A japanese company well known for its motorcycles and musical instruments, once decided to build a car which would be the best sportscar of the moment. This is the story of the OX99-11, the Yamaha hypercar that would have changed forever the conception of the sportscar.  

Yamaha began competing in Formula One as an engine supplier in 1989, spurred by the success of Honda being engine supplier of Mclaren and the economic wealth of Japan in the late 80’s. The sport program in Formula 1 would be special, because it would be accompanied by price-no-object car based on actual Formula One technology using the experience it had gained during that time.

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So Yamaha sought to convey to the car driver the sensations of driving a Formula 1 car.  Technical excellence and a world-class performance were basic requirements of the new car,. It was named OX99-11, like the Formula 1 engine developed by Yamaha for competition, an atmospheric V12 3.5 liter, the same engine that would be adapted to their supercar.

By 1991, the team had just produced the new engine, the OX99, and approached a German company to design an initial version of the car. But, Yamaha was not pleased with the result as it was too similar to sport cars of that time, so it contacted IAD to continue working on the project. Through a subsidiary called Ypsilon Technology in UK, began the development of the supercar. Ypsilon was responsible for the maintenance of F1 cars Yamaha, but the facilities allow joint production street car.
By the beginning of 1992, just under 12 months after starting to work on the project, IAD came with an initial version of the car. The car’s design was undertaken by Takuya Yura, and was originally conceived as a single seater. However Yamaha requested a two-seater vehicle, and a tandem seating arrangement was suggested, which was in keeping with Yamaha’s motorcycle expertise. This resulted in a radical and somewhat outrageous design (inspired by Group C race cars like Mazda 717C), like its cockpit-looking roof.
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Its chassis was of composite materials, with extensive use of carbon fiber in a very similar to that used in the monocoque racing car. The engine was a self-supporting element, as in the Formula 1 car. Aerodynamics was first class, and was divided into a voluptuous handcrafted aluminum body construction. It was Formula 1 bodywork, with a full fairing and aerodynamic spoilers as striking as the front or admission above the cockpit.

The OX99 3.5 V12 engine delivered 400 hp and retained its high-revving, so its maximum power was reached at 10,000 rpm. The few people who could test the car said that the engine was surprisingly elastic, but was amazingly furious from 6,000 rpm.

The gearbox is derived directly from Formula 1, and it was a manual six speed unit closed with a race clutch . The suspension was another piece of art, with double front and rear triangle with aeronautical steel as the main material.
yamaha-ox99-2
With a weight of 1,150 kg, it was able to make the 0 to 100km/h in 3.5 seconds and its top speed was estimated at over 350 km/h. To fix it to the ground, Goodyear Eagle F1 tires were mounted on 17-inch wheels – 315 mm section on the rear axle -. The driving position was totally spartan, in the pure sense of the word. Focused only in driving with a very rich watchmaking. Nothing fancy, just pure driving, pure pleasure.
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However, disagreements between IAD and Yamaha over the budget made Yamaha take the project to its own Ypsilon Technology, which was given six months to finish the project, otherwise it would be terminated. To make matters worse, Japan was at that time in the midst of a financial crisis, which led Yamaha to believe it wouldn’t be able to find any customers for the car, which was expected to have an $800,000 price tag (over $1.29 million in 2012 dollars).

Eventually the project was delayed until 1994, before finally being cancelled. A total of three prototypes were built by IAD. Of all the 3 OX99-11 supercars made, one is blue, another one is red and the third a yellow unit.

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