Greatest supercars that never made it to production

No other type of car spawns so many could-have, would-have and should-have conversations as the supercar.

Some don’t make it for lack of investment, while others are doomed due to a shortfall in styling or engineering.

We’ve gathered together those supercars that might have been but never were for a variety of reasons. They’re listed in chronological order:

Jaguar XJ13 (1966)

If things had gone differently, the XJ13 – and not the Lamborghini Miura – might have been the world’s first mid-engined supercar. Plans were being made for a new racing car (which would probably have been produced for road use too) in the early 1960s, but the single example wasn’t built until 1966, and by that time it probably wouldn’t have been competitive against the Ford GT40, which won the Le Mans 24 Hour race every year from then until 1969.

The project was shelved, and the 5.0-litre V12-powered XJ13 did nothing more exciting than a few high-speed runs before it crashed heavily during a filming session in 1971. Comprehensively rebuilt, it still exists today at the British Motor Museum at Gaydon as a reminder of what might have been.

Vauxhall XVR (1966)

It seems odd to think of a four-cylinder Vauxhall as a supercar, but the XVR was a special case. Quite unlike anything else the company has ever made, it was a two-seat coupe with a clamshell bonnet, a rear-hinged tail and two upward-opening doors, each of whose glass served both as a side window and half the windscreen. (The engineers lobbied for a more conventional gullwing arrangement, but the styling department said no.)

This car, the only one of the three built which actually ran, was usually powered by Vauxhall’s slant-four engine, though a smaller unit was fitted for the car’s debut at the 1966 Geneva Show. For some reason, it was attacked with an axe while on display in Canada and had to be broken up. Of the two fibreglass-bodied non-runners which followed, one was dismantled as a matter of company policy, but the other has survived and is part of the Vauxhall Heritage Collection.

Alfa Romeo Carabo (1968)

In Alfa Romeo’s own words, Marcello Gandini (born 1938) “abandoned the compass in favour of a ruler” when designing, on behalf of Bertone, the wedge-shaped Carabo. This was derived from the much curvier Alfa 33 Stradale, itself based on the Tipo 33 race car, and used the same 2.0-litre V8 engine mounted ahead of the rear axle.

During the design process, Gandini invented scissor doors, which would later be seen on many supercars which actually went on sale. These included the Lamborghini Countach, which visually resembled the Carabo in other ways too.

Chevrolet Aerovette (1969)

Chevrolet launched its first ever mid-engined Corvette in 2019, but with the Aerovette was a serious attempt to achieve the same back in the 1960s. It was designed by Zora Aarkus-Duntov, known as the ‘Father of the Corvette’, and moved the idea of the American supercar forward in a significant way. That included using a pair of rotary engines developing 420bhp that would have made the car very light and powerful.

Problems arose when Chevrolet’s general manager, John DeLorean, canned the project on cost grounds and then exhumed it in 1970 in response to the Ford-back De Tomaso Pantera for a motorshow appearance. None of this helped the Aerovette into production and customer research showed much resistance among existing Corvette drivers to a mid-engined model.

Mercedes-Benz C 111 (1969)

Mercedes built several examples of the mid-engined, gullwing-doored C 111 sports car in nine years. In supercar terms, this almost makes it a production model, but none of them was intended for public sale. The first 11 were all powered by rotary engines (either three-rotor producing around 280bhp or four-rotor producing nearer 350bhp), which provided enough information to convince Mercedes that rotaries were not the way forward.

Later versions were powered by turbo diesel engines, and set a great many speed records during two marathon sessions at the Nardo test track in Italy. Some cars were also converted to take naturally-aspirated 3.5-litre and twin-turbocharged 4.8-litre petrols V8s. The latter produced nearly 500bhp, and gave the C 111 a measured top speed of 250mph.

Ferrari Modulo (1970)

Perhaps the most futuristic-looking Ferrari in history, the Modulo started out as one of 25 512 S sports racing cars. At the end of its competition career, it was acquired by Pininfarina, where it was transformed by Paolo Martin (born 1943). Martin devised an extremely low, wedge-shaped body which almost completely covered all four wheels and included a sliding glass canopy instead of conventional doors.

The Modulo was only ever intended to be a show car, but it was restored more than 40 years after its first appearance and took to the road for the first time in 2018.

Ford GT70 (1970)

After Ford’s dominant success at Le Mans with the GT40, the GT70 was a radical departure. It was intended as a rally car and swapped the GT40’s bellowing V8 for either a 1.6-litre four-cylinder motor lifted from an Escort RS or a Capri RS2600’s V6 engine. The smaller motor was preferred for its lower centre of gravity in the chassis.

Rally ace Roger Clark was drafted in to drive the GT70 and he used it on the 1971 Ronde Cevenole Rally in France. However, reliability was a problem and the Ford didn’t get on top of this, so the project was cancelled after just six GT70s had been built.

Monteverdi Hai (1970)

Swiss garage owner Peter Monteverdi had enjoyed some small success with his High Speed models and wanted to go further in every sense with the Hai. It was a mid-engined supercar to rival the Lamborghini Miura and used a 450bhp 7.2-litre Chrysler Hemi engine. This endowed the Hai with a 175mph top speed and 0-60mph in 5.5 seconds – impressive figures for the time.

The problems came when Monteverdi wanted to move to a production model and the reality of cost and complexity of supercar manufacture hit home. Two prototypes were made and the original Geneva Motor Show display car still exists, but the Hai remained a what-if.

Vauxhall SRV (1970)

Only four years separated the XVR and the SRV, but the latter looked like it was the product of a different era. Just 41.5 inches tall, it had a cab-forward design and a transverse mid-mounted engine (actually a mock-up) which left enough room in the cabin for four seats. There were also four doors, though Vauxhall took great pains to make it look as if it only had two.

The design team was led by Wayne Cherry (born 1937), who said many years later, “If I were to do it again, I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Aston Martin Bulldog (1979)

William Towns styled the Aston Martin Bulldog with his trademark love of wedge looks. It was planned there would be a limited run of 25 cars made, each with a twin-turbo version of Aston’s 5.3-litre V8 motor giving 600bhp and a top speed of 237mph. That claim was somewhat optimistic and contemporary tests showed the Bulldog topped out at 192mph.

Undeterred, Aston filled the Bulldog’s cabin with a mix of traditional leather and high-tech LED touchscreens. This was the plan to make the car appeal to wealthy Middle Eastern buyers, but Victor Gauntlett pulled the plug on the car when he took over as Aston’s chairman in 1981. The one and only Bulldog was later sold by the factory for £130,000, and has recently emerged from a large-scale restoration.

Peugeot Quasar (1984)

If it had ever gone into production, the Quasar might have been an era-defining supercar of the 1980s. Its low, sleek body, featuring the by now almost compulsory scissor doors, covered the same mechanicals used in the 205 Turbo, a turbocharged, mid-engined, four-wheel drive homologation special which put Peugeot at the top of World Championship rallying.

With two turbos rather than just one, the Quasar’s 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine was reputed to produce 600bhp, well over 100bhp more than the road-going version of the slightly later Ferrari F40.

Audi RS 002 (1986)

The proposed Group S regulations for international rallying in the late 1980s would have produced cars which, though less powerful than the Group B monsters, would also have been more exotic, since the manufacturers were required to build fewer of them. Audi’s response was the RS 002, a mid-engined wonder which looked quite unlike any production model.

In fact, the authorities decided to switch to the more conventional Group A cars instead, which killed the Audi project. If Group S had happened, Audi would have been obliged to build at least ten examples for public sale. That’s quite a thought, especially since they would almost certainly have looked a lot better than the single prototype.

Peugeot Oxia (1988)

The remarkable Quasar was followed just four years later by the even more extreme Oxia. Although it had conventional doors and the corporate Peugeot ‘face’, it also featured hinged, one-piece front and rear sections made of a Kevlar/carbonfibre composite. Like the Quasar, it was both mid-engined and four-wheel drive, but Peugeot also added four-wheel steering and used the 2.8-litre V6 engine it had co-developed with Renault and Volvo.

Although it was originally intended for large and not necessarily high-performance cars, the PRV unit had a lot of potential. As fitted to the Oxia, with twin turbochargers, it produced around 670bhp, an output well in advance of anything found in a road-legal car at the time.

Audi Avus (1991)

The Avus track near Berlin – simply two carriageways of the same autobahn with a hairpin (one of them steeply banked) at either end – was one of the fastest ever devised. Racing cars of the 1930s were able to get round it at an average speed of over 170mph.

Appropriately, its name was used for a supercar concept of 1991. Looking forward rather than back, Audi included two features which were in development but not yet production-ready. One was aluminium construction, used in the A8 three years later. The other was a mock-up of a 6.0-litre W12 engine with four banks of three cylinders. The A8 limousine was again the first production car to be fitted with it, this time in 2001.

BMW Nazca M12 (1991)

In another world, the Nazca M12 might have been the successor to the mid-engined BMW M1. Both cars had the same basic layout, but the Nazca was more rounded and had an almost completely flat tail. Power came from BMW’s first V12 car engine, a 300bhp 5.0-litre unit already used in the 750i and 850i.

The Nazca seemed almost ready for production, and was followed in successive years by the Nazca C2 and the C2 Spyder, but the idea was never taken beyond the concept stage.

Mercedes-Benz C 112 (1991)

Like its German rivals Audi and BMW, Mercedes also revealed a supercar concept in 1991. The C 112 was more or less a test bed for active control of the suspension, steering, aerodynamics and tyre pressures, and also included adaptive cruise control and, in a nod to the 1950s 300 SL, electro-hydraulically operated gullwing doors. The engine was a 6.0-litre V12 when had just become available in the S-Class.

Mercedes reportedly received 700 orders from customers who were willing to buy the car almost regardless of cost, but company policy dictated that the C 112 would remain nothing more than a concept.

(Detect and Preserve)
Yamaha OX99-11 (1992)

Not quite a Formula 1 car for the road, the Yamaha OX99-11 was still intended to make full use of the Japanese company’s expertise in building engines for this top tier of motorsport. The 3.5-litre engine’s V12 layout mirrored contemporary motorsport form and delivered 400bhp at a screaming 10,000rpm, so it wasn’t that far removed from an F1 machine.

Also borrowed from racing was the carbonfibre tub as a base and the central driving position. Unlike the McLaren F1 of the same period that shared the same driver positioning, the Yamaha stuck its single passenger in tandem behind the pilote. In the end, a fall out between Yamaha and engineering firm IAD combined with a financial crisis in Japan killed off the OX99-11 after only three prototypes had been built.

Chrysler Atlantic (1995)

The retro-styled Atlantic was a homage to custom-bodied luxury cars of the 1930s in general and the Bugatti Type 57 Atlantic in particular – not exactly supercars in the modern sense, but surely the equivalent of their era.

The ‘30s influence can also been in the Atlantic’s 4.0-litre straight-eight engine, which sounds very exotic until you learn that it was composed of two Chrysler Neon motors joined together. This alone hinted that Chrysler wasn’t interested in developing a production version, since by 1995 the straight-eight had been out of fashion for about half a century.

Ford GT90 (1995)

The GT90 was based on a lengthened Jaguar XJ220 chassis and powered by a unique 5.9-litre V12 engine. Accounts vary about how exactly the latter was created, but it was derived from the Ford Modular V8, and with the help of four turbochargers it produced 720bhp.

Unlike the famous GT40 or the previously mentioned GT70, the GT90 was only ever a concept, reputedly because an expensive high-performance supercar would clash with the models being produced by then Ford-owned Aston Martin. However, its sharp design, very much in contrast with that of any production Ford at the time, heralded the New Edge styling which became a feature of the company’s models in the late 1990s.

Lamborghini Cala (1995)

Few cars have endured such a prolonged and agonised journey as the Lamborghini Cala. First shown as a concept at the 1995 Geneva Motor Show as a possible entry-level model below the Diablo, it was created by ItalDesign Giugiaro. This design was originally commissioned by Lamborghini’s then owner Chrysler and taken forward by Megatech, which bought the supercar company in 1994.

However, when Volkswagen Group took over Lamborghini in 1998, the Cala was unceremoniously ditched and work began on the Gallardo instead. The Cala shared a V10 engine configuration with the Gallardo and top speed was claimed to be 181mph, but VW wanted more power, four-wheel drive and bolder styling, which the Gallardo delivered.

Zagato Raptor (1996)

The Zagato Raptor could easily have become the replacement for the Lamborghini Diablo. Zagato and former Swiss ice skeleton racer Alain Wicki came up with the concept for the Italian car company using a Diablo as the base, so it came with four-wheel drive and a 6.0-litre V12 engine producing 492bhp.

The exterior styling included a ‘double-bubble’ roof and the car was shown some praise at the 1996 Geneva motor show. However, Lamborghini was less impressed and said no thank you. So, Wicki tried to get the project off the ground on his own, but it faltered and he sold the only Raptor at auction in 2000 to a private collector.

Nissan R390 (1997)

In order to use the R390 in the GT1 class of international racing, Nissan had to build at least one road-legal version. Following the rules to the letter, it produced exactly one and held on to it, denying buyers the opportunity of owning what would have been a magnificent supercar.

Other than the absence of a rear wing, it was essentially the same as all the race cars. Nissan vaguely quotes a power output of ‘over 350PS’ and ‘over 490Nm’ of torque, which might or might not mean that its 3.5-litre V8 engine had been substantially detuned. The R390 was designed by Ian Callum at TWR.

TVR Speed 12 (1997)

You could never accuse Peter Wheeler of lacking ambition for TVR and the Speed 12 summed up that spirit to perfection. Building on the success of his cars in the 1990s, Wheeler wanted to compete in the GT1 endurance racing category against the likes of Porsche and Mercedes. He had the tool for the job in the Speed 12, which had a 7.7-litre V12 engine producing 800bhp.

The car did compete but never made it to Le Mans and the parallel road car project stalled despite several orders being taken. It was priced at £188,000 and had around 960bhp, but Wheeler decided to return customer deposits when he thought the car was too powerful to be used on the road.

Volkswagen W12 (1997)

Volkswagen had several cracks at stirring up interest in its take on the supercar, starting with the W12 Syncro in 1997. That was followed by the W12 Roadster the following year and then the W12 Nardo in 2001. All used the W12 engine that was to find its way into the Bentley Continental GT, as well as the less popular Phaeton luxury saloon.

The first two concepts made do with a mere 420bhp from a 5.6-litre version of the W12 engine, but the Nardo upped its game with 591bhp. That was enough to see the Nardo from rest to 60mph in 3.5 seconds and on to 221mph. It also helped convince Volkswagen that a super-supercar was a good idea, but it swapped the VW badge for a Bugatti one and gained a W16 engine.

Bentley Hunaudières (1999)

Hunaudières is the French name for the part of the Le Mans circuit known to English speakers as the Mulsanne Straight because it’s easier to pronounce. Bentley, which won the 24-hour race five times from 1924 to 1930, used it for a fantastic concept car displayed at the 1999 Geneva Show. This marked the first public appearance of what became the first, and so far only, W16 engine fitted to a production car.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because the 8.0-litre unit was later used in the Bugatti Veyron. In a sense, the Hunaudières did therefore become a production reality, though unlike the Veyron it was naturally aspirated and had rear- rather than four-wheel drive.

Audi Rosemeyer (2000)

After the Hunaudières, the next step towards the Veyron was the Audi Rosemeyer, which still had the naturally-aspirated W16 engine but, following the by now familiar Audi tradition, also had four-wheel drive.

It was named after Bernd Rosemeyer (1909-1938), who raced the extraordinarily powerful 16-cylinder Grand Prix Auto Unions in the 1930s. The concept was designed to resemble those cars, particularly the streamlined versions which broke speed records and competed at Avus.

Citroen Osée (2001)

Osée is the French word for ‘bold’, which could describe Citroen’s ambition to build something like the McLaren F1. Both cars had a mid-mounted engine driving the rear wheels, and they shared an unusual seating arrangement, with the driver in the centre and two passengers seats set slightly further back at the sides.

These aspects apart, there were several differences. While the F1 had scissor doors, the Osée had a more adventurous front-hinged canopy, and Citroen’s 200bhp 3.0-litre V6 engine was rather less powerful than the McLaren’s BMW V12. Most significantly of all, in the context of this article, the F1 made limited production, while the Osée didn’t.

Volkswagen W12 Nardo (2001)

The Nardo was the third and last of three supercars powered by a W12 engine created by mating two of Volkswagen’s narrow-angle VR6 units. Measuring 5.6 litres in the earlier Syncro and Roadster concepts, it was extended to 6.0 litres in the Nardo, and its output was raised to 590bhp.

The car’s ability was demonstrated spectacularly when it averaged just over 200mph for 24 hours at the Italian test track after which it was named. A production version would have been a marvellous thing, but it might have needed a different name. The low sales of the slightly later Phaeton luxury saloon suggested that there was only so much money people would pay for a car with a Volkswagen badge.

Cadillac Cien (2002)

Cien is the Spanish word for ‘hundred’, and was therefore an appropriate choice for a concept celebrating Cadillac’s centenary. The Cien was a dramatic sports car powered by a specially designed 7.5-litre V12 engine which produced around 750bhp and was mounted just ahead of the rear axle.

Although the Cien was an American car, much of the development took place in the UK. The styling, influenced by the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor fighter jet, was done at the GM Advanced Design Studio in Coventry, while engineering work was done by Prodrive, 30 miles to the south in Banbury.

Cadillac Sixteen (2003)

Looking like it belonged in a Marvel Comics cartoon, the Cadillac Sixteen had an equally heroic 13.6-litre V16 engine under its vast bonnet. Drive went through an automatic gearbox to the rear wheels and the engine was claimed to produce 1000bhp. Even so, Cadillac also said the car offered 16.7mpg fuel economy thanks to Active Fuel Management that shut down as many as 12 cylinders when the car was cruising.

There was a lot of hope that Cadillac would put a limited number of Sixteens into production, but it didn’t happen as the cost of the engine and development was prohibitive. However, elements of the Sixteen’s styling went on to be used in subsequent Cadillac models.

Chrysler ME 4-12 (2004)

No stranger to fast cars, Chrysler wanted to up its stock and build a full-on supercar rather than a muscle car in 2004. The result was the ME 4-12 unveiled at Detroit that year with carbon-fibre chassis and the requisite hunkered-down styling of this breed of car. Power came from a turbocharged Mercedes V12 with 850bhp that was good enough for 0-62mph in 2.9 seconds and a claimed 248mph top end.

Billed as the ‘most advanced Chrysler ever made’, the ME 4-12 was developed with production in mind, but the financial case didn’t add up. It was too expensive to build and the Chrysler name wasn’t reckoned to have enough clout with buyers of this sort of car, so the ME 4-12 stayed as a show pony.

Peugeot 907 (2004)

The 907 could be described as Peugeot’s answer to two contemporary front-engined supercars, the Ferrari 575M Maranello and the Mercedes SLR McLaren. Its engine, longitudinally mounted behind the front wheels in the interests of weight distribution, was a 500bhp 5.9-litre V12 created by joining together two examples of Peugeot’s existing 3.0-litre V6.

As with the Volkswagen W12 Nardo, it’s at best doubtful that Maranello or SLR customers would have been prepared to spend similar money on a car with a Peugeot badge, but the question never arose because the 907 never made production.

Ford Shelby GR-1 (2005)

The GR-1 concept bore some resemblance to the Cobra-based Shelby Daytona Coupe racers of the mid 1960s, but it was a thoroughly modern car with a 6.4-litre V10 engine which was claimed to produce a little over 600bhp.

Ford seems to have had no thought of putting it into production, but in January 2019 Superformance of Jupiter, Florida, which builds continuation versions of the Cobra, Ford GT40 and Chevrolet Corvette, announced its intention to put the GR-1 into production itself (now with a 750bhp Ford V8 engine) after implementation of the Low Volume Vehicle Manufacturers Act.

Maserati Birdcage (2005)

As birthday presents go, the 2005 Maserati Birdcage built to mark 75 years of the Italian company is quite the gift to itself. Styled by Pininfarina and blessed with one of the most iconic names from the firm’s history, the Birdcage should have been a runaway success. It was based on the MC12 with its Ferrari Enzo-derived V12 engine providing 700bhp.

Unlike the 1950s Birdcage, the modern car had a closed cockpit that was accessed by lifting the entire canopy that included the front nose cone. The driver was also surrounded by several cameras so he could share the driving experience with others outside of the car, but that was a pleasure denied when the Birdcage remained a concept.

Maybach Exelero (2005)

The Maybach Exelero was no flight of a designer’s fancy, it was created specifically to drive at speeds of more than 217mph. That was the brief from German tyre maker Fulda when it approached Maybach’s parent company Mercedes as it needed a car to test its latest high-performance tyres. The result was the Exelero with a twin-turbo 5.9-litre V12 engine as used in the Maybach saloons but tuned to 690bhp.

That was enough to meet Fulda’s demands as it could reach 218mph and cover 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds. It sits on 315/25 ZR 23 tyres with unique alloy wheels. Unusually for a car that remained a one-off, it was sold and is now apparently owned by German Mercedes restorer Mechatronik.

Lamborghini Miura Concept (2006)

The Lamborghini Miura invented the supercar when it was laaunched in 1966, so the company reckoned it could cash in with the reinvented retro version in 2006. It marked the 40th anniversary of the original and was styled by Walter de Silva with a smoothed-out appearance. Hidden beneath the classically good looks was the same platform used for the Murcielago, so the Miura Concept came with a 6.2-litre V12.

However, the engine was mounted longitudinally in the concept rather than transversely as in the original. Lamborghini wasn’t concerned about this and several customers were keen to place orders, but Lambo boss Stephan Winkelmann nixed that idea when he said the company looked forward, not back.

Acura ASCC (2007)

The Honda NSX is rightly lauded in both its original and current guises, but there was a lengthy period when the Japanese firm teased us with possible replacements. The most likely of these came 10 years after the first NSX had ceased production with the debut of the Acura ASCC, which used the US luxury arm of Honda for its name. Fans were desperate for a new NSX and this had all the ingredients, including a 4.5-litre V10 engine.

With more than 500bhp promised from the VTEC-equipped motor, top speed was said to be more than 200mph. Four-wheel drive was also promised, as well as an affordable price tag. Yet all of this failed to materialise and NSX fans had to wait a further decade before finally getting what they wanted.

Mazda Furai (2007)

According to designer Franz von Holzhausen (born 1968), who now works at Tesla but spent three years at Mazda, the Furai “purposely blurs boundaries that have traditionally distinguished street cars from racing cars”. At heart, it actually was a racing car – specifically a Courage C65 – but Mazda created a new body based on its Nagare design philosophy, which emphasised flow in both its styling and its air management.

The engine was a triple-rotor which ran on ethanol and produced 450bhp. The Furai would probably have needed a lot of development work before it could be used on the road, but that’s now a moot point because it was destroyed by fire during a photo shoot in 2008.

BMW M1 Homage (2008)

Thirty years on from having its fingers burnt trying to make a supercar with the first M1, BMW showed off the M1 Homage at the 2008 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. This haute couture show for classic cars and concepts was the ideal place to pitch an updated M1, even if BMW didn’t bother releasing even the most basic details of its specification.

As a result, the Homage was only every going to be a show car, but it did go on to influence the 2009 Vision EfficientDynamics Concept that ultimately resulted in the hybrid i8.

Saleen S5S Raptor (2008)

Saleen has put many high-performance models into production since it was founded in 1983, but the S5S Raptor wasn’t one of them, even though there was once talk of it selling for around $185,000. To some of us, that’s quite a lot of money, but it was only about a third of what Saleen was asking for the twin-turbo version of the S7.

Compared with that car, the S5S Raptor was very much a junior model, but in absolute terms it was rather more than that. The mid-mounted engine was a supercharged 5.0-litre V8 which was quoted as having a power output in the region of 650bhp.

Bugatti 16C Galibier (2009)

All the cars produced by the Bugatti brand in its present form (established in 1998) have been mid-engined, but this might not have been the case if the 16C Galibier had gone into production. This luxury saloon had the same 8.0-litre W16 engine as the one then being used in the Veyron (and previewed in the Bentley Hunaudières and Audi Rosemeyer), but with two superchargers rather than four turbos.

To a greater extent than almost anything else on this list, the 16C Galibier was a near miss. Bugatti originally planned that it would become a production model before abandoning this plan, and in 2016 we reported that the company’s then boss Wolfgang Dürheimer was reconsidering the idea, but nothing has yet come of it.

Jaguar CX-75 (2010)

Jaguar has a history of stealing motorshow limelight with its sportscars and the CX-75 looked like doing the same when the covers were pulled back at the 2010 Paris show – though as we’ll see with the next car, it wasn’t the most memorable event there that year. Every inch the contemporary supercar, the low-slung CX-75 also predicted the trend towards hybrid power with its electric power, using a motor for each wheel and small gas turbine engines as range-extender motors. This gave a 200mph top speed and 31-mile battery range.

Developed with F1’s Williams Advanced Engineering, the CX-75 looked set to take Jaguar into contention with Ferrari and Lamborghini. However, the economic climate counted against this move and the estimated price of £700,000 made it unviable. A starring role in the James Bond film Spectre was as close as the CX-75 got to being used on the public road, and then it was powered by a good old fashioned 542bhp 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine more usually found in a F-Type.

Lotus Esprit (2010)

The Lotus press conference at the 2010 Paris motor show has gone down in automotive folklore for its bold claims for five new models unveiled in concept form, including the new Esprit. As well as the scale of the product place, the Esprit’s specification was equally ambitious with a 612bhp 5.0-litre V8 engine driving through a seven-speed DSG gearbox.

Development was claimed to be going well after the Esprit’s show debut, but the rot had set in to Lotus cash reserves, and the Lotus CEO responsible for the grand plans departed. The outcome was the inevitable cancellation of the Esprit programme in 2014, which was even more of a pity when the Esprit looked like it had all of the ingredients to match or better the McLaren MP4-12C that had a very similar ethos.

Lamborghini Asterion (2014)

The Asterion was intended to be slightly less hardcore than other Lamborghini sports cars, but it was still a formidable beast. The lower part of the carbonfibre monocoque came from the Aventador, while the engine was the 602bhp 5.2-litre V10 used in the Huracán, backed up in this case by three electric motors.

Although Lamborghini described the Asterion as a “technology demonstrator”, it was seriously considered as a possible future production model until 2015, when the company decided to focus instead on the Urus SUV. That might seem like a pity, but it was almost certainly the correct choice. It’s very unlikely that the Asterion would have been anything like as popular as the Urus, which in 2022 outsold all other Lamborghini models put together.

Apollo Arrow (2016)

The Apollo Arrow is a prime example of a car that had too many fathers. Initially conceived by Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus and Roland Gumpert, famed for his eponymous supercar, the Arrow was to be built by Italian firm MAT. Its impressive specification appealed thanks to either a track-only V12 model or a road car with 986bhp twin turbo 4.0-litre Audi V8.

A carbonfibre tub underpinned both models and a seven-speed sequential gearbox was part of the plan. However, plans faltered and the Apollo Arrow came to nothing even after being displayed at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show with claims of 0-62mph in 2.9 seconds and a 224mph top speed.

Story by Alisdair Suttie and David Finlay


Greatest supercars that never made it to production Supercars may be few and far between on normal roads, but you'd be even harder pressed to spot these