10 Cars So Rare, You'll Never See Them In Real Life – HotCars

Cars like these are sometimes shown off by their owners at exclusive car meets, but these next ten haven’t been seen at shows for years.
There's something unexplainably satisfying about seeing a rare car in real life, whether that's at a car show or on the road. Knowing you've seen a car that only a few other gearheads have ever laid eyes on never gets old, and it's the reason so many enthusiasts love going to events like Goodwood and Monterey Car Week. However, there's plenty of cars out there that, even for the most determined car spotter, are likely to remain out of reach.
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Often, these cars are either one-offs or one of a handful of units made, then they are sold off to private collectors and stashed away somewhere. Cars like these are sometimes shown off by their owners at exclusive car meets, but these next ten haven't been seen at shows for years. Not only that, but their current whereabouts make it very unlikely that a gearhead would be able to spot one even if they flew across the world to try. They're the rarest of the rare, so much so that it's unlikely any of us mere mortals will ever get to see one in the flesh.
The Sultan of Brunei has the world's biggest car collection. He's also very particular about who sees his cars, in fact, to even get access to his stash you have to be a personal friend of his. The Bentley Dominator is one of many custom models he's had made over the years, with all six examples produced currently under his ownership.
The Dominator was Bentley's first SUV, decades before the Bentayga ever arrived in dealerships. It was based on the Range Rover and built at the request of the Sultan himself. Thanks to that personal connection it's unlikely the Sultan will ever release one of these cars to another collector, so it seems they're destined to simply gather dust in his warehouse, away from anyone's prying eyes.
There's been plenty of special edition Bugattis over the years, but the Veyron Black Bess is a particularly cool iteration with a unique historical connection to one of the brand's most important cars. The original Black Bess was the Type 18, a now-vintage racing machine that was first owned by aviation pioneer Roland Garros.
The car was one of Bugatti's earliest successes and having such an important celebrity endorsement was a huge deal for the company at the time. The Veyron Black Bess is a tribute to that original car and it's finished in the same color scheme. There's also a print of the original car inserted between the Veyron's two seats, oddly enough. Only three Black Bess Veyrons were made and they're all squirreled away in their owners' private collections.
It's not just supercars and hypercars that can claim the "ultra-rare" label, as the Chevy Silverado 427 is even rarer than most of them. The 427 is a one-off prototype that was built by Chevy to take on rival sports trucks like the Dodge Ram SRT-10 and Ford SVT Lightning.
It was displayed at SEMA 2006 and Chevy intended on making a production version, but ultimately decided not to. Since then, the 427 has totally disappeared from the public eye, presumably being stored in an undisclosed GM storage facility. The aftermarket company Fastlane eventually made a limited run of unofficial 427s, which are also very rare, although it's not known exactly how many units were made.
Lamborghini has caused quite a stir recently with the unveiling of their new Countach, which is limited to 112 units. That's exclusive, sure, but it's nowhere near as exclusive as the 2012 Aventador J, of which there is only one.
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The car was sold off for $2.8 million shortly after it debuted and since then it's been kept hidden away from the public eye. It has been seen a few times in Marbella, Spain, although only once every few years. So, unless they camp out in Marbella for months on end, it's very unlikely anyone's going to be able to see the J with their own eyes.
Hey, remember the mid-engined Corvette? No, not the new one, but the mid-engine C4 that was made by a company from the Czech Republic? It's very unlikely that anyone does, and it's even more unlikely that they'll ever see this one-off on the road.
Built by Innotech in 1993, this reworked C4 went on sale in the UK in 2018 with a price tag of just $120,000. It sold to an undisclosed buyer and hasn't been seen since. Hopefully, it makes an appearance at a car show in the future, but for now, this Euro-American oddity is MIA.
This strange-looking Porsche might seem like a 914, but it isn't. Well, not quite. It has a 914 body, yes, but there's a top-spec 911 engine stuffed under the hood. It was built by the company as a response to criticism of the 914 being too VW and not Porsche enough.
The 916 solved that problem, as it was way faster, but Porsche's bosses eventually decided to not go ahead with production. Only a few examples of the 916 ended up being made and one sold last year for the princely sum of $957,000.
Buying a regular Rolls-Royce is enough of a statement for most owners, but one particularly wealthy enthusiast decided to go a step further and create a coachbuilt one-off model especially for himself. It cost around $12.8 million, making it the world's most expensive car when it was unveiled in 2017.
It took four years to build and upon its release it was subject to the usual media circus and car show appearances, but since then it's been kept quietly hidden in the English countryside. It was brought down to the south of France for a while and was spotted by a few eagle-eyed photographers there, but for the past three years, it's not been seen at all.
Lewis Hamilton's personal Pagani Zonda has been the subject of some controversy since he took delivery of it in 2012, most notably when he called it "terrible" to drive. Being Lewis Hamilton, the car is of course a one-off, and despite his opinion on its handling he's been seen driving it around Monaco multiple times.
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It's still a rare occurrence to see him in it, and any determined car spotter would have to fly to Monaco and wait it out, but it's ironically less rare than many of the other cars on this list. For those not willing to fly across the globe, however, it's still impossible to see this car in the flesh.
The rarest muscle car of all is the Shelby Mustang GT50 Super Snake from 1967. Only one car was made by Carroll Shelby and it was originally used as a demonstrator vehicle for Goodyear tires. With a top speed of 170 mph, this was a groundbreaking machine, and at one point Shelby planned a limited production run.
However, with a potential price tag of $8,000 the car was way too expensive to attract any buyers and so the project ended up being shelved after just one car was produced. That car sold at a Mecum auction in 2019 for $2.2 million, and it's now hidden away somewhere in a private collection. Will it make another public appearance in the future? Hopefully, but for now, the only way gearheads can admire the car is through the auction pictures.
Built as a one-off GT3 special, the P80/C was made for a wealthy Hong Kong-based collector called TK Mak. The car was unveiled in 2019, making it the newest car on this list, but after some initial media fanfare, it has quickly disappeared from the public eye.
When it was first unveiled, a small selection of journalists got to review the car, including Top Gear magazine. They loved it, even calling it "one of the best Ferraris to emerge from Maranello in eons". Unfortunately for car spotters, the P80/C will never be seen on the road as it isn't road legal, with the only place it's likely to make an appearance being a private track day from now on.
They’re all a bit ridiculous in their own way, but that’s exactly why it’s so sad that these cars made it into the hands of customers.
Mark covers a variety of topics for HotCars, from the latest pickup trucks to obscure Japanese sedans. A regular fixture at car shows around the UK and Europe, if there’s a weird model or obscure manufacturer, he probably knows about it. Having previously worked as a radio presenter, he knows a thing or two about Top 10 lists, and enjoys writing them as much as presenting them. Mark is a graduate of the University of Sheffield’s English department and is currently based out of Birmingham, UK.