The first Venturi came out in 1984, created by Claude Poiraud and Gérard Godfroy, two former engineers at Heuliez. The goal was to present the only “Grand Tourisme” French car capable of competing with the English Aston Martin, the Italian Ferrari, and the German Porsche.
The first car shown had a Volkswagen Golf GTi engine and the name was originally spelled “Ventury”, with a “y” at the end. In 1985, the car was shown with a 200 PS (147 kW) Peugeot 505 Turbo engine, but by the 1986 Paris Motor Show it had reached its definitive form with the PRV V6 engine. Production began in 1987, with five cars built in the first year.
The headquarters of the company were located in Couëron, Pays de Loire, where almost 750 cars were produced in 20 years.
From 1987 to the mid-1990s, they built mid-engined coupés and roadsters with turbocharged PRV engines and Renault gearboxes. Engine power ranged from 160 to 260 PS (118 to 191 kW) for the MVS Venturi Coupé and Transcup series.
A limited-edition 400 GTR was built for racing homologation requirements and later used in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Venturi was also briefly involved with the Larrousse Formula One team. The team’s 1992 car, which bore the Venturi name, was designed and built by Venturi Larousse UK, a British company formerly known as Fomet 1, which had previously designed the 1991 Fondmetal Formula One cars. The 400 GT remains one of the best performing French cars ever produced, and it is in fact the very first car in the world to have standard carbon brakes. True to that claim, the Atlantique 400 GT with a 408 PS (300 kW; 402 hp) V6 3.0 24v DOHC twin-turbo delivered excellent performance to put it on par with Ferraris of the early 90s. The 400 GT could hit 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.7 seconds and 291 km/h (181 mph) top speed, while the Atlantique 300 biturbo with a 314 PS (231 kW) V6 did 4.9 seconds to 100 km/h (62 mph) and went all the way to 171 mph (275 km/h).