Classics for sale: the Porsche-beating Venturi supercar

Venturi is one of the forgotten supercar brands of the 1990s. But one of their Porsche-beating Atlantique 300s could now be yours...

If you want to escape into the Alps, forget about your partner, children, pets or bicycle... take a Venturi!

The French-based Monegasque car manufacturer is a name that passes most people’s ears, unless you’re a Formula E fan, but made one of the hidden supercar gems of the 1990s.

After a failed foray into Formula 1, Venturi Automobiles branched into supercars, and produced a series of cars that were a success on the road and on the track – and there's one for sale on AutoClassics.

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The first of the supercars was the Venturi 400 GT, designed for circuit racing and later sold as a road car, with only 13 of the latter made.

In 1993 Venturi entered the Le Mans 24 Hours with its 500LM, less than ten of which were made and one which was driven by F1 race-winner Jacques Laffite. A year later the BPR Global GT Series was created, and Venturi won the 4 Hour races at Dijon and Spa, and the 1000km of Paris.

Two features stood out on the original Venturi supercar that set it apart from its high end rivals: a 400bhp turbocharged PRV V6 engine, often seen in the Renault Espace people carrier and to underwhelming effect in the DeLorean DMC-12, and a glassfibre body. Both of these characteristics continued onto the next racing models, and eventually made it to the Atlantique 300, a similarly rare car, one of which can be found in the AutoClassics For Sale section.

When the car was released Venturi had the intention of beating Porsche in the supercar stakes, and according to reviewers at the time it did just that. BBC Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson called the Atlantique 260, an immediate predecessor to the 300, a ‘pretty spot-on sportscar’, and said the wood and leather cockpit, which included air conditioning, remote central locking and a CD player was ‘one of the finest interiors I’ve ever been in’. More glowing comments about the Atlantique were made in several motoring publications.

The 3.0L engine put out less power than the made-for-racing 400 GT’s, and is positioned in front of the rear wheels, rather than behind as with Porsches – mid-engined being the default position for any supercar.

Performance stats also fare well against supercars of its time, with a 0-60mph time of just over five seconds and a peak power output of 281bhp. Top speed was north of 165mph, beating the Porsche 964, and the model for sale recorded 275bhp on a recent rolling road test, just 6bhp off the manufacturer's claimed output.

Supercar levels of performance means supercar costs, and the Atlantique is on auction at £49,995, not too far away from its original market price. It's offered by a classic sports cars specialist in Lincolnshire, UK.

Classic Cars for Sale