Even though they come in different shapes and sizes, these 10 have had more of an impact on the world of sports cars than any others.
Sports cars are an exciting part of the automotive world, and we can all agree that the world of driving would be a lot less exciting without them. On January 29, 1886, Carl Benz filed for a patent for a “vehicle powered by a gas engine.” Patent number 37435 could be thought of as the birth certificate of the car, and it didn’t take long for him and other inventors to look for ways to make it better and faster.
The most famous thing Henry Ford ever said was, “Auto racing began 5 minutes after the second car was built.” Competition is a big motivator, and the first car, which was officially called a “sports car,” came out in the middle of the 1910s. Around that time, car makers had already started looking for ways to make cars go faster and handle better than just adding more power.
Over many decades, the high-performance formula was fine-tuned, and each year in the sports car segment had its own highlights. What makes these the best sports cars of all time is not just how well they perform or how new they are, but also how important they are in the big picture and how they helped sports cars change. These 10 models come from different eras and come in different shapes and sizes, but they all have what it takes to be called the best sports cars of all time.
The E-Type Jaguar is a British classic that has been around for a long time. It is also one of the most famous sports cars to come from the UK. When Enzo Ferrari saw the E-Type for the first time, he said, “This is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.” The classic long hood and swooping back deck are important parts of any sports car. More importantly, Britain is thought to be the place where the lightweight roadster was first made, and the Jaguar E-Type has inspired a lot of other car companies to make their own versions of the formula.
Without it, cars like the Mazda MX-5 and Honda S2000 might not have been made. The E-Type wasn’t perfect, though. The quality of the build wasn’t very good, and problems with reliability were the norm. People want the Series 1 cars, which were made from 1961 to 1968.
Mazda has always been a car company that came up with new ideas. It also used some of these unusual ideas in a lot of its models. The best example is the engine that was in the top-of-the-line sports cars from the Japanese brand. Mazda’s focus when making sports cars wasn’t on having a lot of power and having everything controlled by a computer. Instead, it was on making the cars light and balanced.
Felix Wankel, a German engineer, came up with the idea for the rotary engine, but Mazda’s RX-series used it the most. The RX-7 is thought to be the best rotary sports car because of how well it handles and how well it performs compared to the GT-R. Even later versions didn’t come close to weighing 2,700 pounds (1,250 kg). Even though the rotary engine never caught on, it showed that there are other ways to make a great sports car.
Nothing is more minimalist than a Lotus Elise, but if you want a car with a more powerful engine, go for the Exige, which is the Elise’s bigger brother. The Mazda MX-5 and Honda S2000 are both like this. Both of them use the same formula, but one of them is more powerful. The Exige has the same basic design as the Elise and isn’t much bigger.
It gets even better when you combine one of the best mid-engine chassis with a Toyota-based V-6 with up to 430 horsepower and a six-speed manual transmission. With a weight of just over 2,409 pounds (1,093 kg), the car can go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, which is supercar territory. Lotus has repeatedly shown that less is more, and the Exige is the best example of this.
Carrol Shelby is one of the most well-known tuners and race car drivers in the United States. He has made some of the most famous American sportscars ever. He was an important part of making the Ford GT40. He worked with the blue oval even more when he used their engines to make the Shelby Cobra, which is one of the most famous American sports cars ever made. In 1962, he took a light British roadster and put the 427 side-oiler V-8 engine in it, which was Ford’s most powerful V-8 engine at the time.
The outcome was scary because the Cobra had no safety features and only weighed 2,355 pounds (1,068 kg). Earlier models weighed even less, but they had V-8 engines that were 260 or 289 cc. The 7.0-liter (427) engine could make between 425 and 485 horsepower, which gave it a top speed of 185 mph. Cobras are some of the most copied cars, and cars like the Dodge Viper were based on them.
Many times, Japanese carmakers have changed what a sports car is. Taking something good and making it even better has worked for them many times, and the Honda NSX is the best example. The Ferrari 348 was a big influence on the Honda sports car with a mid-engine that came out in 1990. Instead of a finicky V-8 engine, Honda went with a transversely mounted V-6 that could make up to 290 horsepower in later model years.
Honda’s knowledge from Formula 1 and Ayrton Senna’s ideas helped make the NSX a sports car that could beat Ferrari. The Honda NSX proved that you didn’t need a whole team of mechanics to take care of a supercar. This made Ferrari and other makers of exotic cars go back to the drawing board.
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