French Fancies COTD: Mega Track

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Remember the Ligier story from Tuesday?
The supercar maker that turned to little microcars? Well, this is the reverse of that story but with a car which is a little more unusual.

Aixam are a company I’m sadly very familiar with, they make those irritating little noisey single cylinder diesel crash-test avoiding death traps. The ones driven exclusively by ex-Reliant owners and motorcycle riders from a generation who are entitled to skip taking the car test and who inexplicably end up at the front of a 30 mph queue on a good bit of country road. They live here only out of the use of loopholes of sacred texts written in the age when London taxis still needed to keep a hay bail in the boot. The Aixam is not a car to set the pulses racing, then, but a couple of its old stablemates definitely would.

Making cars for ‘sans permits’ motorists obviously eventually makes a manufacturer very bored. It’s hard to get excited by cars so limited in, well, pretty much everything! So, obviously you need a creative outlet to keep the staff awake. It was a similar story for Reliant who had the Scimitar range to keep the workers from drinking all of the fibreglass resin.

To make sure the new models were not associated too much with the monster ‘granny scooters’, a new more upmarket marque was created in the Mega brand which formed in 1992. Initially Mega constructed the spiritual successor to the Citroen Mehari, with the funky Ax based Club Ranch (sounds tasty). With its more complicated plastic construction and small market, this car suited low production volumes. Obviously, to make low production numbers work, you need to inflate the price. And what cars have higher prices than supercars?

So, Mega diversified further in 1993 and started producing one of the weirdest supercars I have ever seen.

The spec was as abstract as a Matisse painting. It was to be a 4 seater, mid engined supercar with permanent 4 wheel drive and a most peculiar raisable ride height. This meant the new car would be at home both at Le Mans and the Paris Dakar.

The engine for this beast was sourced from Mercedes, and it was the 6.0 litre monster v12 from the s600. While this may not sound very super, this engine was also the basis (with some AMG tuning) for the Pagani Zonda.

However, this was no Zonda sadly, as the car kept the 4 speed auto from the s600 which was never designed for outright pace. But, maybe that wasn’t the point. As well as being a super family four seater four wheel drive car thingy for the ‘Track’, it was also trying to be a high end limousine. With an integrated television and telephone, climate control and big leather seats,the track had quite a spec-list. But, like most French luxury cars of the nineties, it had a cheap plastic dash. Despite the Track’s cheap dash, the car was anything but cheap. In fact, it was more expensive than many Ferraris and Lamborghinis, which is suicide for a company that beyond modified Citroen superminis is an unknown. Commercial flop does not even begin to describe the Track’s sales performance.

The Track perhaps was too ambitious for a brand as yet unknown in the world of supercars, selling a mere 5-7 examples in its 7 year life span. But in some ways, you could say the super Aixam was an experimental look at a supercar of the future, as now mid engined 4 wheel drive is quite common as is adjustable ride height for track and road use. The Tv even doubles as a parking camera! This car was perhaps 20 or so years too early. Aixam did try to build more supercars with their newly bought Monte Carlo brand, which built a much more ‘average’ supercar, but this too failed to get of the ground.

No, sadly the Mega brand only became a success when they started to make teeny tiny commercial vehicles based on the little Aixams. Shame really.

Jack Wood


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