Ferrari. Lamborghini. Bugatti. These have over the years become household names when it comes to supercars and performance. While there’s no denying the fact that these brands have produced cars that were just as capable as they were iconic, there are others out there who don’t share the same fame as these brands, yet manage to outperform them. These brands have slowly begun getting the recognition they deserve by shattering records and creating timeless pieces of art. In most cases, these cars are the result of one man’s passion, much like early Ferrari’s and Lamborghinis.
While these cars aren’t exactly secret, they certainly don’t draw the same image as the vibrant red Ferrari or the angular Lamborghini. However, to those in the know, these companies are producing the greatest super cars on earth, all while remaining relatively unknown to the mainstream.
Founded in 1992 by Horacio Pagani, Pagani has quickly become a performance icon by establishing record times at the Nurburgring and the Top Gear test track. Pagani himself was once employed by Lamborghini in their composites department. As time went on, Pagani began developing his own vehicle. This vehicle would eventually be released as the Pagani Zonda C12, a vehicle that set a 6:47 time at the Nurburgring.
Pagani vehicles draw their power from modified Mercedes AMG engines, typically v12’s. Horacio Pagani was close with F1 champion Juan Manuel Fangio, who suggested that Pagani approach Mercedes for help in constructing his own car.
Pagani’s most recent model is the Pagani Huayra (the incan god of wind). This incredible piece of machinery features a twin turbo 6 litre v12 engine producing 720 horsepower and 740 lb-ft torque. The body of the vehicle is made of “carbontanium” which is a blend of carbon fiber and titanium. This combines to give the Huayra a top speed of 235 mph (378 km/h) and a 0-60 time of 3.2 seconds.
Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus (SGC)
While nowhere near any other names in terms of production output, the SCG 003 from James Glickenhaus has already achieved some incredible feats. While other companies create race ready version of their cars and street legal models, the SGC 003 is unique in that all that separates this car from the track is a set of tires.
The car recently competed in the 24 hour race at the famed Nurburgring (two cars actually competed, but a crash early in the race removed one of the vehicles from the competition). This was the first time a competing vehicle was ever driven to the track, and then competed in the race.
The car is powered by a 3.5 litre twin turbocharged Honda v6, good for 530 horsepower and 516 lb-ft torque. This is impressive, considering the car weighs less than a new Volkswagen Golf.
Hennessey Performance Engineering originally got their start performing upgrades to existing cars. Their performance upgrade packages regularly turn out cars like the Dodge Viper and the Nissan GT-R with over 1000 horsepower.
Founded in 1991 by John Hennessey, the company is located just outside of Houston, Texas. After years of producing their incredible performance packages, Hennessey produced their own vehicle, the Hennessey Venom GT.
The Hennessey has usurped the crown of fastest “production” (the term is used lightly, Hennessy has only built 16 of the 30 vehicles required to be labeled a production car company) from the likes of Bugatti with with Venom GT. The Venom GT has been clocked at speeds of over 270 mph (435 km/h), thanks to its twin turbocharged 7 litre v8 engine, which is good for over 1240 horsepower. The Venom GT is built around the Lotus Exige, which is why the vehicle weighs only 2743 pounds.
Christian von Koenigsegg (pronounced KUH-nigz-EGG) has worked hard over the last 20 years to create a unique supercar company unlike any other. It wasn’t until 2002 that the company was ready to release their first street legal model, the CCX. This vehicle would go on to become one of the “ten most beautiful cars in history” as chosen by Forbes.
It can be extremely difficult to pick one stand out model with looking at Koenigsegg as they have created so many benchmarks for the industry.
The Koenigsegg One:1 stands as an incredible example of engineering in many ways. The name may seem silly, but it actually describes the incredible advancements this car has built in. The car’s horsepower is equivalent to 1 Megawatt, or nearly 1350 horsepower. This number is staggering alone, but when combined with the vehicles hp to kilogram ratio of 1:1 (meaning every kilogram of weight has 1 horsepower driving it, something not found anywhere else) this number is even more incredible. As if all that wasn’t enough, the fully road legal One:1 can run on E85 biofuel, racing fuel, or regular gasoline. This is part of Koenigsegg’s commitment to green resources. The One:1 recently broke records again by traveling from 0-300km/h-0 in under 18 seconds.
When most people think of supercars, they think of either Germany or Italy. So far this list has been dominated by vehicles outside of those two countries, and that continues with the Canadian made HTT Pléthore. While Canada isn’t exactly known for performance vehicles (minus the now defunct Pontiac) The HTT Pléthore proves that us Canadians can hold our own against the competition.
The Pléthore’s carbon fiber body is moved along by the proprietary 7 litre supercharged V8 good for 750 horsepower. While it’s not the bonkers 1240 horsepower of the Venom GT, it does manage to weight almost 50 pounds less, while acheiving a 50/50 weight distribution, something crucial for handling and performance. What really makes this car stand out is it’s central driving configuration similar to the McLaren F1. In this vehilce, the driver sits in the middle of the cockpit, with passenger seats on either side.
The Pléthore is essentially made to order, with any number of customizations availible to a prospective buyer. Everything from amounts of carbon to custom colors are all available on the Pléthore. Most importantly, HTT has designed their cockpit around drivers of all sizes, meaning regardless of your height you won’t have trouble using the Pléthore.
Thinking Outside The Box
Thanks to dedicated individuals, these companies have produced some absolutely incredible vehicles that easily rival the big guns at the big performance garages. There was a time where companies like McLaren were somewhat unheard of, but their newest hypercar the P1 is going toe to toe with the top vehicles from Ferrari and Porsche. With developments progressing as they are, it will only be a matter of time before names like Pagani and Koenigsegg become the new standard for performance.
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