Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Bugatti - these supercar manufacturers have been household names for decades, and posters featuring their models have graced countless bedroom walls across the globe. Though these automakers boast a number of industry-defining models, it is just as important to appreciate manufacturers whose products may not have basked in the limelight for quite as long.
For when a secondhand C5 Corvette just doesn't quite fit the bill, supercars provide owners with something special; they are universally held as the pinnacle of the automotive craft, offering the ideal driving experience (or so their owners hope). For those with the means to possess such vehicles, owning a supercar that exists deep within the realm of obscurity might be just a bit more extraordinary. With that, here are ten glorious supercars that time (unfortunately) forgot.
10 Vector W8
The Vector W8 is the perfect foray into a list of underappreciated supercars. Produced briefly by American automaker Vector Aeromotive, the W8 is arguably the most '80s vehicle ever produced, evoking feelings of a Lamborghini Countach that earned its U.S. citizenship.
625 hp was delivered to the Vector's rear wheels via a 6.0 liter, twin-turbocharged V8 engine mated to a 3-speed transmission. This power plant provided the W8 with a teeth-gnashing 0-60 time of just 4.1 seconds, an impressive figure for the time period. Though fewer than 25 examples were ever sold from the factory, the Vector W8 was still painfully good, and those lucky enough to sit behind the wheel of one will likely refuse to drive anything else again.
9 Aixam Mega Track
Readers familiar with French automaker Aixam likely relate the brand's name to the fleet of microcars they have produced since the 1980s. In 1992, however, things took a turn for the ludicrous with the unveiling of the Mega Track, the world's first off-road supercar. The immense Mega Track had up to thirteen (yes, thirteen) inches of adjustable ground clearance, freeing it from minuscule road hazards that might have totaled a Lamborghini Diablo from the same era. Power was delivered to all four wheels by a Mercedes-sourced 6.0 liter V12 capable of 400 horsepower.
The Aixam Mega Track is, obviously, a rather unique supercar. Not only is it capable of getting its driver to their destination quickly and in style, but that location could very well be the middle of the forest and the Mega Track would not be deterred. Had Aixam produced more than just five units, the rally-racing capabilities of their single greatest creation could have been endless.
8 Mazda Furai
The story of the Mazda Furai is, sadly, a tragic one. Unveiled in 2007, the Mazda Furai was a one-off concept that poised Mazda for legendary Le Mans status similar to that of the Furai's predecessor, the famed 787B. As one might expect from Mazda, the Furai was fitted with a generously retrofitted Wankel rotary engine that loosely resembled its existing 3-rotor 20B platform. Weighing in at under 1,500 lbs. and spitting out approximately 450 hp, the Furai was destined for racing recognition.
That is, it should have achieved racing recognition. Unfortunately, while being tested for Top Gear, the fully-functional Mazda Furai concept burst into flames on the track and burned to the ground. The resulting wreckage was apparently unsalvageable, and Mazda did not elect to continue the project, depriving the public of a homologation model.
7 Pontiac Tojan
No, this is, in fact, not a third-generation Pontiac Firebird with abhorrent over-fenders. The 1986 Pontiac Tojan was a direct call-out to Ferrari, designed to compete just as well as the Italian automaker's comparable models for a fraction of the price.
The vast majority of the 150 units that Pontiac produced featured adapted versions of either a 5.0 or 5.7 liter V8, each sourced from the existing Pontiac line. The prototype, on the other hand, more than tripled the power output of the other options via a twin-turbocharged Banks V8 marine engine. Though the boat engine did not see its way into many models, the Pontiac Tojan still remains an unsung hero among American Supercars.
6 Mosler MT900S
The fact that a vehicle so well-engineered was manufactured so exclusively is something of a travesty. The immediate successor to the MT900 model, the Mosler MT900S was a supercar that wanted to be better than supercars. Power was delivered through an LS1 V8 engine derived from the Corvette Z06, which was capable of 405 horsepower in its naturally aspirated state. Mosler-equipped superchargers, however, were a badge of honor that forced the horsepower rating to around 600.
While these figures were nothing to laugh at, Mosler's ability to complete the entire package while weighing in at approximately 2,500 pounds was even more impressive. That power-to-weight ratio made it faster than comparable Ferrari models, and fully adjustable steering and suspension systems made it handle better, even devoid of a power steering option.
5 Cizeta-Moroder V16T
The Cizeta V16T was outlandish before its concept art was even drawn. As such, it's a perfect addition to this list. Famed engineer Claudio Zampolli sought to boldly go where no performance vehicle had gone before. His dream was fulfilled with the creation of the V16T, the world's first supercar equipped with a 16-cylinder engine, as the name implies.
Capable of 540 hp and 400 lb. ft. of torque, the engine was nothing short of a masterpiece. Zampolli's drive to ensure that every example was entirely hand-built made for an excellent product, albeit a slowly-produced one, making the V16T especially difficult to come by.
4 Nissan R390
The reason no one has ever seen a Nissan R390 on the street is, simply, because Nissan never wanted them to. In 1998, Nissan's performance division, NISMO, was in the process of building the R390 GT1 for competition in Le Mans racing. In accordance with racing regulations, they were required to assemble homologation models that were capable of operating in normal street conditions. Thus, enter the R390.
A 550 horsepower supercar from Japan might likely have been warmly received in 1998. Nissan, on the other hand, was more focused on exploiting a loophole to have their R390 GT1 approved. After building one single R390 homologation model, it was instantly hidden away in a Nissan warehouse, and no models were ever built for the public.
3 Lister Storm
Finally, a homologation model that both passed production and was sold to the public. The Lister Storm was built in 1993 to coincide with the Le Mans racer of the same name, and it certainly lived up to the pedigree.
Powered by a Jaguar V12, the Storm put 546 horsepower and nearly 600 pound-feet of torque to the pavement. According to Lister themselves, this was more than enough power to grant the Storm the title of "fastest four-seater car in the world" upon its release. Despite only selling four units to the public, the Lister Storm saw motorsport success and carved out its own small niche in history.
2 Gumpert Apollo
Admittedly, the Gumpert Apollo is likely the most recognizable (albeit strange-sounding) name on this list, as it was in production the most recently. Even still, talk of the all-around outstanding supercar has slowed almost entirely to a halt since the company's bankruptcy announcement in 2013.
The Apollo sought to truly push the limits of aggressiveness upon its first release in 2005. Up to 700 horsepower was available to buyers, provided by a twin-turbocharged version of Audi's tried-and-true 4.2 liter V8. Pair that with truly unique styling, and one would assume the Apollo achieved success. Sadly, though, an impressive automobile such as this still could not resurrect a company without the money to continuously build it.
1 Covini C6W
The Covini C6W is, arguably, the most outlandish performance car that man has ever dared to manufacture. Interestingly, it was produced with a naturally-aspirated version of the same 4.2 liter Audi V8 featured in the Gumpert Apollo (in addition to a slew of other models).
The 434 hp/350 lb. ft. of torque attributes attached to the C6W are almost sedating compared to its potential handling prowess. Few, if any, of these cars have been pushed to the limits in a track setting, but the fact that the C6W has more road contact and braking surface areas than any other supercar cannot be ignored. Maybe, just maybe, the everyday car buyer will eventually be able to put this theory to the test.