Here at Cheat Sheet, we have provided coverage of some of the world’s greatest hypercars. It’s time to learn about the brands behind the brawn. As with the epitome of any industry, there are few players and lots of attention, which can lead to some colorful characters. Here is your guide to the top four names to know in the boutique hypercar world.
Started in 1994 by Christian Von Koenigsegg at the ripe old age of 22(!), Koenigsegg burst onto the world stage with the debut of the CC in 1997. Many components of the car, including the chassis and suspension setup, were designed and built in-house by Christian and his team. In the past twenty years, Koenigsegg has become well known in the automotive world for producing hypercars with outrageous performance and meticulous attention to detail. According to Koenigsegg, “The fruit of this philosophy, this painstaking attention to detail, is a meticulously crafted and prepared car with extreme performance. At Koenigsegg, we always strive for the best performance and the highest standards in the world.” The brand’s current thoroughbred, the One:1, represents a large step forward in the evolution of exclusively internal combustion powered cars. Oh, and they are housed in an old Swedish fighter jet factory, so you can fly your private jet or helicopter right to the front door.
Pagani became known to most people via BBC’s Top Gear. It was featured in several episodes in Series 5 of the show. However, it was actually covered in the very first episode and called “the King of Supercars” by Jeremy Clarkson. This episode aired in 2002, and Clarkson was driving the C12 S 7.3 variety of the Zonda, which had debuted earlier that year. The Zonda, brainchild of Horacio Pagani, had premiered in its initial incarnation in 1999. Unlike Koenigsegg, Pagani had worked on high-end cars for nearly nine years before starting to develop the Zonda. He was responsible for the design of the Lamborghini Countach Anniversary and was a key player in the design and production of the carbon fiber bodywork of the Diablo. His company, Pagani Composite Research, had a strong relationship with Lamborghini and provided him with the technical knowledge needed to utilize carbon fiber, and later carbotanium, on his cars. Pagani iterated on the Zonda concept for twelve years (1999 to 2011) before debuting the sequel, the Huayra, which is pronounced “why-air-ra” with no accent. That car currently holds the record for the fastest Power Lap time around the Top Gear Test Track.
3. Hennessey Performance
Hennessey is the only American brand on this list. I’m willing to bet that its founder, John Hennessey, doesn’t mind one bit. A former racer with a highly competitive edge, Hennessey got his start modifying import cars. In the early 1990s, a customer who was looking to get more out of a Dodge Viper approached him. The Viper Venom 500 was born and thus began a love affair with American cars. The vast majority of the product offerings from HP are based on American cars, with two notable exceptions: the GT-R and the Venom GT, which is based on a Lotus Exige. The Venom GT is the reason HP is on this list. It is a modified Lotus Exige with a twin-turbo V8 producing 1244 HP and, according to HP, a “stereo system designed by Steven Tyler of Aerosmith.” The Venom GT reached a speed of 270.49 miles per hour during 2014. It did not dethrone the Bugatti Veyron SuperSport (267.857 miles per hour) as the Guinness World Record holder because it was only allowed one run and Guinness requires a two-way run to verify the speed and eliminate the impact of wind or elevation changes. HP plans a follow-up to the Venom GT with the Venom F5, which focuses on “raising the performance bar even higher.” It was slated for debut in 2015.
A very new name to the Hypercar world, Jim Glickenhaus has been straying from convention at every turn. He took his wealth, built in the investment sector, and has created some of the most innovative project cars in the world. His first, the Ferrari P 4/5 by Pininfarina, showcased a retro style that recalled other one-off creations from days past. The success of that project inspired him to continue the partnership with Paolo Garella, who was the head of Special Projects at Pininfarina. The next car focused on racing, and the P 4/5 Competizone was born. Glickenhaus has been in the news lately because of his newest model, the Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus 003 (SCG 003 for short). It will come in both Competizone (C) and Street (S) versions. Dates have not been announced for when it will be unveiled, but based on the success of his other projects, it’s safe to say that the worlds of hypercar makers and buyers are paying very close attention.
There are many other boutique super and hypercar makers out there, as well as plenty of exciting cars coming from the major brands, but these four are some of the names to be sure you know. Long story short, if you have millions to spend on a car and won’t settle for anything less than an extraordinary machine, you won’t find yourself wanting.