Hydra: The Ultimate 50th Birthday Present
In anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the parent company’s founding, Hampton Performance & Racing began development of a halo car to sit above the Hawk and Vanguard. Unlike the smaller Vulture, however, this would be a highly exclusive supercar made in very limited quantities - 50 in total, one for each year.
The 1993 Hampton Hydra 6.0 in its original form.
Powered by a 560-horsepower version of the HE12 V12 engine found in the Vanguard and Venator, the Hydra was the first Hampton ever to exceed 200 mph, and could sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just under three seconds. Race-bred pushrod-actuated suspension and full carbon-fiber construction made it feel as light and agile as its makers intended, despite the size of its mid-mounted engine. And in true Hampton tradition, it was very sumptuously equipped inside, with Connolly leather, genuine wood trim and a top-spec stereo sound system with a built-in CD player.
The 1995 Hydra 6.0 LM, with more power, a larger rear wing and deeper air intakes.
For those seeking an even more focused intense driving experience, Hampton made five LM models in 1995, with an uprated 600-horsepower engine, track-focused suspension, upgraded brakes, and a close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox. A lightweight interior replaced most of the standard car’s luxury trimmings, reinforcing the road-racer feel even further.
The Hydra earned plaudits from the world’s motoring press on debut, but it was quickly apparent that despite its immense price tag, HPR was guaranteed to lose money on every example they made. Nevertheless, 50 Hydras (including 5 LMs) were made between February 1994 and March 1998. Ultimately, lessons learned from the Hydra’s development would benefit the Hampton Motor Group as a whole, especially in the use of advanced lightweight materials such as composites and alloys. Today, the Hydra is considered to be the Holy Grail for Hampton collectors worldwide, especially in LM guise.