In the early 1990s, a company called Motion Concept Vehicles began work on what it hoped would be the first Canadian supercar. The plan was to build 100 cars per year, selling them for a quarter-million dollars each. And unlike most pipe-dream auto startups, MCV came scarily close to succeeding, which ultimately made its failure that much more of a disappointment for the founders.
Canada’s Autofocus recently wrote an in-depth feature on MCV that you should definitely, absolutely read, and it’s fascinating.
The gist of the story is that a group of enthusiasts got together and built a chassis. Then, they hired a designer they found in the newspaper to design a body that would fit around the chassis. The result is the car you see above, called the CH4.
But unlike most supercars, the CH4 ran on natural gas. That decision got MCV a sponsorship deal with two natural gas companies, which helped fund the project. The other benefit was in performance—natural gas is 130 octane.
The car debuted at the Canadian International Auto Show in 1995 and got tons of attention, but then the real work began for the team. They’d built one car, but they had to figure out how to put it into production. Even with a goal of only building two per week, it was still going to be difficult.
Despite the CH4’s curvy design and sub-4.5-second 0-60 time, MCV struggled to find funding. Why? According to the founders, it was because the Internet was booming, and investors were putting their money there. They wanted to hit it big with the next popular website, not invest in a natural gas-powered supercar from Canada.
With his wife was diagnosed with cancer, founder Bob Waddell was forced to shut down the company. But he still has that first car. “You look at the car now and it still looks great, and it’s aged well,” Waddell told Autofocus. “It really hasn’t lost its appeal after twenty years.”