History will always remember the people who went out of the way to create something which nobody has seen or thought in the past. Our automotive industry is not so different either. Millions of people work day-in and day-out, but only a handful of them leave their name written in forever. And such examples are no less if we started counting them.
Be it Ferruccio Lamborghini who thought of making a supercar out of his tractor factory or be it Mr. Buggati whose legacy gave the birth to term hypercars. We are talking here about certain sections of cars known as the Supercars or Hypercars, if taken to the next level. Last 50 years have been tremendously good in terms of innovation for our industry and this where the term Supercar coined in, or 10 years for Hypercars to be precise.
But making a supercar is no child's game. And this is why we see known manufacturers refrain themselves from entering this genre and hence maximum known supercar manufacturers are small garage startups who die an unknown death as they started because of the lack of support and funds which these cars require.
To be very frank, there have been no shortage of start-up “supercar” companies that have launched a prototype of their vehicle, but only a handful of them could take it to the next level - or the production level for that matter. The precise reason for small manufacturers to succeed in making supercars is their freedom for product innovation and experimentation without filing through the corporate red-tape structure of paperwork and permissions.
Of late, companies like Tesla, Koenigsegg, and Pagani are delivering the humankind some of the most exotic and fast cars and their engineering is mind boggling to say the least. Passion is what drives most of these small businesses while the corporations work it for profit. And they are not wrong on their part, but, to create something extra-ordinary, one has to think extra-ordinary.
'So here we are giving tribute to some of the unknown faces of supercar manufacturers. While some of you might say that these brands are known, we can definitely say they are in larger perspective, unknown to the Indian audience. Here is a list of the top 5 supercar manufacturers whom you might not have heard of!
Famous car - Agera R
Top speed - 421 kmph
0-100 kmph - 2.8 seconds
Engine - 5.0 litre twin-turbocharged V8, 940bhp, 1100Nm
Brainchild of Christian von Koenigsegg, this Sweden based company was founded in 1994 with a sole aim in mind - to produce a world-class supercar. And the dream came true for the company in 2002 when they launched their first road-legal supercar CCX. The car was a marvel of its time and had an engine which was created in-house especially for the car. 10 years down the line, Koenigsegg is known for making one of the most brutal machines on planet Earth - the Agera R.
Having won the BBC Top Gear Hypercar of the year award in 2010, the Agera R has been featured in movies like Need for Speed and is a dream car for many. Apart from developing supercars, Koenigsegg also contributes a lot to "green technology" and offers flexfuel for all its cars including the Agera R and is also inclined towards making capable electric supercar.
Famous car - Venom GT
Top speed - 435 kmph
0-100kmph - 2.7 seconds
Engine - 7.0 litre turbocharged V8, 1244bhp, 1566Nm
The Bugatti Veyron was the undisputed champion when it came to top speed and while many dared to break the record set by Bugatti, none could come close. And then came an American tuning house called Hennessey, who not only dared Bugatti, but also broke the record to become the fastest car on globe by reaching a top speed of 435 kmph.
Known as Hennessey Performance Engineering, the tuning house was established in 1991 by John Hennessey and is located in west Houston, Texas. Hennessey has worked on cars from Ferrari, Porsche, McLaren, Chevrolet, Dodge, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Nissan, Mustang, Cadillac, Lotus, Jeep, Ford, BMW, Bentley, Chrysler, GMC, Lincoln and Lexus.
But what made Hennessey a global name was the Hennessey Venom GT launched in 2010. Made on the Lotus Exige monocoque, the hypercar had an engine that produced 1,244 hp and weighed just1,244 kg. Steven Tyler, Aerosmith's member, a famous rock band purchased a Venom GT roadster for a reported $1,000,000. While Hennessey claims they can cross 440kmph, it has never been officially tested.
Famous car - SSC Ultimate Aero TT
Top speed - 414kmph
0-100 kmph - 2.8 seconds
Engine - 6.4 litre twin -turbocharged V8, 1287bhp, 1508 Nm
SSC North America or Shelby Supercars Inc. as it was formerly called was founded by Jerod Shelby and had no relation with famous Caroll Shelby as many thought. Founded in 1998, the company is based in West Richland, Washington and is known to make some of the best performing supercars like in this cased is the SSC Aero.
SSC Aero has always played a cat and mouse game with the Bugatti Veyron. When the first Bugatti Veyron was launched some 10 years ago, it was the SSC Aero, equipped with a twin turbocharged pushrod V8 engine that stripped the Veyron of fastest car title. The 6.3 litre engine produced 1,287 bhp of power which was the most powerful production car in the world, until Koenigsegg launched its One:1 (1,341 bhp) in 2014.
Although Bugatti regained the title in 2010 again with the launch of Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, and SSC tried to come back to fight again with the SSC Ultimate Aero TT, it couldn't quite make a mark again on the speed front. And now they are offering a new car called the SSC Tuatara.
Famous car - Huayra
Top speed - 370 kmph
0-100kmph - 3.2 seconds
Engine- 6.0 litre bi-turbo V12, 720bhp, 1000Nm
While many of you might say that Pagani is a known brand, we believe it is still an unknown brand in India. Founded by Horacio Pagani, the Pagani Automobili s.P.A has a lot to do with the Lamborghini. Mr. Pagani used to manage Lamborghini's composite section before opening his own Pagani Composite Research in 1988.
His company helped Lamborghini restyle restyling the 25th Anniversary Countach, the Lamborghini LM002, the P140 design concept, and the Diablo. But he was inclined towards designing his own car and he started working on a "C8 Project". By 1999 his first car Zonda was ready and was supplied the engines by Mercedes.
His designed car was so well taken in the industry that he tripled his production by 2005 and promised to offer a more exclusive high performance car in the form of Pagani Huayra. Huayra in Italian means God of Winds and the car is indeed one. The design is so exotic and the detailing is so minute that even the best of manufacturers regard his work.
Famous car - Saleen S7 TT
Top speed - 399kmph
0-100 kmph - 2.8 seconds
Engine - 7.0 litre twin-turbo V8, 750hp, 949Nm
Saleen Automotive was founded by former engineer and racer Steve Saleen based out in California. Saleen started tuning high-end cars before launching his own range of tuned cars based on performance muscle cars like Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang. He eventually decided to give the world a supercar of his own in the form of the Saleen S7.
Introduced in 2000, the S7 is completely built by Saleen himself and features an in-house designed mid mounted engine. Saleen has already announced the successor of the Saleen supercar which will be more raw and brutal. His current projects include S302 (Mustang-based), S620 (Camaro-based), the S570 (Challenger-based), and the GTX (Tesla Model S-based).