I’ve been talking a lot about cars that you can and really should import to America. There are some real gems just begging to be brought here and I’ve found yet another. For about $113,000 you can own this 1997 Venturi 300 Atlantique. It’s a 1 of 57 supercar sometimes compared to Lotus from an obscure French company.
Venturi was founded in 1984 in France by engineers Claude Poiraud and Gérard Godfroy, Silodrome notes. Back then, it was called Manufacture de Voitures de Sport (MVS) and the pair had the intent to build cars to compete with Aston Martin, Ferrari and Porsche with that gallic touch. The company showed off a couple of concepts before coming out with the MVS Venturi sports car in 1987. The folks of Autozine note that the first MVS Venturis were seriously quick for the time. It weighed in at 2,601 pounds, accelerated to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds, made 200 HP from a 2.5-liter PRV V6 and raced onto a top speed of 152 mph.
The car you see before you today is an evolution of the Venturi and yes, it’s even better.
This 1997 Venturi 300 Atlantique is powered by a turbocharged PRV V6 making 281 HP. And while it weighs in at a greater 2,755 pounds, it accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in a quick 5 seconds and with top speeds of up to 174 mph. You get to enjoy that power with a manual transmission from a cockpit wrapped in cherry red Cartier leather.
Check out that wood and those gauges.
The exterior is even better, featuring smooth lines, pop-up headlights and scoops in all of the right places. And since the engine is placed in a mid-rear layout, you get a frunk with a decent amount of space. If you squint you may see some Lotus Esprit or Ferrari 348 in that design. That body is fiberglass and the whole thing rides on a tubular steel chassis.
These cars also took 350 hours to build by hand, and MVS built around a few dozen cars a year. Just 57 Venturi 300 Atlantiques exist. This example is noted to have just 9,321 miles on its odometer and it was resprayed in its original color in 2015.
And this car wasn’t even the best that MVS built. That distinction goes to the Venturi 400 GT. It cranked out 408 HP from a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 and featured some pretty advanced materials for its day like carbon-ceramic disc brakes. The 60 mph sprint in the 2,535 pound sports car was dispatched in a mere 4.6 seconds with a top speed of 182 mph.
Sadly, despite the legitimately alluring vehicles, MVS was never able to overcome the problems of being a startup. Its name was relegated to obscurity and it never ended up meeting its goal of competing with household sports car names. MVS did get into motorsport, racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and even in Formula 1. But the original company would not survive. By the time MVS originally closed up shop in 2000 it produced about 700 cars. This Venturi 300 Atlantique is rare enough, but the 400 GT was even rarer, selling just 15 units.
The bankrupt company was purchased by Gildo Pallanca Pastor, who turned it into a 100 percent electric sports car brand. Today, it has a bunch of weird electric concepts from an autonomous box to a crossover. It was also the first car manufacturer to join Formula E.
The good thing about Venturi’s obscurity is that you can get this car for cheap as far as vintage sports cars go. It goes up for auction on Artcurial in Salon Rétromobile, Paris on March 18. It’s expected to sell for $90,454 to $113,068.