The automotive industry is truly an unpredictable market. With the current situation, updates are required every year; unlike the days of yore when a family vehicle could last a generation. If a company produces a car that “can’t swim,” it will sink before it’s even born.
Almost every car model in existence is discontinued at some point, but some don’t even get the chance to be tested in the first place. Unfortunately, the public generally receives a very small extract, before being cruelly ripped off; locked up forever. We have seen it a lot in recent years, yet the examples are countless throughout our history. To highlight these forgotten treasures, here are fifteen sports car models that were canceled before they could even start…
15 Mini Superleggera Vision
When you think “Mini Cooper”, the last thing that (probably) comes to mind are sports cars and custom one-off builds. Madly enough, though, Mini was planning on making one at some point. Together with the Superleggera team, Mini was so close to making the Superleggera Vision a real bargain. At the last minute, however, it was decided to shoot for other projects. Such a waste…
14 Ford GT90
After Ford’s victory at Le Mans with the GT40, and before the remake of the GT40 (Ford GT 2005), Ford attempted to capture the GT40 flame once again. Still, they haven’t done such a good job. Despite the years of development and money invested in the new “GT90”, it was just too ugly and too expensive to manufacture.
13 BMW 767iL
Yeah yeah. We’ve all heard of “W” engines and huge V12s, but have you heard of a V16? It sounds like a myth, I know, but it’s too real. The car from where you can find this unicorn of a motor? Not a Ferrari, a Lamborghini or a Bugatti; but a classic BMW 767iL – a canceled 7-series model from BMW’s late 80s and 90s. The tame appearance only disguises the bestial power plant hidden within.
12 Lamborghini Estoque
The Lamborghini Urus quickly becomes the best-selling Lamborghini ever made. Clearly, the marketing geniuses at Lamborghini saw it coming, as evidenced by the years leading up to the development of the Urus. There were prototypes/offshoots that had yet to resonate that made a significant contribution to the future of Urus. For example the Lamborghini Estoque.
Using Huracan-like headlights, four doors and a low (aggressive) profile, many thought the Estoque was the next best thing. Well, at least there’s the Urus.
11 Porsche 984
Porsche, like many other automakers, has its fair share of axed car models. Some of them are works of art that did not meet the criteria. Others, however, should have been removed. The Porsche 984 is the one confusing us here at HotCars. It doesn’t look bad, but it doesn’t look great either. What we do know, however, is that the 984 wouldn’t last today at all.
ten BMW M3 Compact/ti
Whoever decided that the “compact” (or “ti”) versions of existing BMWs were a good idea should have been fired on the spot! Obviously that came later, but not soon enough to stop the 318ti. Fortunately, however, one disaster that was averted is the BMW M3 Compact. Before ruining a beautiful E36 M3, the project was finished; fortunately sparing the standard M3.
9 Nissan IDX Nismo
What seemed like only a few years ago has turned into almost a decade of waiting. Still, we have no word on the fate of Nissan’s IDX/IDX Nismo concepts. In 2013, Nissan introduced its IDX models: a remake of the older Datsun 510. The cars were featured in video games, TV, and popular media, but never in the real world. In 2020, it is assumed that the IDX is almost complete.
8 Saleen S5S Raptor
Saleen is an awesome manufacturer. Few brands these days are bold enough to take leaps and bounds with the goal of achieving success and overcoming all odds like Saleen is (even to this day). A particularly poignant display of these daring attempts is the mid-2000s Saleen S5S Raptor. It was supposed to be powered by a supercharged V8, producing over 650 hp. The works versions also looked like a modern F1 car! However, the S5S never saw the light of day…
seven Mazda Furai
In 2020, Mazda’s LMP racing team took pole position twice in a row at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, Florida, as well as a second-place finish in the race. That’s a far cry from where they were in 2008, when their “last and best” race car, the Mazda Furai (all), caught fire. It destroyed years of hard work and kept Mazda away from LMP for a little longer.
6 Lamborghini P140
It’s a Countach! No, it’s a Diablo! Wait, is that… the Lamborghini P140? Yah, we’ve never heard of it before either. However, this fledgling prototype was crucial for the development of the Lamborghini Diablo, as well as the testing of the V10s. From the outside, it’s clear where the Diablo got the majority of its design lineups from.
5 Ferrari 512 S Modulo
Enzo Ferrari and Battista “Pinin” Farina must have watched too many alien documentaries because their one-of-a-kind Ferrari 512 S Modulo appears to have been stolen from Area 51! The 512 S Modulo recently made a comeback at several European motor shows, but only as a tribute. Trust us, Ferrari isn’t dumb enough to try something like this in the current year.
4 Chrysler ME four-twelve
Chrysler has never been a brand dedicated to pushing the boundaries. Instead, they sought comfort and luxury rather than speed and performance. That’s all well and good, but when they break the mold, it usually shocks consumers. For example, the Chrysler ME Four-Twelve. Although it looked fast (and really was), the Four-Twelve proved too much for Chrysler to handle.
3 Jaguar C-X75
Everything was perfectly arranged for the Jaguar C-X75. It had tons of marketing behind it (going so far as to be the villain’s car in the 2015 Spectrum movie), millions of dollars in new technology, and looks sharp enough to cut diamonds. Nonetheless, Jaguar didn’t want to hurt its bottom line with a risky move to the C-X75. As such, it was confined to the history books. Hopefully it will come back one day.
2 Volkswagen W12 Nardo
Strange how Volkswagen, a group that would later acquire Bugatti, was experimenting with W-type engines years before. Before Bugatti’s W16, there was VW’s W12 Nardo. Honestly, the Nardo still holds up! The design is exquisite; every inch of the car shines with aero mods and outright power. What we wouldn’t give to have this one on the road today…
1 Toyota FT-1
The last entry on our list is perhaps the most unfortunate (of the lot) to have been discontinued. Toyota fans know this car well: the Toyota FT-1. What started as a futuristic beating hypercar, the successor to the Supra, became the Mark V Toyota Supra we have today. No cool lines or REAL Mark IV lineups, just a glorified BMW Z4. Talk about a disappointment.
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