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Supercar History

Here are the most significant sports and supercars over the 60 year plus history of the performance car.
Click on any car name/photo for a review of your chosen car.

1950s     1960s     1970s     1980s     1990s     2000s     2010s    

 



Mercedes 300SL
(1954)
Sometimes considered the world's first supercar, the 300 SL is a prized collectors item



Jaguar E-Type
(1961)
Legendary British sportscar passed the 150mph mark (with a little help)




Aston Martin DB5
(1963)
Forever associated with James Bond, the DB5 is the definitive classic car



Ford GT40
(1966)
Legendary road racer is many peoples pick for the world's first supercar




Ferrari 365 GTB/4
Daytona
(1968)   Highly sought after Daytona challenged Lamborghini's Muira as world's fastest car




BMW 2002 Turbo
(1973)
Europe's first motorsport inspired turbocharged road car has become a classic



Lamborghini Countach LP400
(1974)
The astounding original Countach was in most people's eyes the purest



Panther 6
(1977)
Extraordinary six wheeled Panther boasted 600bhp and a claimed 200mph



Audi Sport Quattro
(1984)
Limited edition 4-wheel drive Quattro was derived from legendary 80s rally car



Ferrari 288 GTO
(1984)
Return of fabled GTO badge signalled perhaps the birth of the Hypercar



Ford Sierra Cosworth
(1986)   'Cossie' latterly gained a bad boy reputation but was a truly significant sports car



Ruf CTR 'Yellowbird'
(1988)
Nurburgring legend based on Porsche's 964 Turbo



Jaguar XJ220
(1991)
Tremendous 217mph hypercar was unfairly blighted by financial scandal



Ford Escort Cosworth
(1992)
Succeeded the fabled Sierra Cosworth bringing performance to the masses



Subaru Impreza Turbo
(1994)
Original rally inspired Scooby road car gained a worldwide cult following



Lotus Elise
(1996)
Lotus got back to their lightweight roots with the hugely popular Elise




BMW M5
(1999)
400bhp E39 M5 was one of the world fastest and greatest saloon cars




Pagani Zonda C12S
(2000)
Newcomer Pagani made an instant impact with exquisite Zonda



Ferrari Enzo
(2003)
Race style Enzo put function over form but has proved to be hugely collectable




Porsche Cayenne Turbo
(2003)
Not satisfied with just the Carrera GT, Porsche also invented the Super SUV!



Maserati MC12
(2004)
Hugely desirable modern classic is powered by V12 from the Ferrari Enzo



Bugatti Veyron
(2005)
Perhaps the greatest supercar of all time made 250mph and over 1000bhp seem civilised



Venturi Fetish
(2006)
The world's first electric sports car cost an eye watering 370k in the UK



Lamborghini Reventon
(2007)
2M Reventon started a trend for limited edition super expensive specials



Bugatti Veyron Supersport
(2010)
A magnificent achievement, and still (officially) the world's fastest car at 268mph



Hennessey Venom GT
(2012)
America's answer to the Veyron was timed at an unofficial 270mph



Pagani Huayra
(2012)
Gorgeous bespoke hypercar could well be the most desirable of the current crop



McLaren P1
(2013)
The first of the 'holy trinity' of hybrid hypercars was also arguably the best



Ferrari LaFerrari
(2014)
Hotly anticipated hyper Ferrari has 950bhp hybrid V12 in coupe or aperta body



Tesla Model S P100D
(2014)
An Electric saloon that out accelerates just about everything



Koenigsegg Regera
(2015)
1500hp & 2000Nm torque means no gearbox required for the Regera



McLaren P1 LM
(2016)
Lanzante developed road legal P1 GTR shatters the Nurburgring lap record



Porsche 911 R
(2016)
Old school manual is universally praised as the ultimate drivers 911



Ford GT Mk2
(2017)
Ecoboost second generation Ford GT is a technological aerodynamic masterpiece


1950s

The term 'supercar' was first used in the 1920s, but it wasn't until the mid 1950s that high performance sports cars began to appear.

1960s

Supercars as we know them arrived in the mid 1960s with the motorsport derived Ford GT, born out of Ferrari's refusal to become part of Ford.

But perhaps the first genuine supercar was Lamborghini's mid-engined Miura, designed from the outset as a road car.

1970s

The fuel crisis of the early 1970s almost killed off the supercar before it had really began.

Thankfully we were treated instead to the birth of the definitive supercar of a generation, the Lamborghini Countach.

The 70s also saw the first mass market turbo road cars, notably the BMW 2002 and classic Porsche 911 Turbo.

1980s

The Financial boom of the 1980s saw supercar values soar, leading in turn to the birth of the low volume, super exclusive hypercar market.

Starting with Ferrari's Group B inspired 288 GTO, the decade was rounded off with the legendary rivalry between Porsche's technology led 959 and Ferrari's F40 road racer, the first 200mph road car.

This is also when the Nurburgring first came to our attention, thanks to the legendary exploits of the RUF CTR 'Yellowbird'.

1990s

The 90s began with a very significant car, the Honda NSX. This showed for the first time that supercars could be civilised, easy to drive and reliable.

Hypercar development continued through the decade with notable cars from Jaguar, the re-emergance of the Bugatti name and probably the world's first super saloon the 175mph Lotus Carlton.

However, there is one car that outclasses them all, setting new levels of exclusivity and performance (240mph in 1994), remaining many peoples pick as the greatest supercar of all time, McLaren's legendary F1.

2000s

The 2000s saw two differing approaches to performance. Track focused companies such as Ariel, Radical and Ultima taking the light weight route, while the likes of Ferrari and Porsche, joined by newcomers Pagani and Koenigsegg, went for all out power.

They were all trumped in 2005, with the arrival of the awesome Bugatti Veyron. Blowing away even the F1's figures from just a decade ago, the 1000bhp Veyron was the first car to break 250mph and hit 0-60mph in just 2.5 sec.

This decade also saw the shape of things to come, with the introduction of the world's first electric sports car, the Venturi Fetish, closely followed by Tesla's Roadster.

This is also when we see the emergence of the now ubiquitous super SUV, headed by Porsche's Cayenne. Thought of as a bold move at the time, even Bentley, Maserati and Lamborghini are now in on the act.

2010s

We are now in a 'golden era' for supercars. Never before have their been so many high performance models from so many manufacturers.

The 2010s have seen the birth of a new breed of supercar with hybrid or fully electric engines.

The so called 'Holy Trinity' of the McLaren P1, Porsche 918 Spyder and Ferrari LaFerrari hybrid hypercars set new levels of performance with relatively green credentials.

There are still plenty of 'old-school' supercars around though, with the likes of the Koenigesgg One:1, Henessey Venom GT and Bugatti's 1500hp Chiron vying for title of the world's fastest car.

However, the future of performance cars is without doubt electricity. Rimac and Tesla have shown us that the instant torque of a 4WD electric motor is more than a match for even the most powerful internal combustion engines.

Aerodynamics and lightweight construction also play a big part, with Ford's 2017 GT, Porsche's 911 GT2 RS and Lamborghini's Huracan Performante all utilising state of the art aero to achieve previously unimaginable track times.

But even before the end of the decade, Mercedes and Aston Martin have again moved the goalposts with the introduction of their F1 inspired race cars for the road. Huge power levels and race car dynamics promise to put all that came before them in the shade.

 

Here's to 50 years of the supercar. Long may it continue!

 



Chevrolet Corvette C1
(1953)
Legendary first gen Vette was nearly cancelled but still going 65 years on



Ferrari 250 GTO
(1962)
The definitive classic Ferrari commands prices in excess of 30m at auction



AC Cobra 427
(1965)
Classic formula of huge engine in lightweight body



Lamborghini Miura
(1966)
One of the most beautiful designs ever seen set the trend for mid engined supercars



Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 RS
(1972)
Highly prized RS was a pure lightweight road racer unspoilt by technology



Lancia Stratos
(1975)
Rally spawned Stratos was a visual delight but an impractical road car




Porsche 911 Turbo
(1975)
Classic 911 Turbo was the quickest car of it's day, if you could catch the tail




BMW M1
(1978)
Originally built for motorsport, the M1 is still BMW's only mid engined road car



BMW M3 E30
(1985)
The iconic motorsport derived E30 M3 remains the enthusiasts choice




Porsche 959
(1986)
Legendary Group B road car pitched technology against raw power




Ferrari F40
(1987)
Race raw legend was the first 200mph road car and remains the definitive supercar for a generation




Lotus Carlton
(1990)
Beefed up Vauxhall Carlton caused uproar in the 1990s with its 176mph top speed




Bugatti EB110
(1991)
Briefly the worlds fastest car signalled the return of the Bugatti marque




Honda NSX
(1991)
Senna developed NSX changed our perceptions of what supercars are




McLaren F1
(1994)
Purest supercar of them all set amazing new performance benchmarks




Nissan Skyline GTR
(1998)
Humdrum family saloon became cult hero twin-turbo monster




Caterham R500
(1999)
Classic R500 track weapon shattered many acceleration world records




Mercedes SL55 AMG
(2002)   Superb supercharged roadster had the power, the looks and a folding electric roof



Koenigsegg CC8S
(2003)
Swedish newcomers Koenigsegg claimed CC8 as the world's fastest car




Porsche Carrera GT
(2003)
Sublime Carrera GT was considered by most as the greatest supercar of it's day



Ford GT
(2004)
Modern rebirth of the awesome original now boasted 550bhp V8



Radical SR8
(2005)
Nurburgring record holder stretched road legal to the limit



Ultima GTR 720
(2006)
Record breaking road racer outsprinted a Veyron for a tenth of the cost




Audi R8
(2007)
Highly successful R8 was a match for the long time class leading Porsche 911



Lexus LF-A
(2010)
A truly great performance car initially considered an expensive folly



Ferrari 458 Italia
(2010)
The remarkable 458 Italia is simply one of the greatest supercars of all time


Rimac Concept One (2013)
Croatia delivered the world's first electric hypercar with mind bending acceleration



Porsche 918 Spyder
(2013)
Technological hybrid masterpiece held Ring lap record and hit 0-60mph in just 2.2 sec



Koenigsegg One:1
(2014)
With 1 Megawatt of power, this is almost certainly the world's fastest car


BMW i8 (2014)
Fantastic hybrid supercar points the way forward for high performance cars




Bugatti Chiron
(2016)
1500hp Chiron is limited to 261mph, expect somewhere over 280mph deristricted!



Lamborghini Huracan Performante
(2017)
Advanced aerodynamics broke the Ring lap record



Aston Martin Valkyrie
(2018)
Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing bring us the next generation of hybrid hypercar




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