by Doug Breithaupt
Porsche 959 - Hot Wheels
Ferrari F40 - Matchbox
Jaguar XJ220R - Matchbox
Honda NSX-R - Motor Max
|In the late 1980's, Porsche built the amazing 959 'supercar'. Un-like previous
sports cars or even Porsches, the 959 was something special. It was produced
in very limited numbers at a price that far exceeded that of standard Porsche
models. The success of the 959 as a 'halo' car for Porsche motivated other
auto producers to create their own 'super-exotic' models. Ferrari followed
with the F40 and Jaguar with the XJ220. Honda countered with a far less
expensive model, the NSX, which still out-preformed the best of Europe and
America. Dodge put a roof on their Viper and created the GTS, in the same
price-range as the NSX. McLaren stole the show with their F1 street car
at cool $1 million a pop. Reeves Calloway changed the standard Corvette
into a limited-edition exotic with his C7R while Steve Saleen is producing
the Saleen S7 with Ford power.
This is by no means a complete list of the Super-Exotics of the late '80'-early '90's. Bugatti, Vector, and many other boutique manufacturers dreamed of riches from a super-exotic car. Few survived.
While most of the super-exotics were not designed with racing in mind, their speed and style begged for track time. Porsche raced and rallied the 959 with success in the brutal Paris-Dakar. Ferrari F40 models were raced by privateers. jaguar took the XJ220R to LeMans and won 1st in class, until a technicality stole the trophy. Honda's NSX became the NSX-R and has raced at Daytona and LeMans. The Dodge Viper GTS-R was one of the most successful with numerous victories including class wins at LeMans and an overall win at Daytona. The McLaren F1 took LeMans by storm and finished 1-2-3 in 1995. The Calloway C7R also raced at LeMans and the Saleen S7 is currently racing in many GT events with some success.
The toy racers shown here indicate the racing success of these super-exotics. Hot Wheels did the Porsche 959 and Calloway C7R in racing colors. Matchbox offered an actual example of the LeMans Jaguar XJ220R in a Jaguar set. They also did a racy Ferrari F40 but it lacks numbers. The Dodge Viper GTS-R by Johnny Lightning is an excellent replica of Oreca Team car from LeMans. The Motor Max Honda NSX-R and Saleen S7 are very nicely done but the S7 comes only in street clothes. The Pioneer McLaren F1 is a bit crude but represent one of only 2 models of the F1 in 1:64 scale. The second is an excellent model by Minichamps that continues to escape my collection.
New super-exotics are on the way. Ferrari's Enzo (Hot Wheels 2003) is production-ready and Porsche, Bentley, Bugatti, VW (W12 by Matchbox 2002) are readying their latest exotic sports cars. It's an easy bet that some of these new models will end up on the track too.
McLaren F1 - Pioneer
Dodge Viper GTS-R - Johnny Lightning
Calloway C7R - Hot Wheels
Saleen S7 - Motor Max