Supercars represent the latest, often mind-blowing, state-of-the-art automotive technology. They are impossibly fast and very, very expensive. In short, the stuff that many dreams are made of! We all know the names of todays supercars, marques such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Bugatti, but there are some that aren’t as familar today. Let’s look at a few that should be part of any conversation concerning supercars.
At the 1988 British Motor Show, Jaguar unveiled a technologically advanced all-wheel drive 6.2-liter V12 mid-engined supercar called the XJ 220. According to Warren Henry Jaguar (Miami, FL), the XJ 220 was named as such because it was designed with a top speed of 220 mph. Not only that, it could do zero to 60 in a under 3.5 seconds. This was a true supercar. Due to a variety of factors, the Jaguar XJ 220 was made for just 3 years: 1992 to 1994.
Aston Martin One-77
Aston Martin has earned its reputation building some of the world’s greatest touring cars. As you likely know, James Bond drove one. But it had never competed in the supercar marketplace until the One-77 was built. Made from 2009 to 2012, the One-77 was named as such because Aston Martin built just 77 of them. The One-77 was powered by a outrageous 7.3 liter V12 engine rated at 750 horsepower. It could blast from zero to 60 in under 3.7 seconds. Each cost $1.4 million.
Mercedes-Benz SL 73 AMG
As a brand with a reputation for producing high-end luxury roadsters, few people know about AMG brand. AMG, the performance arm of Mercedes-Benz put an extremely potent 7.3L V12 engine in their top of the line SL and called it the SL 73. It was offered briefly in 1995 and then again from 1998 to 2001 for sale. The engine ended up being used by Pagani in the Zonda.
As only 300-odd cars through AMG exist, to buy one can pose something of a challenge. Due to ceased production and the relative rarity of these cars, the only way to own one is used.
Yes, “Honda” made a supercar. The NSX shocked the automotive world when it was unveiled at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show. With its stunning good looks, a mid-engined 270-hp V6 NSX was a serious supercar contender. It was so modern and powerful for its time that it ran with Ferrari and Lamborghini’s best for over 10 years. Still, the Honda-built NSX lacked the prestige of the Italian companies.
In the 1970s, businessman Gerald Wiegert sought to build a true supercar offering brute American horsepower. After a decade of raising funds and showing off his wildly-futuristic design, Wiegert’s car W8 was a mid-engined car was powered by a twin-turbocharged Chevrolet V8. With a carbon fiber body over an aluminum frame, it had the interior of a fighter jet, with banks of buttons and switches and a cathode-tube instrument panel giving real-time readouts on most parameters. Due to myriad issues, production ground to a halt in 1992 after just 22 cars had been built.
Designed in America and built in Italy around Ford’s 351 Cleveland V8, the DeTomaso Pantera was one of the first mid-engined supercars. Although not ultra-powerful with the stock motor, owners typically modified their Cleveland 351s to put out 400 to 500 HP. Did you say you want a supercar but funds are limited? Used Panteras (1971-1992) are available on the used car market for $10, 000 and up.