Another boutique maker of compact sports coupes has filed for bankruptcy in Germany. Melkus was a company we always enjoyed seeing at European auto shows. You never knew where the company would be – all of a sudden you'd notice a sleek, lissome coupe with open gullwing doors and you'd go, "Ah, there you are." That won't be happening anymore unless a white knight shows up: Melkus has reportedly filed for bankruptcy in a Dresden court, citing a lack of sales for its dire cash position.
Six year ago, Sepp Melkus, the grandson of the man who built the original Melkus sports cars from 1969 to 1980, restarted the company. The planned run was 25 examples a year at €115,000 ($143,000 U.S.), which would get customers either 270 horsepower from a Toyota 1.8-liter turbocharged four or up to 325 hp from a Volkswagen 2.0-liter turbo (enough to dash from zero to 62 mph in 4.5 seconds). Turns out that tweaking a Lotus Elise, which the Melkus RS2000 is based on, and charging six figures in today's economy wasn't the way to go. The company isn't completely giving up yet, but it joins Artega in the search for a Mr. or Ms. Big to replenish the coffers and keep the lights from going out for good.