Each had the technology and design to become an incredible supercar but the powers that be killed them before production could begin.
Make no mistake about it: it’s not easy to build a supercar, especially one that has the potential to become a game-changer. Automakers often unveil a concept supercar and actually begin testing it on the track. But for whatever reason(s), the decision is made to kill the project before wealthy clients can put down a deposit. The following five examples are proof that not all supercar concepts, even the most beautiful, make it past the concept or pre-production phase. In other words, none of these supercars will ever be seen on the road.
Back in 2010, a wealthy father-son duo commissioned Pininfarina to design and build a new design concept inspired by the original Lancia Stratos. Using a Ferrari 430 Scuderia as a donor car, the chassis was shortened a bit and the 4.3-liter V8 re-tuned to 532 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. With a curb weight of 2,749 lbs. the new Stratos could supposedly go from 0-62 mph in 3.2 seconds and top out close to 200 mph. About 25 potential buyers were lined up but despite having driven and liked the prototype, Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo killed the project before production could get underway.
Only a few years ago there was a whole bunch of hoopla about the potential for electric supercars. Along with zero emissions, the Audi R8 E-Tron had an absolutely bonkers 3,300 lb-ft of instant torque available. But unlike the Mercedes SLS AMG Electric Drive, it appears that Audi has pulled the plug (pun intended) on production prospects. In recent months, Audi has made no secret about realizing that the future market for EVs of any kind isn’t what it thought it would be. With new competitors in mind, Audi appears ready to proceed with plans to instead build the diesel-electric R10.
Oh how much we wanted this one to happen, and for a short time, it appeared likely to get the green light. Jaguar’s C-X75 concept first debuted at the Paris Motor Show back in 2010 and was an immediate hit. Powered by turbine engine technology, the C-X75 would likely have gone with a twin-charged 1.6-liter four and a pair of electric motors before reaching production, however limited. But even that concession to reality wasn't enough to keep the project going. In the end, Jaguar cancelled development altogether but stated that major elements of its technology will eventually end up in future models.
Back when Chrysler’s days with Daimler seemed all well and good, the automaker produced the ME Four-Twelve supercar concept. Power came from an AMG-developed 6.0-liter quad-turbo V12 that produced 850 horsepower and just as much torque, driving through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. It had a carbon-fiber body covering a carbon and aluminum honeycomb tub, eyeing cars like the Ferrari Enzo and Porsche Carrera GT. Then Chrysler chief operating officer Wolfgang Bernhard believed that if "tiny Pagani could build the Zonda, why can’t we?" Turns out they couldn’t and the ME Four-Twelveproject was abandoned.
From the moment it was first revealed at last September’s Paris Motor Show, the Peugeot Onyx supercar concept wowed the crowd. Powered by a 3.7-liter twin-turbo diesel with 600 horsepower and paired to an 80 hp electric motor, the Onyx redefined avant-garde design. It’s made from hand-shaped sheets of copper, carbon fiber and acrylic. The shiny copper contrasts with flat black paint for a striking look. Peugeot recently confirmed to Top Gear that the Onyx won’t make production, but the French automaker is still keen on pursuing its diesel engine technology for future applications on road and track.