1995 Lotec C1000
1,000-horsepower, carbon-fiber supercar from 1995by Ciprian Florea, on
Bespoke supercars have become extremely popular among wealthy enthusiasts and celebrities in recent years, but the concept is far from new. Manufacturers have been building custom sports and supercars since the 1960s, long before Bugatti was revived and companies such as Pagani and Koenigsegg were founded in the 1990s. One such brand was Lotec, which started life a race car builder in 1960s, moved on to modify Porsches in the 1970s, and created aftermarket parts for Mercedes-Benz cars in the 1980s. In the 1990s, the German firm developed its very first road-going model. It was called the C1000 and only one was made for an oil tycoon in the United Arab Emirates.
The car was ordered in 1990 and completed five years later. It was equipped with a Mercedes-Benz engine that generated a whooping 1,000 horsepower. When it was shipped to its customer, it was one of the most powerful road-legal vehicles. It was also incredibly expensive, with Lotec charging the owner an amount that could have been used to buy four McLaren F1s in 1995. The C1000 also come with a wild design and some incredible specs, including a top speed that’s superior to the newer Bugatti Veyron.
The unique supercar has been easy to trace in recent years, changing owners twice in 2006. However, it appears that the C1000’s value plummeted dramatically, being traded for less than $500,000. In 2014 it was listed on eBay by RK Motors Charlotte after a thorough restoration.
Keep reading to find out more about the 1995 Lotec C1000.
The design of the Lotec C1000 was pretty wild for 1995. The car’s exterior was inspired by aviation, but it also included features borrowed from sports car racing. The nose was similar to a prototype Le Mans car. It was short, heavily raked, and had a rather unconventional headlamp layout. It also sported a Mercedes-Benz emblem, which was there because of the engine under the hood. The slender grille and the canopy-like cockpit also contributed to its Le Mans-style appearance.
The car's exterior was inspired by aviation, but it also included features borrowed from sports car racing.
The C1000’s profile was a mixture of sharp lines and deep creases. The doors was pretty small, even for a supercar and ingress wasn’t exactly easy. The side intakes, on the other hand, were huge relative to the body.
The rear end was also revolutionary compared to anything else on the market at the time. The deck was flat and featured a big wing that extended toward the side intakes, while the fascia was just a red strip that included the taillights, rear turn signals, and reverse lights. The area below was just a really big diffuser. Big enough to put modern LMP1 prototypes to shame, that is!
All told, the C1000’s design was so ahead of its time that the supercar looks modern even to today’s standards. And it’s been more than 20 years since it left Lotec’s headquarters. Oh, did I mention that the body was made from carbon-fiber, a technology that wasn’t very common in the mid-1990s? As far as styling goes, it’s of the "take it or leave it" variety. It probably won’t win any beauty contests, but I’m sure some supercar enthusiasts find it appealing.
The interior of the C1000 was rather spartan, but it was the kind of environment you’d expect given the canopy-like cockpit. Obviously inspired by Le mans prototypes, it had a simple dashboard with only a handful of gauges, buttons, and switches, and an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel. Just like classic Le Mans racers, the shifter was mounted between the driver’s seat and the door.
The dashboard, part of the headliner, and the bucket racing seats were swathed in red leather with black accents for a striking contrast. Carbon-fiber made out most of the floor and side sills.
Needless to say, the Lotec’s interior doesn’t look very inviting and comfortable, but that’s what you usually get with a no-nonsense supercar like this. Still, the German manufacturer included a few convenience features such as an air conditioning system, adjustable pedals, and an adjustable steering column.
This is where things become a lot more interesting. The engine is a 5.6-liter V-8 Mercedes-Benz unit similar to the one used in the Sauber C8 and C9 Le Mans prototypes. Already powerful enough to deliver mind-boggling performance, the V-8 was further enhanced with a set of twin Garrett turbochargers for a final out of 1,000 horsepower and 723 pound-feet of torque. A lot of oomph for a supercar that tipped the scales at only 2,380 pounds.
The engine is a 5.6-liter V-8 Mercedes-Benz unit similar to the one used in the Sauber C8 and C9 Le Mans prototypes.
Mated to a Hewland six-speed transmission, the engine enables the C1000 to hit 62 mph from a standing start in 3.2 seconds. That might not seem like much compared to modern supercars that needs between 2.5 and three second to reach the same benchmark, but it was downright impressive in 1995. For reference, the Lotec was as quick as the McLaren F1.
Other performance highlights included a 0-to-124 mph acceleration of eight seconds and an alleged top speed of 268 mph. I say alleged because that number was never verified. Although the C1000 would not qualify for the official Guinness record for the world’s fastest production car due to its one-off status, its top speed is a bit higher than the Veyron SS’, which hit 267.8 mph without its speed limited. For 1995, when the fastest car in the world was the McLaren F1 at 230 mph, that was yet another impressive benchmark.
Another interesting fact about the C1000 is that it ran on a mixture of unleaded gas and aviation fuel. Unfortunately there isn’t much information on how the drivetrain actually worked, but it explains the fantastic performance. Too bad that the top speed was never verified.
The Lotec C1000 was an expensive car to build. Design and engineering reportedly cost over $1 million, while actual construction cost over $1.2 million. The total production cost was estimated at over $2.2 million. The car was sold for $3.5 million, which brought Lotec a nice profit of more than one million bucks.
The value of the C1000 dropped dramatically in recent years. In 2006, it was auctioned off for only $243,000. A few months later, it was found on eBay with an asking price of $350,000. In 2014, it was again offered by RK Motors Charlotte, but it failed to find a new owner. The seller said it had only 2,576 miles on the odo and estimated the car between $1 and $1.3 million.
The C1000 resurfaced again in August 2015 courtesy of Lamborghini Carolinas, which asked $1.2 million for the unique supercar.
Arguably the most innovative car of the 1990s, the McLaren F1 was launched in 1992, three years before the C1000 was finished. Designed by Gordon Murray and Peter Stevens, the F1 was the first production car to use a carbon-fiber monocoque chassis and expensive materials such as titanium, gold, magnesium, and kevlar. Power came from a 6.1-liter V-12, BMW-sourced engine rated at 618 horsepower and enabled the supercar to hit 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, 150 mph in 12.8 seconds, and 200 mph in 28 seconds. In 1993, the F1 hit a top speed of 230 mph, which made it the fastest production car in the world, a record it held until 2005. As of 2016, the F1 is still the fastest naturally aspirated production car in the world. Initially offered from $815,000, the F1 soon became a prized collectible, with well-maintained version fetching more than $3 million at auctions. Some models have been sold for more than $10 million.
Find out more about the McLaren F1 here.
Built in 1988, the Sledgehammer is significantly older than the C1000, but the concept is pretty much identical. Built in just one example using motorsport parts, the Sledgehammer was conceived with mind-boggling horsepower and speed in mind. Based on a C4-generation Corvette ZR-1, the Sledgehammer received a modified exterior and updated interior, but the biggest improvement was under the hood. The 5.7-liter LT5 V-8 received a NASCAR-spec block with Mahle pistons, a Broxid aluminum head, and a pair of turbochargers that increased output to 898 horsepower and 772 pound-feet of torque, a 523-horsepower increase over the Corvette ZR-1. The Sledgehammer needed only 3.9 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start, while its top speed was recorded at 254.76 mph, an astounding figure for the late 1980s. Reportedly built for around $400,000, the Sledgehammer was auctioned off for only $220,000 in 2004. Nowadays it is estimated to be worth in excess of $1 million.
Read more about the Callaway Corvette Sledgehammer here.
Arguably one of the most spectacular supercars of the 1990s, the Lotec C1000 is still one of the fastest and most powerful vehicles you can buy today. Given that this unique prototype racer for the road is 21 years old as of 2016, that’s impressive to say the least. The only downside that comes with it is the expensive price tag (which is by no means as big as the initial $3.5 million sticker) and the fact that the 268-mph top speed is still an estimate rather than a fact. It might not be as popular as the McLaren F1 or the Ferrari F5, but the C1000 is proof that small companies can build exquisite, powerful, and fast supercars too.
- Lotec C1000