We are very quick and happy to identify luxury sports car brands when we see them on the road because it's always an awesome experience. I don't know about you but I go crazy whenever a supercar drives past me in Lagos, Nigeria where I live.
The first road cars produced by these companies were the beginning of the greatness we see today, so, I felt it would be nice if we could learn about those historic cars that paved way for the beautifully styled luxury sports cars existing now. This is presented in countdown format with no particular order except for number 1 which is a surprise.
To know why this article is important, check out what it takes to build a modern supercar here :
First cars built by luxury brands
The Koenigsegg is a Swedish Supercar manufacturer founded by Von Christian Koenigsegg, who initially started a successful food exporting business across Europe. Some you might also know about thư Swedish manufacturer as the owner of the fastest production car: the Koenigsegg Agera RS or the most expensive car key: Koenigsegg Regera's key.
On August 12, 1994, the 22-year-old followed his dream and in 1966 the first Koenigsegg CC prototype was displayed in public. Afterwards, in the year 2000, the first production car prototype by Koenigsegg was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in September.
Christian Von Koenigsegg with the CC Prototype (Source: Car Throttle)
In 2002, the CC8S became the first production car by Koenigsegg which was developed in-house in Koenigsegg's new plant located in South-West Sweden in a town called Margretetorp. The engine was built based on the modular Ford V8 engines with a reverse engineering approach so that it could pass emission regulations.
A Koenigsegg CC8S
The development of this car above took 8 years as this was Christian's goal from the inception of his car building company: a full production supercar that was road legal. The CC8S pioneered the detachable carbon-fiber roof and also the popular dihedral actuation doors that Koenigsegg has become very notable for today.
Dihedral actuation doors on the Koenigsegg Regera (Source: Autoevolution)
Koenigsegg also invented a Rocket Cat system for the exhaust so that it will have a free flow and still fit a catalytic converter which was standard for the road-legal production car. This simple solution with no moving parts increased the power output of this car by almost 100hp.
The CC8S produced 655hp from its V8 engine, accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in under 3.5 seconds and has a top speed of 390km/hr. This car received a Guinness World Record for the Most Powerful Production Engine in 2002.
A Koenigsegg in Nigeria? None yet! but I came across a Nigerian that posed with a Koenigsegg CCXR Triveta that Mayweather was about to acquire, worth over ₦1,752,000,000.
This man sells cars to Floyd Mayweather, awesome! Obi Okeke is his name
Bugatti is often mistaken for an Italian car manufacturer by most of us, I don't know if it's the name or the design of the cars that makes people trace it to Italian origins. Talking about Italy, it is the country that gave birth to the most Supercar manufacturers in the world today with the popular ones being Ferrari, Lamborghini, Pagani, DeTomaso, and Maserati. I hope the Covid-19 pandemic that has impacted car makers in Italy, and taken over Italy, leaves as suddenly as it appeared.
Ettore Bugatti posing with a Bugatti car (Motor Valley)
Let the truth be known today. Bugatti was founded by Ettore Bugatti in France, who was a car design enthusiast that was already building internal combustion-engined carts and three-wheelers that were winning local racing competitions.
In 1900, Ettore wanted to build a race car with a special type of internal combustion engine. He achieved this a year later with the Gulinelli brothers. The car was named the Bugatti Type 2, which had a four-speed gearbox coupled to a four-cylinder overhead-valve engine and a variety of engineering improvements that only a gifted builder could possibly have come up with. It won an award from the Automobile French Club later that year.
The Bugatti Type 2 (Source: Bugatti)
After this, Ettore sold the production rights to De Dietrich but the deal didn't go through.
We all know Bugatti today keeps releasing cars that break world records, from the Bugatti Veyron Supersport to the Bugatti Chiron, and I would like to answer one question; "is the Bugatti in Nigeria ?" Of course, yes! There are Bugatti Veyrons in Abuja owned by Nigerians who are supercar enthusiasts. These cars cost over ₦300,000,000 because they are very scarce and limited in sales around the world.
A Bugatti Veyron in Nigeria alongside other supercars (Source: Gidicars)
>>> You might also like to read: 10 facts about the Bugatti Chiron setting new world speed record at 304mph
4. McLaren Automotive
McLaren Automotive is different from McLaren racing, and as we can see, they even have different Instagram pages. The Mclaren company was founded by Bruce McLaren as a race car development company in 1963. Bruce was a racecar driver for the Cooper racing team.
Different IG pages for the different McLaren auto companies
A classic McLaren racecar
Bruce founded McLaren when he needed to build more powerful cars for a race Cooper wasn't interested in. In 1980, Ron Dennis who was a team mechanic at Cooper moved to McLaren and 5 years after he started, founded McLaren Automotive as a company to develop road-legal production cars. In 1987, Gordon Murray accepted a job offer to become technical director at McLaren Automotive, and one day in 1988, he sketched his dream car, which was a 3-seater supercar that could go on the road.
Gordon Murray showing Ron Dennis the F1 design (Source: McLaren)
Gordon Murray pitched the idea to his boss Ron and started working on the car. In 1992 the car was ready and was announced on the 28th of May that year.
The McLaren F1 had a 3-seat arrangement that placed the driver at the centre just for perfect outward visibility and was very lightweight just for better performance.
The interior of the McLaren F1
McLaren used Honda engines in all its race cars but this time HONDA couldn't deliver the engine Murray wanted so an engine from the BMW S70 which was a 6.1-litre V12 engine producing 618hp was used.
The F1 does a 0- 62mph sprint in just 3.2 seconds with its 6-speed manual gearbox, and in 1998, a famous world record was set by the F1 reaching a top speed of 240mph driven by Andy-Wallace at Volkswagen's Ehra-Lessien test track. This record was later beaten by the Bugatti Veyron on the same track.
The McLaren F1
The F1 holds the record of the fastest naturally aspirated production car ever made until date with just 106 units produced and sold worldwide. Don't worry, none came to Nigeria but we have a couple of McLarens in Nigeria though.
Here is a picture of an abandoned McLaren MP4-12C that was later restored by Senator Dino Melaye. I really don't know how it happened but will find out soon enough.
Abandoned McLaren MP4-12C in Nigeria
Dino Melaye with the same car re-painted
>>> Also check out:
- Another day, another astounding show-off post by Dino Melaye, today see his Mclaren MP14\
- [Photos] Senator Dino’s lavish collection of luxury vehicles
Maserati was founded in 1914 in Bologna, Italy, the same year Nigeria's amalgamation happened. The four Maserati brothers, who were all associated with building cars, started this company. It was solely focused on developing race circuit cars and custom building of road cars.
In 1946, under the control of Ernesto Maserati and ownership of the Orsis family, a Prototype of the Maserati A6, first Pininfarina Gran Turismo Maserati was produced for daily use. The body was designed by Pinin Farina and was unveiled at the 1947 Geneva Auto Show painted in grey.
The Maserati A6/1500
It was powered by a 1.5-litre aluminium 6 cylinder engine that produced only 65hp coupled to a 4 -speed manual gearbox. Ernesto wanted his cars on the roads of Italy after World War II and that worked for Maserati just fine, and even more so because the A6 had some competition models that were built to race.
Interior of the Maserati A6 (Source: Wheels Age)
The production of the A6 lasted between 1946 and 1950 with just 60 cars in total produced, and it is doubtful whether any came to Nigeria because the car was strictly made for Italians. We have a couple of Maseratis in Nigeria, ranging from the Ghibli to the Gran-Turismo.
The Lamborghini as an Automobile manufacturer was borne out of pure rivalry with Ferrari. This was due to Enzo Ferrari rudely addressing Ferrucio Lamborghini about not knowing how a sportscar should be built when Ferrucio complained to Enzo concerning his newly acquired Ferrari sports car. History has it that Mr Enzo Ferrari was a very badly behaved person.
In 1963, Lamborghini which was a tractor manufacturer developed its first car with the pure intent of beating Ferrari at practicality. Ferrucio had enough money to venture into this business so he did it right by acquiring a brand new factory at Sant'Agata not far from Modena Italy where Ferrari was born.
The Lamborghini 350 GTV Prototype
The 350 GTV above made its debut at the 1963 Turin Auto Show but Mr Ferrucio wasn't happy with its design and engine because it wasn't practical, so he had the designer Carrozzeira Sargiato downgrade the engine to 270hp and redesigned the body. 2 years after this, it resulted in the first production car by Lamborghini, the GT 350.
The Lamborghini 350 GT (Source: Pinterest)
The GT350 had a conventional grille, slightly frog eye-shaped headlights, 2 seats and a lot of inspiration from the Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato in terms of appearance. It featured a 3.5-litre 12-cylinder engine mated onto a 5-speed ZF gearbox and only 120 units were produced in the 2 years before the GT 400 took over.
Today, we'd find a lot of Lamborghinis in Nigeria because it is a reputable sports luxury car manufacturer that Nigerians appreciate because of their unique and practical designs.
Special Lamborghini Aventador Mansory in Nigeria
>>> You might find this post interesting: These 13 little-known facts about car will blow your mind!
Honorable Mention: Innoson
This is a special appearance, haha! Innoson is Nigeria's only indigenous automobile manufacturer that started its production in 2013 with its plant located in Nnewi, Anambra state. Though its production is not even 50% locally sourced, they still deserve a place alongside others in this list as a big Nigerian pride! We always hope the manufactures will thrive and bring Nigeria closer to international buyers.
A range of Innoson Motors(Source: Ventures Africa)
All the models of Innoson since their production started are very limited in number. Remember I said it is a special appearance? Its first production car is not defined. It was a series of cars and buses.
Ferrari is the most popular name in the world of racing today because of its pure racing history that was first led by Enzo Ferrari, a race car driver and designer that founded the Scuderia Ferrari, racing team. Enzo Ferrari founded Ferrari in 1939 while he was closely working with Alfa Romeo's racing division in 1947, Ferrari's first badged car was produced "125 S." The 125 S was a 1.5L V12 sports car.
The Ferrari 166 Inter became the first road car by Ferrari in 1948 carrying a V-12 engine with a coach built by Italian's best Carrozzeira. The 166 Inter sold alongside Ferrari race cars which had similar engineering.
The Ferrari 166 Inter
Ferrari was always focused more on racing than the production of road cars so the company funded the racing division totally with profit from its production cars after Alfa Romeo withdrew its support for the Ferrari racing team. You would easily find a Ferrari in Lagos or Abuja because they are very easy to acquire and are kind of practical for driving in Nigeria.
A Ferrari 488 Italia in Lagos
A recap on the first cars by luxury car manufacturers
|1||Koenigsegg||Koenigsegg CC prototype||1966||Sweden|
|2||Bugatti||Bugatti Type 2||1901||France|
|3||McLaren Automotive||McLaren F1||1992||England|
|5||Lamborghini||Lamborghini 350 GTV||1963||Italy|
|6||Ferrari||Ferarri 166 Inter||1948||Italy|