Making in the world today takes everything you've got, and sometimes even that's not enough, especially in the car business. There are plenty of would-be car companies that never quite get out of the gates, and that's why not everyone can do it. In fact, there are a few manufacturers that only built one model and then rode off into that oil-tainted sunset. Here are the ones that stood out.
If you're lucky enough to see a Fisker Karma driving around your neck of the woods, it's a pretty special sight since they're not made anymore. Only 200 of them were made in 2011 and a scant 1,600 in 2012. The electric Karma was built by former Aston Martin execs (see the resemblance) in 2007, and they set the world on fire with their exotic all-electric vehicle.
The company struggled financially, however, and they experienced serious setbacks with cars catching fire and a slew of them destroyed by Hurrican Sandy. Founder Henrik Fisker resigned in 2013, and Fisker Automotive declared bankruptcy at the end of that same year. The company was bought by Chinese
Thanks to the 1988 movie Tucker: The Man and His Dream, most of the world knows the tragic story about an ingenious car that influenced the modern automotive industry. The Tucker 48 was truly a futuristic car at the time with an adaptive center headlight that moved with the steering wheel, a rear engine, and four-wheel disc brakes.
The big three automakers went after Tucker with a vengeance since he posed a huge threat to their establishments, and after legal fees fighting off their lawsuits (which he won), Tucker ran out of money and was never able to bring his dream car to fruition.
Don't remember the Vector W8? Well, this Lambo Countach look-alike was about as insane as it got for the 1990s. Built by Gerald Wiegert and David Kostka, the W8 was truly insane thanks to a twin-turbo 6.0-liter V8 good for as much as 1,200 hp. It could hit 60 mph from a standstill in 3.9 seconds and reach a blistering top speed of 242 mph (the modern Bugatti Chiron hits 261 mph).
The W8's streamlined body was constructed from Kevlar and carbon fiber for weight savings, and the huge side windows on the scissor-style doors were truly unique. Only 19 cars were made before the company went belly up. Had the Vector company survived, the W8 might be one of the finest performance icons in automotive history.
The Bricklin SV-1 is a special car that never really saw the light of day. Believe it or not, Bricklin was created by the founder of Subaru, Malcolm Bricklin. An American, Bricklin had his SV-1 built in Canada. Though it looks spectacular, it was destined for failure due to its heavy weight, body construction issues, overheating, mid-engine design, and niche status. It's too bad since the car looked gorgeous and even had electrically operated gull-wing doors.
The car was originally designed to be a safe and economical sports car (SV-1 = Safe Vehicle 1), but all the safety equipment made it heavy, and the body molding process had not yet been perfected, resulting in separation problems. Cars couldn't be built fast enough, and the company went into receivership. Bricklin ended up massively in debt to the Canadian government. A U.S. liquidator bought the remaining cars and parts, and Bricklin was no more. Some SV-1s still roam the earth today as collector cars.
De Lorean Motor Company
If you don't know the De Lorean story, you've lived under a rock for some time. Made famous by Back to the Future movie series, the De Lorean DMC-12 is an icon in the movie and automotive industries. And it's not because the car was particularly good. Founded by John De Lorean an industry executive who broke out on his own back in 1973 to build the unique stainless steel bodied with its gull-wing doors and totally flat hood.
The DMC-12 ran into production issues and was generally disliked by car critics due to the fact that it was slow (0-60 in 10.5 seconds) and had build quality problems. The company couldn't recover its $175 million in investments after selling only 6,000 cars. The company went under in 1982, though the car is burned in the collective brains of most Americans thanks to its prominence in motion pictures.