Several little-known brands (some more than others) had a go at the supercar elite in the '90s. Here are 9 of the most fearsome.
To compete in GT racing, British marque Lister had to homologate its appropriately titled Storm, meaning it had to produce some cars for sale to the public. The road-going Storm was the result, but only 4 were reportedly ever made from 1993 to 1994 and it's said (and sad) that only 3 survive.
It was quite a thing, fitted with the largest V12 engine in a road-going car since WW2, a 7.0L unit based on the V12 fitted to the Jaguar XJR-9 Le Mans racing car. It pumped out 407kW in roadgoing trim and had a top speed of 335kph! For the brave...
Everyone remembers the XJ220, but the XJR-15, of which only 53 were made is far less well-known. It was built by Jaguar Sport, a subsidiary of Jaguar and TWR (Tom Walkinshaw Racing) between 1990 and 1992 and was based on the chassis of the Le Mans-winning XJR-9.
The striking design was courtesy of Peter Stevens, who famously also worked with Gordon Murray on the McLaren F1. Its naturally aspirated 6.0L V12 developed 336kW, powering the lightweight (lots of carbonfibre) XJR-15 to 100kph in just over 3 seconds and on to a top speed of around 310kph.
Isdera Commendatore 112i
In some ways Isdera can be seen as a forerunner to today's Pagani. The German company's first car, the Imperator 108i was based on a stillborn Mercedes-Benz concept, and the Commendatore is its supposed successor. Unfortunately, there weren't enough takers, so only one concept and one production unit were built, interestingly featuring Mercedes-Benz badging. It was dubbed the Silver Arrow and featured a 6.9L version of the M120 V12.
But back to the Commendatore 112i. Developed with Mercedes-Benz's blessing, the Isdera featured the German marque's 6.0L M120 V12 which later also appeared in the Pagani Zonda S. In the 112i the engine developed 304kW and 580Nm.
Famously labelled the "worst car ever tested" by US magazine Autoweek, the Vector M12 was the first effort from the American supercar marque after its take-over by Indonesian group, Megatech.
17 cars were produced in total but the project reached a dead-end when Vector could no longer pay Lamborghini for parts. You see, the M12's centrally-mounted V12 came from the Diablo (as did much else), and developed 367kW and 576Nm of torque. Vector claimed a top speed of 304kph.
And the styling? Well, Peter Stevens was called in to do what he could to save the awkward-looking, fibre-glass bodied machine, but it ain't no beauty.
The bizarre-looking OX99-11 is essentially a road-going (just) version of the Sasol-sponsored Jordan Yamaha that raced in F1 in the early '90s, and not very successfully so. Nevertheless, the Japanese marque wanted to make a statement and contracted the highly respected IAD to do the design work, but then a fall-out occurred which saw the project handed over to its own Ypsilon Technology, along with a strict timeline. But with a financial crisis in Japan the project was first delayed, then cancelled, with only 3 of these fantastically bizarre beasts built.
Its 3.5L V12 developed 300kW in road-going form.
Here's a '90s supercar that's a little harder to forget, because it was a great card to have in your hand in a round of Top Trumps. Famed designer Marcello Gandini was apparently not very impressed when new bosses Chrysler softened his proposed design for the then-new Diablo, so he teamed up with Claudio Zampolli (Countach designer) and Giorgio Moroder, a German music composer, to form a new company and build a car using, essentially, the original design for the Diablo.
The result was the Cizeta-Moroder V16T, powered by a 6.0L V16 engine that gave the outrageous wedge-shaped car the ability to get to 328kph. 20 units were built from 1991 to 1995, but here's something even more outrageous... you can still order a new Cizeta V16T! Production resumed, in America, in 2006...
TVR Cerbera Speed-12
This is a car that according to Martin Brundle required "big balls" to drive. Even according to then TVR chairman, Peter Wheeler, it was unusable on the road as it was too powerful. Conceived as Project 7/12 the Speed 12 was planned to be the basis for a GT1 class racer and the fastest roadgoing supercar. Sadly, rule changes and a problem-plagued development process resulted in the project being canned.
Powered by a thundering 7.7L V12, the Speed 12 was claimed to be faster than the McLaren F1, but it would've taken a brave man to take it to its maximum. Several prototypes were built, but only one was ever sold to a member of the public, and only after Peter Wheeler himself first made sure the individual was up to it...
To gain entry into Le Mans and to comply with Grand Touring racing rules, Nissan had to build its then-new racer on the base of a road-going car. The result was the R390, of which only one road-going version was ever constructed and which is still owned by Nissan.
The road car is powered by the same twin-turbo 3.5L V8 as the racing machine, and has a power output of 410kW and 637Nm of torque, all going to the rear wheels. Nissan claimed a 354kph top speed, but this remains unverified.
Bugatti EB 110
What? A forgotten Bugatti? Well... not really, but it could be argued that the EB110 and its Super Sport sibling haven't yet received the attention they deserve. Pre-dating the marque's resurrection under Volkswagen, the EB110 was the only car built under the Romano Artioli-led '90s rebirth.
The car used a quad-turbocharged 3.5L V12 that in the Super Sport developed 450kW, giving the Bugatti serious performance, with a 0-100kph time of 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 355kph. Michael Schumacher famously bought an EB110.