Defining a supercar isn’t too difficult, but depending on who’s being asked, everyone seems to have a different idea of the “best” on the road today. As long as it can travel at least 170 MPH (preferably 200) and get from 0 – 60 in less than four seconds, supercar status is very often granted. Engineers consistently look to push the boundaries of performance today with efforts at heightened horsepower and even green technology.
The beginnings of the supercar, however, are somewhat disputed as a few important events occurred in 1965 that would usher in the birth of the supercar and efforts by vehicle engineers to create absolutely monster street cars.
After Ford failed to acquire Ferrari in 1965, it responded with the design and construction of the GT40 for the racing circuit. However, the company was also required to build street legal versions, and these vehicles are what many people consider the first true supercars.
Some supercar aficionados point toward the AC Cobra 427 as the first supercar since the creation of this vehicle occurred in the same year and would dominate acceleration records for several years after its introduction. By dropping a Ford V8 into the trim AC Ace, racer Caroll Shelby created one of the most iconic automobiles of the century.
1966 would signal the arrival of the 7-liter Corvette Sting Ray as well as the V12 monster the Lamborghini Miura, which had a top speed even faster than the 165 mph of the Ferrari 275GTB. The late 60s saw many “firsts” in supercar design, and also saw these vehicles hint at luxury alongside their racing heritage. That luxury would start to encourage million dollar price tags by the time the 1980s arrived.
Looking back a full century into man’s obsession with land-based speed records, the great-grandparent of the GT40 and the Cobra 427 might have been a car like the Mercer Raceabout from 1910, which traveled an astounding 70 mph, which was almost 30 mph faster than the Model-T cars on the road at the time.
Classic names like Ferrari and Lamborghini will always make drivers think of a supercar, but there are many more names today jumping into the fray. Cars with names like Covini and Arrinera are pushing the boundaries of horsepower and performance, and are looking to join generations of Lamborghinis and Ferraris as the road’s fastest supercars.
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