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  • Writer's pictureTrevor Huff

The Coolest Cars You've Never Heard Of



Obscure cars are vehicles that are not widely known or recognized by the general public. These cars often have unique designs, features, or histories that set them apart from more mainstream vehicles. Despite their lack of popularity, there is a dedicated community of enthusiasts who are drawn to these obscure cars and appreciate their unconventional charm.


People are drawn to obscure cars for a variety of reasons. Some are attracted to the rarity and exclusivity of these vehicles, as they offer a unique ownership experience that is not easily replicated with more common cars. Others are intrigued by the unusual designs and features that set these cars apart from the rest. There is also a sense of nostalgia associated with obscure cars, as many of them were produced during specific time periods and reflect the styles and trends of their era.


The history of obscure cars is as diverse as the cars themselves. Many of these vehicles were produced by small, independent manufacturers who were trying to break into the automotive industry. These manufacturers often faced financial difficulties or other challenges that prevented their cars from gaining widespread recognition. As a result, many obscure cars were only produced in limited quantities and are now considered rare and collectible.


The Retro-Futuristic Charm of the Bricklin SV-1


The Bricklin SV-1 is a prime example of an obscure car that captured the imagination of car enthusiasts in the 1970s. The SV-1, which stands for "safety vehicle one," was designed with safety as its primary focus. It featured a fiberglass body with integrated roll bars, energy-absorbing bumpers, and gull-wing doors for easy access.


One of the unique features of the Bricklin SV-1 was its use of acrylic plastic panels for the body. These panels were designed to be shatterproof and resistant to damage, making the SV-1 one of the safest cars on the road at the time. The gull-wing doors were also a standout feature, adding to the car's futuristic appeal.


Despite its innovative design and safety features, the Bricklin SV-1 was not a commercial success. Production was plagued by quality control issues and financial difficulties, and only around 2,800 SV-1s were produced before the company went bankrupt in 1975. However, the SV-1 has since gained a cult following among car enthusiasts who appreciate its retro-futuristic charm and unique design.


The Quirky Appeal of the Messerschmitt KR200


The Messerschmitt KR200 is a microcar that was produced in post-World War II Europe. It was designed by aircraft engineer Fritz Fend and was intended to be a cheap and efficient mode of transportation for the masses. The KR200 featured a three-wheeled design and a bubble canopy, giving it a distinctive and unconventional appearance.


One of the most unusual features of the Messerschmitt KR200 was its tandem seating arrangement, with the driver sitting in the front and the passenger sitting directly behind. This design allowed for a narrow body and reduced wind resistance, making the KR200 more aerodynamic and fuel-efficient. The car was also powered by a small two-stroke engine, further contributing to its efficiency.


The Messerschmitt KR200 gained popularity in post-war Europe, where fuel was scarce and people were looking for affordable transportation options. It was also embraced by the motorcycle community, as it was classified as a motorcycle in many countries due to its three-wheeled design. Despite its quirky appearance, the KR200 was a practical and economical choice for many people during this time.


The Sleek and Sporty Lines of the Vector W8


The Vector W8 is a supercar that was produced in the 1990s by Vector Motors, an American manufacturer. The W8 was designed to be a high-performance sports car that could rival the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini. It featured a sleek and aerodynamic body, with sharp lines and aggressive styling.


One of the unique features of the Vector W8 was its use of advanced materials and technologies. The body was made from carbon fiber, which made it lightweight and strong. The car also featured a twin-turbocharged V8 engine that produced over 600 horsepower, allowing it to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in under four seconds.


Despite its impressive performance and cutting-edge design, the Vector W8 was not a commercial success. Production was limited, with only 17 W8s being produced before the company ceased operations in 1993. However, the W8 has since become a sought-after collector's car, with its rarity and unique design making it highly desirable among car enthusiasts.


The Revolutionary Design of the Tatra T87


The Tatra T87 is a luxury car that was produced in pre-World War II Europe. It was designed by Hans Ledwinka, an Austrian engineer, and was known for its revolutionary aerodynamic design. The T87 featured a streamlined body with a sloping rear end, which reduced drag and improved fuel efficiency.


One of the unique features of the Tatra T87 was its rear-mounted air-cooled V8 engine. This design allowed for a lower center of gravity and better weight distribution, resulting in improved handling and performance. The T87 was also one of the first cars to feature independent suspension, further enhancing its ride quality.


The Tatra T87 gained popularity among the elite in pre-war Europe, with its luxurious interior and advanced features making it a status symbol. However, production was halted during the war, and only around 3,000 T87s were produced in total. Today, the T87 is considered a classic car and is highly sought after by collectors for its unique design and historical significance.


The Unconventional Styling of the Studebaker Avanti


The Studebaker Avanti is a sports coupe that was produced in the 1960s by American manufacturer Studebaker. It was designed to be a high-performance car that could compete with the likes of Chevrolet and Ford. The Avanti featured a sleek and unconventional design, with a fiberglass body and a distinctive front grille.


One of the unique features of the Studebaker Avanti was its aerodynamic shape. The car was designed with input from famed industrial designer Raymond Loewy, who was known for his streamlined designs. The Avanti's body was sculpted to reduce drag and improve performance, making it one of the fastest production cars of its time.


Despite its innovative design and performance capabilities, the Studebaker Avanti was not a commercial success. Production was plagued by quality control issues and financial difficulties, and Studebaker ceased operations in 1966. However, the Avanti has since gained a dedicated following among car enthusiasts who appreciate its unconventional styling and unique place in automotive history.


The Iconic Look of the DeLorean DMC-12


The DeLorean DMC-12 is a sports car that was produced in the 1980s by American manufacturer DeLorean Motor Company. It is perhaps best known for its appearance in the "Back to the Future" film trilogy, where it was famously transformed into a time machine. The DMC-12 featured a stainless steel body and gull-wing doors, giving it an iconic and futuristic look.


One of the unique features of the DeLorean DMC-12 was its stainless steel body. This material was chosen for its durability and resistance to corrosion, giving the car a distinctive and timeless appearance. The gull-wing doors were also a standout feature, adding to the car's futuristic appeal.


Despite its iconic status, the DeLorean DMC-12 was not a commercial success. Production was limited, with only around 9,000 DMC-12s being produced before the company went bankrupt in 1982. However, the DMC-12 has since become a cultural icon, with its unique design and association with the "Back to the Future" films making it highly desirable among car enthusiasts and collectors.


The Powerful Performance of the Mosler MT900


The Mosler MT900 is a supercar that was produced in the 2000s by American manufacturer Mosler Automotive. It was designed to be a high-performance track car that could rival the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini. The MT900 featured a lightweight carbon fiber body and a powerful V8 engine, giving it impressive performance capabilities.


One of the unique features of the Mosler MT900 was its focus on weight reduction. The car was designed to be as light as possible, with extensive use of carbon fiber and other lightweight materials. This allowed the MT900 to have a power-to-weight ratio that was comparable to some of the fastest cars in the world.


The Mosler MT900 gained popularity among car enthusiasts who appreciated its raw performance and track-focused design. However, production was limited, with only a few dozen MT900s being produced before the company ceased operations in 2013. Today, the MT900 is highly sought after by collectors for its rarity and powerful performance.


The Elegant and Unique Design of the Facel Vega HK500


The Facel Vega HK500 is a luxury car that was produced in the 1950s and 1960s by French manufacturer Facel Vega. It was designed to be a high-performance grand tourer that could compete with the likes of Aston Martin and Bentley. The HK500 featured a sleek and elegant design, with a long hood and distinctive grille.


One of the unique features of the Facel Vega HK500 was its use of a Chrysler V8 engine. This American engine provided the HK500 with impressive performance capabilities, allowing it to reach speeds of over 140 mph. The car also featured luxurious interior appointments, with leather upholstery and wood trim.


The Facel Vega HK500 gained popularity among the elite in the 1950s and 1960s, with its combination of performance and luxury making it a desirable choice. However, production was limited, with only around 500 HK500s being produced before the company ceased operations in 1964. Today, the HK500 is highly sought after by collectors for its elegant design and historical significance.


The Futuristic Features of the Tucker 48


The Tucker 48, also known as the Tucker Torpedo, is a car that was produced in the 1940s by American manufacturer Tucker Corporation. It was designed to be a revolutionary car that incorporated advanced safety features and innovative design elements. The Tucker 48 featured a rear-mounted engine, a third headlight that turned with the steering wheel, and a padded dashboard for improved safety.


One of the unique features of the Tucker 48 was its rear-mounted engine. This design allowed for better weight distribution and improved handling, as well as increased passenger safety in the event of a collision. The car also featured a padded dashboard, which was designed to reduce the risk of injury in the event of a crash.


The Tucker 48 gained popularity among car enthusiasts who were intrigued by its futuristic features and innovative design. However, production was halted due to financial difficulties and legal issues, and only 51 Tucker 48s were produced before the company went bankrupt in 1949. Today, the Tucker 48 is considered a rare and valuable collector's car, with its unique design and historical significance making it highly desirable.


Conclusion


In conclusion, the world of obscure cars is a fascinating and diverse one. These vehicles may not be widely known or recognized, but they have a dedicated following of enthusiasts who appreciate their unique designs, features, and histories. From the retro-futuristic charm of the Bricklin SV-1 to the elegant and unique design of the Facel Vega HK500, each obscure car has its own story to tell.


Despite their lack of popularity, these obscure cars are still relevant today. They serve as a reminder of the innovation and creativity that can be found in the automotive industry, and they offer a unique ownership experience that is not easily replicated with more mainstream vehicles. Whether it's the sleek and sporty lines of the Vector W8 or the revolutionary design of the Tatra T87, these cars continue to captivate and inspire car enthusiasts around the world.


In the end, the world of obscure cars is a testament to the power of individuality and the enduring appeal of the unconventional. These cars may not have achieved widespread recognition or commercial success, but they have left a lasting impact on the automotive industry and continue to be cherished by those who appreciate their obscure charm. So, the next time you come across an obscure car, take a moment to appreciate its unique design and the story it has to tell.

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