Taking a decidedly different approach to automobile design is Tesla Motors, Inc., an American car manufacturer and energy storage company. Though Tesla is a publicly traded company, co-founder Elon Musk leveraged the company’s knowledge of electric power solutions to create fully electric vehicles with performance and range that eclipse products from established manufacturers. Its most famous products are the Roadster and the Model S four-door luxury sedan. The vehicles are marketed in boutiques, not dealerships, situated in high-end areas where car showrooms are not present.
Hennessey Performance Engineering is an American tuning house specializing in modifying sports and super cars. Unlike tuning houses Shelby or Callaway that focus on tuning Ford and Chevrolet, Hennessey works on a wide variety of brands from Ferraris to Jeeps. Its proudest creation is the Venom GT, based on a Lotus Exige, that set a Guinness world record in 2013 for the fastest production car, with a 0–300km/h acceleration time of 13.63 seconds. It also has an unofficial top speed record of 435 km/h.
Pagani Automobili was founded by former Lamborghini designer Horacio Pagani. The brand is known for its otherworldly design aesthetic, blending sharp wedge shapes, reminiscent of the Lamborghini Countach, with spherical cabins. The interiors of the vehicles have also been widely praised for their retro style and functionality. The vehicles make extensive use of carbon fiber and are powered by massive Mercedes-Benz-sourced engines as large as 7.2-liters.
Founding his own car company in 1994 at the age of just 22, Christian von Koenigsegg (a name which translates to “king of kings”) set about creating the ultimate car. With a small team, he set about building his supercar piece by piece, with the chassis, suspension, brakes, wishbone uprights, and many other items all custom designed for the car. The prototype was totally original and was completed in 1996, just two years after the project began. Its production version, the CCR, broke the Guinness record for the fastest production car in the world, attaining a speed of 388 km/h in 2005. Koenigsegg’s cars have been prominently featured in numerous movies such as The Fast and Furious and Need for Speed.
This article first appeared in Vault Magazine Issue 20 2015.