Michael ByersCar and Driver
From the December 2022 issue of Car and Driver.
Cryptozoology is the study of animals that don’t exist. Bigfoot, Nessie, Mothman—creatures just a little bigger and stranger than anything else on earth. Some people claim they do exist; it’s just that nobody has evidence beyond a fuzzy old camcorder clip and some photos or castings of footprints that probably belong to a bear.
Cryptohypercarology is something we made up, a study of the kinds of mythical automotive creations most of us will never see, except in shaky amateur videos. Are they super? Hyper? Über? Are they even street legal? Will they ever be more than one-offs on the Concept Car Lawn at Pebble Beach? We want to believe. Here’s a guide for spotting some real monsters.
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below
Like all rare creatures, hypercars have native territories. Some you’d expect, like Italy and the lands surrounding Silverstone Circuit. Others are more surprising. Croatia? Denmark? If you want to see flocks in person, they tend to migrate to places like Monaco and Dubai. There’ll be plenty of YouTube videos proving their existence too.
Aston Martin Valkyrie
Aston Martin touts the Valkyrie as a street-legal Formula 1 car, but we’re struggling to remember the era of 6.5-liter V-12s. What are F1-ish are the Cosworth-designed engine, the push-button hybrid boost function, and Red Bull Racing’s involvement in development. With only 150 coupes and 85 Spiders, you likely won’t see it
on public roads—especially with that low front splitter, which could take seal coat off a road.
ORIGIN: United Kingdom PRICE: $3.0M POWER OUTPUT: 1140 hp
60-MPH ESTIMATE: 2.5 sec TOP-SPEED CLAIM: 250 mph
Touted as the first human-AI-designed and 3-D-printed hypercar, the 21C is a seedpod from an alien world. Driver and passenger sit single file in front of a twin-turbo 2.9-liter V-8 with a flat-plane crank that turns it up to 11 (thousand rpm). Two electric motors power the front wheels, and mile-a-minute velocity comes in under two seconds. With just 80 examples set to be produced, look for Czingers as they hatch behind a terrified newscaster and the invasion begins. Remember, Czinger, we’re friendlies.
ORIGIN: United States PRICE: $2.0M POWER OUTPUT: 1250 or 1350 hp 60-MPH CLAIM: 1.9 sec TOP-SPEED CLAIM: 253 mph
Hennessey Venom F5
The Venom F5 seems like something you’d carjack in Grand Theft Auto. Hennessey claims the roadster variant is the fastest, most powerful convertible in the world, and unlike many of the creatures on this list, it does without electric-motor assistance. Power comes from a twin-turbo 6.6-liter V-8 with an 8500-rpm redline. Given the goal of 311 mph, if you happen to see one of the 54 Venoms, it will be a blur.
ORIGIN: United States PRICE: $2.1M+ POWER OUTPUT: 1817 hp 60-MPH CLAIM: 2.6 sec TOP-SPEED CLAIM: 311+ mph
The Jesko’s V-8 isn’t your typical five-oh. With two turbos and 1280 horsepower (1600 when burning E85), it’s more like five-O-M-G. Using Koenigsegg’s own nine-speed Light Speed Transmission, the Jesko is capable of 300 mph. The 125 production versions should be reaching customers soon, and we hope to encounter one pulling g’s on Mulholland Highway. With three in its name, it’s got some to spare.
ORIGIN: Sweden PRICE: $3.0M POWER OUTPUT: 1280 hp 60-MPH ESTIMATE: 2.5 sec TOP-SPEED CLAIM: 300 mph
Remember the Lotus Elise? A cute little sports car with only 190 horsepower that weighed less than 2000 pounds? This isn’t that. The Evija is an electric beast that weighs almost twice as much and churns out more than 10 times the power. Add lightness? Try madness. Those air tunnels should have afterburners, not taillights. With only 130 slated for production (its internal code is Type 130), you have a better chance of spotting a snow leopard playing Keepy Uppy with a coelacanth.
ORIGIN: United Kingdom PRICE: $2.3M POWER OUTPUT: 1973 hp 60-MPH ESTIMATE: 2.5 sec TOP-SPEED CLAIM: 200+ mph
Remember 2017? Of course not; everyone’s oldest memory is buying bulk sweatpants in 2020. Mercedes started the AMG One back when we wore real clothes. You can ID the rare bird by the hybrid 1.6-liter V-6 pulled from the championship-winning Mercedes-AMG F1 car. Lewis Hamilton ordered two, and other owners include David Coulthard and Nico Rosberg. Where to see one of the 275 examples? At the F1 drivers’ planned retirement community.
ORIGIN: Germany PRICE: $2.7M POWER OUTPUT: 1049 hp 60-MPH CLAIM: 2.9 sec TOP-SPEED CLAIM: 219 mph
With an electric motor (sourced from Rimac) at every wheel producing a combined 1877 horsepower, the fun-to-pronounce Pininfarina Battista nearly has the equivalent of a Ferrari F40 at each corner. It’s one of the most elegant machines on this list. We expect to see the 150 examples cruising low-emission zones in high-rent neighborhoods or outside the Monte Carlo Casino as the owner tosses away a GDP-sized fortune at the baccarat table.
ORIGIN: Italy PRICE: $2.2M POWER OUTPUT: 1877 hp 60-MPH CLAIM: 1.8 sec TOP-SPEED CLAIM: 217 mph
At age 34, Mate Rimac has vaulted to the top of the list of hypercar builders and taken control of Bugatti. His four-motor EV can break every state’s speed limit by the time you finish reading this sentence. Its alleged top speed is higher than an AH-64 Apache’s. Where do we ever expect to see one of the 150 Neveras slated for production? Hopefully, on unrestricted sections of the autobahn as the passenger maps a route to the nearest DC fast-charger.
ORIGIN: Croatia PRICE: $2.0M POWER OUTPUT: 1813 hp 60-MPH CLAIM: 1.9 sec TOP-SPEED CLAIM: 258 mph
Think you’ve spotted a Zenvo? The TSR-S has a distinctive mating dance, part peacock spider and part high-wire balancing act. We’re getting used to active aero, but when the Zenvo takes a corner, the wing doesn’t just change its angle of attack, it tilts dramatically from side to side, like a playground teeter-totter. Out of 10 planned TSR-series cars, eight are sold, but there’s still time to claim the last two. Maybe you’ll get lucky and snag a breeding pair.
ORIGIN: Denmark PRICE: $1.7M POWER OUTPUT: 1177 hp 60-MPH CLAIM: 2.8 sec TOP-SPEED CLAIM: 202 mph
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below