What really makes a car a supercar? That’s a bit like asking what makes a woman beautiful or a man handsome. Different people will have different opinions.
Back in the 80s and 90s, posters of cars like the Lamborghini Countach, Porsche 959, and Ferrari Testarossa were hanging on the walls in every boy’s room. And everyone agreed that they fit the bill perfectly. They were supercars. They had outrageous performance, obnoxious looks, and an unimaginable price tag.
Today we can buy a Nissan GT-R that would easily beat all those classic supercars, and with a few performance parts, it will give any modern supercar a run for its money. Yet the GT-R is not a supercar. So clearly, performance alone is not enough.
In the same way, being exotic is not enough to warrant calling it a supercar. For example, the Ferrari California is definitely an exotic car, but it’s still not a supercar.
There are, of course, some basic criteria for deciding whether a car should be considered a supercar or not. Things like design, acceleration, top speed, handling, power-to-weight ratio, style, rarity, price – all of these have to be super in a supercar. But even then it isn’t straightforward.
If it is this hard just to establish what a supercar really is, no wonder the manufacturers themselves occasionally get it wrong.
25. AIXAM MEGA TRACK
Back in 1992, Aixam, a French company that made plastic microcars, decided it would be fun to start making supercars. Then, someone at the factory probably made a joke saying it should be 5,000 lbs with 4-wheel drive and off-roading abilities. Clearly, someone didn’t get the joke, so that’s exactly what the Aixam Mega Track became.
Powered by a 394 hp Mercedes V12, the Mega Track managed a 0-to-60 time of just over 5 seconds and went on to reach a top speed of 155 mph. On paper the Axam might actually seem like a good idea, the problem is that when creating something the world has never seen before, there’s a much greater chance of failure… Axam learned their lesson and are now back to making plastic microcars.
24. CIZETA V16T
What do you get when some Italian designers get together and start building supercars?
Apparently, the answer is the Cizeta V16T – a supercar that kind of resembles a Lamborghini Diablo, but with double pop-up headlights.
There’s a reason why it looks like a Diablo; Gandini, one of the Cizeta founders, was a former designer for Lamborghini, and the V16T was based on one of his Diablo designs that got declined.
The V16T got its name from the transverse V16 engine, which in reality was 2 V8 engines in a single block. Strangely enough, it didn’t outperform the Diablo, but it did come with a hefty Diabloesque price tag. After four years Cizeta had only built 19 cars, which meant they had to close up shop.