Supercars. The term means different things to different people, and there’s no clear definition of what makes a supercar… well… super. It might mean cars that are limited editions or one-offs. It could also refer to anything that’s fast and expensive. It possibly could also include regular cars that have been modified for performance, though that’s controversial.
Supercars should be art. They should represent the best the automaker can offer. And ideally, they should be driven only by the elite few (let’s face it—if there were as many Zondas on the road as there are Honda Civics, you’d be a lot less impressed by them). The Bugatti Veyron, the McLaren 675LT, the Koenigsegg Agera R—these are among the undisputed members of the club, the “I know it when I see it” supercars.
But what about the supercars that aren’t so obvious? Clearly, if automakers are pulling out all the stops and trying new technologies, not all their efforts are going to be roaring successes. Some might even be complete dumpster fires. And as beautiful as the Hennessey Venom GT is, the dumpster fires are often a lot more interesting.
So cue up the Spice Girls and grab your pager, because we’re going back in time. Here are 20 supercars from the 1990s their makers want us to forget.
20. VECTOR M12
If right now you’re saying, “Hey, that kind of looks like a Lamborghini,” you’re absolutely correct. The M12 was a handbuilt car manufactured from 1995-1999 by California-based Vector Motors. Only 17 were produced. The M12 was a bit of a Lamborghini Diablo wannabe since it was made using the Diablo’s engine and chassis (albeit modified). This gave it Lambo-like numbers on paper (492 hp and 428 ft-lb of torque), but the reality was a little less dashing.
The M12 was designed to be a more “road-friendly” version of the AWX-3, a Vector racing prototype. I don’t know what “road-friendly” means to you, but to Vector, it apparently meant a car that could get UP TO 13 mpg. Add to that a cheap fiberglass body, and the M12 was a disappointment on all fronts.
19. ASTON MARTIN VIRAGE VOLANTE
Thanks to their role as the car of choice for 007 in 12 different James Bond films, Aston Martins have a reputation for quality, innovation, technology, and luxury. But every family tree has a few bad apples.
When it was first introduced in 1993, the V-8 Virage Vantage was marketed as Aston Martin’s top model. With a top speed of 186 mph and a 0-60 time of 4.6 seconds, its performance was well below other supercars of the era (for example, consider the 1995 Ford GT90’s 235 mph capabilities). But it’s not all about speed, right?
Actually, speed might be the only thing going for it. Turns out the Virage Vantage was a Frankenstein. It was comprised of cheap parts from more everyday brands, such as Volkswagen, Audi, Chrysler, and Ford. If this is Aston Martin’s top model, I’d hate to see the bargain model.