Supercar maker Gumpert files for bankruptcy

Gumpert Apollo RGumpert, German boutique carmaker and builder of the insane Apollo, is applying for provisional insolvency proceedings. Apparently there weren’t many takers for the company’s 750 horsepower creation. The court-appointed administrator, Gorge Scheid, says the outlook is positive, though.

Gumpert hoped to increase sales by expanding into China, but those plans fell through. Under court supervision, the company will concentrate on its European operations instead.

“It’s essential to reactive the European market,” Scheid said, “which has been neglected over the past years.” After touring the factory and talking with investors, Scheid said he was confident that Gumpert could pull itself out of insolvency. Production of the Apollo at Gumpert’s Altenburg, Germany plant will continue.

If Gumpert doesn’t make it, the world will lose something very special. The Apollo is a car built without compromise: literally nothing about it (including the company name) will appeal to anyone who is not a hardcore speed freak.

The company was founded by Roland Gumpert, a former Audi engineer who led the development of the quattro all-wheel drive system, and took Audi Sport to four World Rally Championship titles.

The body of the Apollo may look like it was designed by Willem de Kooning, but that mess of ductwork and gaping holes has a purpose: to generate grip by keeping air flowing over the car in the most efficient way possible, and to extract heat from the engine compartment and brakes.

The Apollo needs a racecar-style body to contend with its beast of an engine. The range-topping Apollo S packs 750 horsepower and 663 pound-feet of torque, courtesy of a tuned version of Audi’s 4.2-liter V8 (less powerful versions are available). For all that, Gumpert charges around $550,000.Gumpert Tornante

The Apollo S can do 0 to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds, and reach a top speed of 223 mph. Another version of the Apollo, the Speed, set the lap record at Germany’s Nürburgring Nordschliefe, with a 7:11.57 run.

Even that did not satisfy Gumpert, so the company introduced two, more extreme Apollo variants. The Apollo R was a no-frills racer, with 860 hp and zero creature comforts. Since the Apollo R is not street legal, you’ll never see one at the local car show.

The limited edition Apollo Enraged was the most hardcore car Gumpert could make without breaking the law. This toned-down, street legal version of the Apollo R developed 780 hp, and only three were made.

Gumpert has been working on a completely new car, but it is unclear whether the company’s insolvency will kill that project. The Tornante was first shown at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, and was said to produce around 700 hp.

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