When describing the outer reaches of automotive achievements, the superlatives come easy: ultra, super, hyper and so on. But a flock of truly extreme vehicles is worthy of a show—or as the Petersen Automotive Museum offers, the recently updated Hypercars 2: The Allure of the Extreme exhibition.
Citing the fact that the term “supercar” first appeared in the 1920s, the show description points out that while the modern usage of the phrase was inspired by the Lamborghini Miura four decades later, it wasn’t until 2005’s Bugatti Chiron that the 21st-century implementation of “hypercar” became truly apt thanks to its 200-plus mph top speed, 1,000-plus hp, relative rarity and $1 million-plus cost of entry.
The Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport is front and center among the 14 featured vehicles, but the 1,479 hp two-seater is easily the most mainstream of the offerings. Similarly familiar: the $3 million Lamborghini Sian FKP 37 V-12 hybrid.
Veering slightly off-center is the 2015 Koenigsegg ONE:1, whose 1:1 horsepower-to-kilogram ratio enables an estimated top speed of 273 mph. The carbon fiber Swede was noted for its groundbreaking biofuel-powered 5.0-liter V-8, though at first blush it is not dramatically visually different from the Agera.
While the Ferrari FXXK EVO represents the obligatory Maranello track toy, things get off the beaten track (in a good way) with examples like the funky 2022 Ken Okuyama Kode 57 Berlinetta, which used a Ferrari 599 donor car to incorporate hints from the 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa. The swooping lines and unlikely proportion aren’t for everyone, but they’re a breath of fresh air for those hoping to see something they’ve never before laid eyes on.
Similarly refreshing is the bizarrely whimsical Hyperion XP-1 prototype, whose science fiction silhouette hides a deeper story: a hypothetical answer to the lack of refueling infrastructure, the primary issue plaguing hydrogen fuel cell concepts. Though it flaunts the usual hypercar claims (exotic carbon and titanium chassis, zero to 60 mph in 2.2 seconds, etc.) the secret weapon is a 1,000-mile range, making it among the first potentially viable zero-emissions alternatives to internal combustion. If that’s not a bona fide hypercar material, we’re not sure what is.
Hypercars 2: The Allure of the Extreme is open now at the Petersen Museum’s Bruce Meyer Family Gallery through May 14, 2023.