3 interesting and rare Supercars you need to know about
The motive behind this article is not bemusing. Its predominant purpose is not to enlighten you on the boring 0-60 times or the number of superchargers but to highlight the turn of events that unfolded during the planning and development stages of these extreme machines.
We kick start today's special with the Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR. In the year 1998, what could a sum of 1.1 million pounds get you? A medium-sized yacht, yup;a grand apartment in central London, hmm...maybe; a CLK-GTR ?, Obviously!
The CLK-GTR was the same car that helped Mercedes win two consecutive 24 hr Le Mans races in the 90's. Instead of building one unit as per the regulations to contest in the races, Mercedes made 25 examples. The CLK-GTR wasn't sold in showrooms. Twenty five numbers meant they were 'offered' to the extra-ordinarily exclusive bunch of their 'clients.'
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The car was put together in batches of 3 at Mercedes' AMG facility near Stuttgart, Germany. Each batch taking a time period of up to 4 weeks to finish, engineers played craftsmen and toiled to attain precision of the highest order. Modifications included a body shell made of Kevlar, a modified suspension to increase ride height for road use. Similarly sports seats, 3-pointed seat belts and dual airbags were the additions which assisted in making the car fit for the road.
A carbon fiber monocoque kept weight under check and housed a mammoth 6.8-liter engine developed by Ilmor engineering. Power was sent through a 6-speed manual gearbox which could be controlled by the driver via paddles placed behind the steering wheel.
There were key differences between the Mclaren F1 and the CLK-GTR. In fact, the purposes behind these car shared little in common. Both the cars had big engines that developed a million horsepower and both were aerodynamically efficient and used advanced technology, but that's were the similarities terminated. The Mclaren F1 was a road car built borrowing race car technology while the CLK-GTR was a race car which was tamed for use on the motorways. Power brakes, power steering and traction control aided the cause, which the Mclaren F1 lacked.
Jaguars are visually stunning and sensational in terms of performance. Leave alone the fact that their ownership changed several hands and were monetarily challenged on multiple occasions, Jags have shown how beautiful cars can be.
For three straight years, the Jaguar XJ220 wore the crown of the world's fastest production car before being tipped by none other than the Mclaren F1. The interesting story began one fine day in the year 1984 when Jag's director of engineering Jim Randle, hit upon a creative idea of creating a 500 bhp supercar. In the mid-80's, Jaguar was deeply engrossed in the work cut out for them and a supercar wasn't in any way associated to their agenda. After a few discussions, Jag planned to get together on Saturday mornings to work on this dream project and it took four long years to realize it.
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The mid-engined 6.2-liter V12 supercar was displayed for the first time at the Birmingham Motor show in 1988. Sporting a stylish design and a much hyped scissor doors, its top speed was estimated to be well over the 200 mph mark.
Ford acquired Jaguar in 1989 but nevertheless, they too found this idea interesting and set out to produce it. But the production version had its differences to the concept car. It was eight inches shorter and the V12 was stripped and instead, a twin turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 filled the void. With that said, there was no compromise on power. The engine was powerful enough to generate 524 bhp which could take the beast to a record shattering 213 mph. 0-100 mph came in an eye-blinking 8 seconds! (Let's remind ourselves that we are in 1991)
Customers and motoring journalists adored the new supercar which was quite comfortable too. The only bad bit was the exhaust note which sounded a little non-supercarish (we made up that word). The XJ220 costed the earth. At 403,000 pounds it wasn't cheap. Sadly a lot of controversy surrounded this supercar after they sold a few and production was halted right after the 275th model was put together in 1994. 350 numbers were proposed initially.
A disguised version of the XJ220, the XJ220-C was a lighter car which emerged the winner at Le Mans in 1994 but was later disqualified due to a technicality. All in all, the XJ220 was the best supercar Jag made and the best ever made, some say. It had to bite the dust due to controversies and problems, a death that can be described unfortunate.
Ford has always been conceived as a brand that makes cars for the average man. The reason for this has been their racing background which is nothing to write home about. The same problem plagued them in the 60's and when they were looking at seriously contending in the Le Mans 24 hr races, they had nothing but a clean sheet of paper at the design table.
To gather pace, Ford acquired rights to the Lola 63, a car that a had a poor showing in the earlier years at Le Mans. Using this car as a platform, Ford developed a very successful race car - a car that dominated the 24 hr races for 4 straight years. Yes, we are talking about the Ford GT40.
40 years later in 2002, Bill Ford unveiled the Ford GT concept car at the American Motorshow and a mere 45 days later, they announced that a production model was heading right to the showrooms in a short while. The new car was similar in appearance to the original car and the performance figures weren't too far off either.
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Taller and longer than the original, the Ford GT was what one would term as a charming hooligan. The performance figures would leave one with a wide open mouth. Powered by Ford's biggest V8, the all-aluminium 5.4-liter engine produced a whopping 540 bhp pushing it into the league of engines with 100 or more bhp per liter.
An Eaton screw-type supercharger was the culprit behind the mountain of power and all of it was transferred to the rear wheels through an advanced six-speed trans-axle and a helical limited slip differential, the sort of stuff that would make an automobile engineer jump up and down with
The advanced technology wasn't restricted to the inner mechanicals. Superplastic-formed aluminium body panels reduced overall weight while simultaneously enhancing looks. The underbody design was new which took care of the rear-end lift, a problem that troubled the 60's GT.
These machines are special and unique. They give a whole new identity to the term 'Supercars,' while showcasing how much technology has affected performance figures which is at present in a new level altogether.