It’s easy to use superlatives when describing the outer limits of automotive achievements: ultra, super, hyper and so on. But a herd of truly extreme vehicles are worth a show – or, as the Petersen Automotive Museum puts it, the recently updated one Hypercars 2: The Thrill of the Extreme Exhibition.
Citing the fact that the term “supercar” first appeared in the 1920s, the show’s description notes that while modern use of the term was inspired by the Lamborghini Miura four decades later, it wasn’t until 2005 with the Bugatti Chiron The 21st century implementation of the “hypercar” became really fitting thanks to its top speed of over 200 mph, over 1,000 horsepower, its relative rarity and its starting cost of over $1 million.
The Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport tops the list of the 14 vehicles on show, but the 1,479 hp two-seater is by far the mainstream of the offerings. Similarly well known: the $3 million Lamborghini Sian FKP 37 V-12 Hybrid.
The 2015 Koenigsegg ONE:1 turns slightly off center, with a 1:1 horsepower-to-pound ratio allowing for an estimated top speed of 273 mph. The carbon-fiber Swede was known for its groundbreaking biofuel-powered 5.0-litre V8, although at first glance it doesn’t look dramatically different from the Agera.
While the Ferrari FXXK EVO makes up the obligatory Maranello track toy, things are moving (in a good way) with examples such as the funky 2022 Ken Okuyama Kode 57 Berlinetta, which used a Ferrari 599 donor car to make references to the 1957 Ferrari integrate Testa Rossa. The curved lines and improbable proportions aren’t for everyone, but they’re a breath of fresh air for those hoping to see something they’ve never seen before.
Equally refreshing is the bizarrely whimsical Hyperion XP-1 prototype, whose sci-fi silhouette hides a deeper story: a hypothetical answer to the lack of refueling infrastructure, the main problem plaguing hydrogen fuel cell concepts. Though it flaunts the usual hypercar claims (exotic carbon and titanium chassis, zero to 60mph in 2.2 seconds, etc.), the secret weapon is a 1,000-mile range, making it one of the first potentially viable zero-emission alternatives to the internal combustion engine. If that’s not actual hypercar stuff, we’re not sure what is.
Hypercars 2: The Thrill of the Extreme is open now through May 14, 2023 at the Petersen Museum’s Bruce Meyer Family Gallery.