Facts on Sports Carsby 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.
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.
Today's production car engineering, design and option packages are based on sports car technology.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Volkswagen Group, Ferrari S.p.A., Nissan Motors