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by Jay Traugott
No one ever said that building a successful sports car company was going to be simple.
This is another sad story of a boutique sports car company that simply couldn't make it. In case you haven't heard of Melkus, it was originally founded in Dresden, East Germany in 1959 by a guy named Heinz Melkus. Also a race car driver, Melkus built both road and racing cars, the latter of which competed in Formula 3, Formula Junior and Formula E. There was just one road car built, called the RS 1000, but the company closed its doors in 1986.
In 2006, they were reopened again by Peter Melkus, the grandson of Heinz. With the goal of restarting production of an all-new RS 2000, plans were made for a production run of just 25 units a year at a price of around €115,000 each. Engine choices included a Toyota 1.8-liter turbocharged four pot or a VW 2.0-liter turbo. If the RS 2000 looks familiar to you, then you're not alone; it's based on the Lotus Elise. Along with gullwing doors, the reborn Melkus looked to be a winning combination of power, lightweight, and exotic. Unfortunately the automaker has just filed for bankruptcy in a Dresden court due to a lack of cash.