A Overlooked Supercar You Should Remember

Diversification, thy name is Yamaha. More than the program of the Yamaha Motor Firm’s 65-year record, none have matched the Japanese manufacturer’s absurdly intensive range of motorcycles, boats, scooters, UTVs, ATVs, golf karts, turbines, snow mobiles, and even swimming swimming pools. This is to say nothing of the Yamaha Company that split from Yamaha Motor Firm in 1955 that Yamaha is one of the top producers of musical and recording products on a international scale.

In the automotive room, Yamaha is a go-to source for substantial-high quality cylinder head designs. It has a prolonged, legendary record of doing work with Toyota, beginning with the 1967 Toyota 2000GT and lots of later significant-effectiveness Toyota engines, which includes the wild 1LR-GUE V-10 from the Lexus LFA, the variety of hello-po V-8s in Lexus’ F lineup, and a assortment of large-revving 4-cylinders discovered in Celicas, MR2s, and Lotus Elise. Volvo and Ford commissioned a number of Yamaha goodies above the a long time as nicely, from the Taurus SHO’s exotic V-6 and V-8 to the neat-o B8444S Volvo V-8 observed in the initially-gen XC90 and S80.

Irrespective of a wealthy heritage of automotive engineering excellence, Yamaha has but to fasten its tuning-fork logo on the snout of its possess manufacturing auto, even though this is really a lot by choice and not functionality. For a moment amongst 2013 and 2019, it appeared Yamaha was all set to quit participating in the bridesmaid with a trio of generation-aimed concepts designed in no small part by Gordon Murray Style.

The 2013 Motiv.e, 2015 Sports Journey, and 2017 Cross Hub were being a promising assortment of reasonably priced and light-weight visions of a metropolis car (Motiv.e), mid-engine sporting activities vehicle (Athletics Experience), and subcompact off-road trucklet (Cross Hub). Promising, but doomed—the maker officially poo-poo’d output ideas in 2019, a Yamaha spokesman citing that “Autos do not element in our extended-time period strategies any longer,” and that “we could not see a way to acquire possibly motor vehicle to stand out from the levels of competition, which is pretty potent.” For supporters of tiny, very simple, lightweight sporting activities autos, Yamaha drove the knife dwelling about its sights on the sleek Sports Experience. “The sports automobile in individual had wonderful enchantment for us as fanatics, but the marketplace is specially difficult. We now see other possibilities.”

Frustrating, but this was a modest mosquito chunk on the neck when compared to the 25-12 months heartache triggered by the cancellation of Yamaha’s mid-engined V-12 Components 1-motivated supercar that was just a valve-shim from making it to output in the early 1990s. As was the situation with most Japanese companies in the 1980s, Yamaha rode high on Japan’s bubble financial state, acquiring itself flush with piles of dollars with not significantly to shell out it on other than extravagant and outlandish engineering vainness tasks. Subaru had the SVX, Mitsubishi the 3000GT, Honda the NSX, and if it had attained fruition, Yamaha would have experienced the wild OX99-11.

The OX99-11’s tale unquestionably commences sturdy. In 1989, Yamaha tossed its tuning fork into the Components 1 ring as an motor supplier, partnering with German racing team Zakspeed and rapidly-tracking the so-called OX88 3.5-liter V-8 into growth. Approximately dependent on Yamaha’s prior OX77 V-8—essentially a reverse-engineered Cosworth DFV for Japan’s Formulation 3000—the OX88 was a exceptional miss for Yamaha. The OX88 proved unreliable and frequently uncompetitive, and Yamaha did not have a likelihood to refine the engine in advance of System 1 rules altered.

Yamaha skipped out on the 1990 F1 season, producing its new OX99 3.5-liter V-12 for 1991. This wildly exotic motor was much better and a lot more aggressive than the OX88 it replaced, but not by significantly. Brabham employed the OX99 in its debut year, quickly dumping it the subsequent yr for a Judd V-10. Jordan Grand Prix grabbed the OX99 for the 1992 year, but also kicked it to the curb for a Hart V-10 in 1993, but Yamaha was not perturbed it also abandoned the OX99 that calendar year for its new OX10 V-10 that stuck all-around in some type until eventually 1997.

With the modern day McLaren F1 hypercar just getting into restricted creation in 1992 and its coffers still brimming with yen, Yamaha saw an chance to utilize this really pricey OX99 V-12 past Method 1. First consultations with a German contractor for a supercar created all over this engine failed to impress, so it tasked U.K.-based mostly International Automotive Style and design company to select up the place the Germans remaining off.

The resulting OX99-11 looked extremely a great deal like a Team C stamina race car or truck adapted for street use, significantly with the tandem in-line seating arrangement at Yamaha’s insistence that lent a tall, cover-design and style cockpit roof to the OX99-11’s profile. It is a incredibly curvaceous and swoopy shape, with a wild front fascia that is tiny extra than an open wing that tapers out back into a delicious extended-tail lip.

If you think it seems like Yamaha draped a form-fitting physique about an open-wheeled chassis, you’d be appropriate on the income. The OX99-11 rode on the carbon fiber chassis sourced immediately from Yamaha’s ongoing F1 assignments, packing comparable inboard pushrod suspension and—most importantly—a detuned variation of the Yamaha OX99 V-12, capable of 400 hp and a 10,000 RPM redline in roadgoing trim, with a -60 mph somewhere in the superior three-second vary.

Despite IAD completing 3 thoroughly-purposeful prototypes, budgetary disagreements concerning Yamaha and IAD shifted final growth to the manufacturer’s specifically formed U.K.-primarily based Ypsilon Know-how subsidiary, at first designed to create and company the forthcoming supercar.  Six months afterwards, Yamaha killed the challenge, citing fears the current market for the $800,000 value tag experienced deflated along with Japan’s financial state, laying rest to what was guaranteed to be one particular of the most visceral and outstanding supercars to at any time hit the avenue.

Curiously, Yamaha isn’t going to feel particularly burned by the failure of the OX99-11. Most automakers—especially German consortiums like Porsche and BMW—squirrel absent failed jobs and concepts into their archival vaults, at times only revealing these stillborn vehicles a long time immediately after the plug was pulled. Not Yamaha the 3 extant OX99-11s are frequently exercised in just the confines of Japan, often accomplishing demonstration laps and get started-ups for crowds at formal gatherings. At the very least one particular of the prototypes is on close to-perpetual display at Yamaha’s museum in Iwata, Shizuoka, Japan, so if you happen to be in the space and want to catch an eyeful of this would-be legend, you just may well have the possibility to get up shut and own with what could have been.