Facts on Sports Cars

by Rob Wagner

A sports car is typically a roadster constructed with precision engineering and a low-slung design. Over the decades sports car manufacturers acceded to the demands of the motoring public by adding rear jump seats to accommodate additional passengers or cargo space. The sports car can range from the affordable Mazda Miata, Mitsubishi 3000 GT and upscale Porsche to the exotic Ferrari, Lamborghini and Lotus.

History

The British-made MG TC did not possess speed but still maintained the sports car image.

The sports car concept began after the turn of the 20th century when engineering and styling were tested on race tracks and marathon road races. Ferdinand Porsche, Karl Benz and later Enzo Ferrari, among others, tested their engineering theories on efficient use of space combined with high-performance.

Significance

The 1967 Austin-Healey personified high performance and style.

Today's production car engineering, design and option packages are based on sports car technology.

Identification

The 2006 Lamborghini interior emphasizes luxury, but in tight quarters.

It has embodied the same characteristics for nearly a century as a two-seater convertible or coupe and powered by a strong engine for high-speed driving.

Types

The low-priced 1969 Datsun 1500 falls in the sports car category.

In addition to coupes and convertibles, the vehicle comes as a larger, more refined sports luxury tourer that combines a well-appointed cabin with sports car handling.

Features

The Lotus Eland M100.

Mechanicals on many sports cars include four-wheel ventilated disc brakes; independent suspension; turbocharged V-6, V-8 or V-12 engines; low center of gravity; and ground effect options.

Size

The 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera coupe 3.5-liter rear mounted engine.

The quintessential sports car, the 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera coupe, sits on a 92.5-inch wheelbase, is 175.6 inches long and is powered by a 3.5-liter six-cylinder engine.

Fun Fact

The 1969 Ferrari Dino.

The modern sports car almost died after the 1973 fuel crisis sparked stringent fuel and safety standards, but it emerged from a 17-year hiatus with a new generation adhering to U.S. regulations.

About the Author

Rob Wagner is a journalist with over 35 years experience reporting and editing for newspapers and magazines. His experience ranges from legal affairs reporting to covering the Middle East. He served stints as a newspaper and magazine editor in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Wagner attended California State University, Los Angeles, and has a degree in journalism.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Volkswagen Group, Ferrari S.p.A., Nissan Motors