Wealthy backers with crazy dreams have produced some really weird supercars over the years. If you have a few hundred thousand dollars burning a hole in your pocket and very eccentric tastes, one of these 5 vehicles might just be for you.
THE PANTHER 6
Panther Westwinds was a UK manufacturer of expensive niche cars in the 70s and 80s. A lot of their cars were pretty weird but the Panther 6, which debuted in 1977, is particularly bizarre. Aesthetically, it looks like the love child of a hot tub and a truck, but it was actually a very fast car in its day. The monstrous 8.2-liter twin-turbo V8 engine produced 600 bhp and a top speed of 320 kmph, which was unheard of at the time.
So why does it have 6 wheels? It was inspired by the Tyrrell P34 Formula 1 car, which introduced 4 small, 10-inch front wheels that could fit below the vehicle’s front wing to minimize aerodynamic drag while retaining the same surface area of rubber on the road. This made sense in Formula 1, because there was a rule at the time which restricted the size of the front wing to 1.5 meters. It made less sense for a production road car, which explains why there haven’t been many 6-wheeled supercars since, despite Italian manufacturer Covini’s efforts to resurrect the idea. Only two Panther 6 vehicles were ever built, one of which was exhibited at the 2015 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este.
First, let’s address the elephant in the room – the Caparo T1 looks like how an 8-year old would draw a Formula 1 car before they learned about perspective. However, the vehicle does have the performance to match the aesthetic.
Designed by the team behind the McLaren F1, the T1 aims to incorporate the design principles of Formula 1 into a production road car. It has a 3.5-liter V8 engine which produces 575 hp, while the lightweight carbon fiber body means that the entire car only weighs 470 kg. For comparison, a modern VW Golf weighs about 1,351 kg. This means that the Caparo T1 has an outrageous power-to-weight ratio, delivering twice as much horsepower per kilogram as a Bugatti Veyron, enabling it to reach a top speed of 330 kmph.
The Caparo T1 had a recommended retail price of around $300,000 when it was released in 2007 and as of 2012, 16 had been sold in the UK.
MOSLER CONSULIER GTP
If it is true that “style never goes out of fashion”, what the hell was going on in the 1980s? Released in 1985 when Careless Whisper by Wham was top of the charts, the US-made Consulier GTP looks as if it has the front-end of a snow plough and the windscreen of a Lada. Following similar design principles to British manufacturers like Lotus (but not the aesthetics), the car’s designer Warren Mosler paired a modest 2.2-liter Chrysler engine with a lightweight fiberglass body. The car had an excellent power-to-weight ratio as a result, which made it very competitive in International Motor Sports Association races. Only 83 examples of the original design were produced and it was originally priced at $60,000, which equates to about $138,000 in today’s money after adjusting for inflation.
ASTON MARTIN LAGONDA
On the outside, the 1976 Aston Martin Lagonda was an extreme interpretation of the “folded-paper aesthetic” favored by British designer William Towns. The 5.3-liter V8 engine was unbelievably thirsty, burning an average of 35 liters of fuel for every 100 km traveled (8 mpg). It had a top speed of 240 kmph and could accelerate from 0-100 km in 6.2 seconds.
However, it is the interior that really makes the Lagonda stand out, but not in a good way. Aston Martin was basically trying to create a Tesla interior with technology from 1976, replacing the entire dashboard with a massive and notoriously unreliable system of gas plasma monitors, LED panels and capacitive touch buttons. These complicated electronics were plagued with unreliability issues and were discontinued completely in 1980. When it was released, it was one of the most expensive cars in the world, priced higher than some Rolls Royce models of the same period. In total, 645 Lagondas were sold.
Designed by Japanese sports manufacturer Mitsuoka Motors in 2006, the Orochi is supposed to resemble a dragon but looks more like a bottom-feeding fish. This car wouldn’t look out of place in a children’s cartoon and is regularly cited as one of the ugliest supercars of all time. Indeed, if you manage to make scissor doors look bad, you must be doing something wrong.
Beneath the hood, the Orochi has a 3.3-liter V6 Toyota engine producing 233hp, which enables a top speed of about 250 kmph. The Orochi Final Edition had a recommended retail price of $125,000 and production was limited to 400 units.