nigel Mansell was sold for $1 million – a record which stood until the 2010s.
But the hefty price tag is not the only reason you should steer clear of this commemorative car; it also looks rather bulky for a Ferrari and seems to be missing some of that style which makes other Ferraris so eye-catching.
The Mitsuoka Orochi may be a 21st-century supercar, but there are still plenty of reasons that motorists with money to burn should resist having one these vehicles in their collection. The Orochi, which gets its name from an eight-headed dragon, has a rather unusual look, and while it may appeal to some, real car collectors always have their eye on the resale value and the possibility of profit.
Developed as a concept car in 2001, the first of a limited run of 400 Mitsuoka Orochi models went on sale in 2007, and immediately faced poor reviews for its lack of power.
If there is one decade noted for having poorer taste than the 1980s, then it’s the 1990s – just when our next supercar was launched on an unsuspecting market. Another rarity – only 17 Vector M12 models were ever made by US company Vector Automotive – it is easy to understand why collectors might think that this eccentric car would make an unusual addition to their collection.
Its design may look a little out-dated now, but it was right on fleek in the 90s, and it even boasted some impressive performance stats. However, much of the Vector M12’s bodywork was made with cheap fiberglass, which was more easily damaged, and hardly lived up to supercar specifications.
There is only one good reason for any car collector worth his or her salt to have a Panther 6 in their garage – and that is for the sheer novelty of having a six-wheeled “supercar” in their possession.
Yes, the company Panther who made the unusual vehicle decided that one way to make their 1977 creation stand out from the crowd was to give it six wheels; an idea that didn’t take off then, and which has failed to make an impact on the motoring world ever since. Only two models were ever made, which does at least give the Panther 6 some rarity value, but it has little else to offer.
One thing which the Venturi Atlantique 260 has going for it, is that at least its name makes it sound like a supercar! However, this is where its supercar credentials end, as the French car is another 1990s vehicle made from cheap fiberglass, probably in a misguided attempt to make it lighter and therefore faster.
Sadly, this tactic completely failed, leaving the Atlantique and its V6 engine trailing behind even saloons and executive cars with a top speed of just 167mph. In the end, only 700 models were ever sold, though it did attract a ringing endorsement from Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear fame.
Lotus is one of the best-known names in motoring, as much for their successes in Formula One motor racing as for their stylish and sophisticated supercars. Collectors can often be guilty of handing over their cash as soon as a dealer simply mentions an exclusive name like “Lotus” but not all their cars are collectibles.
The Lotus Evora, for example, is a classy little roadster, with a reasonable V6 engine; nothing to write home about, but nothing much to complain about either. Until you realize that prices for this particular Lotus don’t start until you hit the $110,000 mark.
When it was launched back in 2008 by Swiss company Weber Sportcars, the Weber Faster One was billed as the fastest street-legal car in the world, promising top speeds of over 200mph thanks to its 900hp V8 engine. The plan was for the Weber Faster One to unseat the Bugatti Veyron as the car of choice for car collectors with a need for speed – though with a price tag of $1.6 million it was always going to be well out of reach for most gearheads.
While the Weber may have been engineered and designed for speed, it simply couldn’t compete with Bugatti when it came to sheer style, and the car never really took off in the same way as the current king of the supercars.
Maserati makes up the holy triumvirate of the great classic supercar manufacturers, along with the better-known names of Ferrari and Lamborghini. As we have already seen from the Ferrari and Lamborghini cars on this list, even the greatest auto companies don’t always get it right, and perhaps the greatest problem with the MC12 was that it borrowed so heavily from a Ferrari design, without ever making any real improvements on the original.
If you’re going to buy a Ferrari knock-off, you at least want it to be faster or cheaper, and the limited edition Maserati MC12 was neither of these things.
From well-established automotive names to a car that only real motoring aficionados will have heard of, let actually alone have one in their collection, the Cizeta-Moroder V16T. Only 20 of these vehicles were produced in the initial run, between 1991 and 1995, though from 2006 onwards new models were once again available, but only on a built-to-order basis at a cost of $650,000.
Despite being designed by the legendary Marcello Gandini and engineered by Claudio Zampolli, the Cizeta failed to make a dent on the supercar market – and the involvement of 80s synth-pop star Giorgio Moroder in the venture was just bizarre!
The Hofstetter Turbo is another of those cars that only real gearheads will have heard of – although they will also know that despite its striking name and its equally striking appearance, this is one vehicle that isn’t worth including in your car collection. The Hofstetter, named after its creator Mario Hofstetter, was another of those cheap fiberglass 1980s supercars, and even the always misguided decision to tack on a couple of gullwing doors couldn’t save this less-than-supercar.
Only 18 were ever made, however, so you’re unlikely to be able to track one down even if you are one of the few gearheads who like the design.
Like the awkward Panther 6 from earlier in this list, the Covini C6W was another six-wheeled supercar; although the Covini at least managed to incorporate what is effectively a publicity stunt for the manufacturer into an aesthetically pleasing design. There seems to be no practical reason for six wheels – the Covini was certainly no faster than its four-wheeled competitors – which means that collectors will often find themselves paying well over the odds for a couple of extra wheels.
Technically, the Covini C6W, which was launched in 2004, is still available to buy from the manufacturer – but only for the right price!
These days, BMW are known as the masters of the luxury car, creating vehicles that both look good and perform well. They have discovered what they do well, and know that their best option is to stay in their lane. Back in the late 1970s, however, BMW had the crazy idea of producing their own take on a supercar, and the result was the bad looking BMW M1.
A joint venture between BMW and Lamborghini, the M1 didn’t show off the best of either company, and only 453 were made before they cut their losses and brought production to an end in 1981.
Car collections, generally, are the domain of the rich and famous, but even ordinary, everyday motoring aficionados can get started on their own car collection if they buy the right vehicles, at the right time. While it can be difficult to predict which cars are going to become collectibles, there are some which are so widely admired that it is obvious they are never going to go out of style – and the Dodge Viper SRT definitely fits into that category.
This is the racing version of the regular Dodge Viper sports car, and second-hand models can change hands for as little as $40,000.
It isn’t just new vehicles that gearheads should be looking out for when it comes to taking their first steps into car collecting. Sometimes, an under-appreciated vintage model comes back into fashion, allowing buyers to get themselves some great bargains – if they act before the sellers realize that they can inflate the price!
The so-called Fox-body Ford Mustangs, muscle cars built on the Ford Fox platform, were in production between 1978 and 1993, but it is vehicles from the late 70s and early 80s where some of the biggest bargains are to be found, especially if you are willing to spend some time and money on repairs.
When it comes to James Bond. 21st-century moviegoers have become used to seeing the British superspy driving Aston Martins. However, in the past 007 had a much more eclectic taste in cars, including a very stylish Lotus Esprit in The Spy Wo Loved Me from 1977.
While the chances of finding yourself a Lotus Esprit that doubles as a submarine are pretty slim, a few years ago you could pick up vintage models for around $20,000. While this is one car that has already begun to see an increase in prices, there is still a change for wannabe collectors to get in on the act.
Fiat may come from the same country as Ferrari and Lamborghini, but most of the cars made by the Turin-based auto firm tend to be cheap and cheerful, rather than stylish and sophisticated. The car manufacturer that created the Fiat Panda is unlikely to ever prove popular with mega-rich car enthusiasts!
And yet, the Fiat 124 Spider is a great budget option for anyone looking to start their own collection with a sporty European roadster. The original incarnation of the Fiat 124 Spider was in production between 1966 and 1985, and it is these cars which can be picked up second-hand for a decent price.
When it comes to picking the right time to buy the right car, remember that supercars and sports cars aren’t the only options available. There are some great vintage cars which are only going to go up in value, thanks to their quality and their increasing rarity. The original Land Rover Defender is about as far from a supercar as it is possible to get, but they still boast an iconic design and you can take them off-roading.
Plus, the higher-ups love Land Rovers so you would be in excellent company if you decided to splash the cash on a Defender to get your car collection up and running.
Sources - Odometer, Classic and Sports Car, Car Throttle, Auto Blog,