Alfa Romeo Carabo: one of the ten landmark supercar concepts that never made it. Below is our selection, but would you add any others?

Alfa Romeo Carabo: one of the ten landmark supercar concepts that never made it. Below is our selection, but would you add any others?

The forgotten supercars

By Ben Oliver

29 July 2008 09:00

Nothing grabs the attention of a motor show crowd like a new supercar concept. Some are never intended for production; the world's greatest car designers love to let their imaginations run wild on one-off supercars whose cost and practicality just aren't important. But these concepts sometimes have a huge influence on the supercars we see on the road: key supercar cues like the wedge profile and scissor doors started out on concept cars, don't forget.

Other show-stopping supercars are intended for production but hit problems: they're too difficult or costly to make, or not enough buyers prepared to part with the huge sums required.

Here, we've assembled CAR's top ten supercars that never made it. But which would you add? Click 'Add your comment' at the foot of this page and tell us of your favourite forgotten supercars


 

Alfa Romeo Carabo

 

1968 Alfa Romeo Carabo

Bertone's concept car never saw production, but its radical wedge shape and dramatic scissor doors were a major influence on supercars to come, most obviously the '74 Countach and the big Lamborghinis that have succeeded it – right up to today's Murcielago

 

Maserati Boomerang

 

1971 Maserati Boomerang

Giorgetto Giugiaro's wedge-shaped supercar concept shocked when it first arrived at the '71 Turin show, but it influenced the angular look of supercars for two decades to come, and particularly Giugiaro's own Lotus Esprit. Only one running Boomerang was made; it used a Bora V8 and still exists

 

Aston Martin Bulldog

 

1979 Aston Martin Bulldog

Styled by William Towns, this was the pinnacle of the angular Seventies supercar, with its gullwing doors, ultra-low roofline (just 43 inches high) and twenty-first century features like the TV reversing aid. Claimed a 237mph top speed. Twenty-five were planned, but only one was ever made

 

Cizeta V16T

 

1989 Cizeta V16T

Outrageous Gandini styling, an Italian name and a sixteen-cylinder engine ought to have guaranteed the Cizeta success but recession killed it; only ten were ever made. CAR tested one; not as good as the F40, we thought, but that 540bhp engine was a magnificent achievement

 

Vector W8

 

1989 Vector W8

Gerald Wiegert's four-decade quest to build an American rival to Ferrari and Lamborghini has produced a lot of work for lawyers with a series of takeovers, insolvencies and legal disputes, but very few cars. Seventeen W8s were made with 625bhp, including one for Andre Agassi

 

BMW Nazca

 

1991 BMW Nazca C2

Another stillborn Giugiaro concept; this one should have been the successor to the BMW M1, but Munich is still lacking a supercar 30 years on. The styling, including gullwing sideglass and conventional doors, got a great reaction and set the tone for more organic supercars to come

 

TVR Cerbera speed

 

1996 TVR Cerbera Speed Twelve 

Mounting two of its fearsome straight-sixes on a common crank allowed TVR to make an engine with over 1000bhp, which it them slotted into a body weighing around 1000kg. The result was so terrifying that despite taking a series of deposits on the £188,000 price, the-then TVR boss Peter Wheeler chickened out of building it. Only one road car and a handful of race cars were made

 

Volskwagen W12 Nardo

 

1997 Volkswagen W12 Nardo

Giugiaro again, this time producing VW's first supercar which was used to introduce the four-wheel drive and multi-cylinder technology soon to appear across the VW group's super-premium models, from Phaeton to Veyron. The Nardo itself was nearly made and several version of the concept were produced, but it would have been one Volkswagen group supercar too many

 

Chrysler ME

 

2004 Chrysler ME Four-Twelve

A credible supercar concept, but a victim of circumstances. Chrysler partner Mercedes donated the AMG engine to which the Americans added four turbochargers to give 850bhp, but protested when Chrysler planned to put the car into production. After independence, Chrysler considered the project again, but its dire financial position, high oil prices and the economic downturn will probably kill it for good

 

Toyota Volta

 

2004 Toyota Volta

Guess who? Giugiaro again, this time asked by Toyota to produce a concept hybrid supercar to make the point that electric assistance can make cars faster as well as greener. Had Toyota done better in F1, it might have celebrated by building this car; instead we'll get the Lexus LF-A front-engined V10

Back to supercars home page