It’s still built, mind you, to suit specialised tastes that Lee Noble might approve of: with lightness and simplicity, with the purity of a manual gearbox and rear-wheel drive, without anti-lock brakes or electronic driver aids, and for those who like their performance cars raw, direct and big on pace, excitement and involvement.
When it was introduced, its 650bhp Yamaha turbo V8 was potent enough to place it well clear of the average mid-engined exotic on power and torque. These days, it’s less of a clear on-paper draw, but it continues to produce a massive swell of acceleration for the M600 that has to be felt to be believed. Handling is at once super-purposeful and amazingly interactive and adjustable with it – although the car’s ergonomic layout and cabin finish leave a bit to be desired.
It might have come from a brand name you’d sooner expect to be supplying either construction equipment or wellington boots, but the Gumpert Apollo has a neat way of sweeping aside your expectations. We drove it in 2005, and were certainly struck by the sheer purpose, grip and pace of the car – and that was at the firm’s initial 641bhp state of tune (a 789bhp ‘race’ version was also available).
At the time of our test, the car’s six-speed sequential gearbox was its obvious weak spot, being stubborn and tricky to operate, but its accelerative speed was beyond question – Gumpert claims 0-62mph in 3.1sec and a maximum speed of 224mph, and both are believable. Also highly impressive are the car’s huge braking power and its high-speed circuit staying power. Few supercars feel quite this at home on track.
Slovenia’s Tushek Renovatio supercar is another little-known mid-engined creation sufficiently obscure that nobody would buy one as a symbol of wealth of status. And that’s probably fine by Tushek owner Aljosa Tusek, who prefers to cater for the serious track-day-regular performance driver anyway – and whose car makes that pretty clear.