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The 50 Best Sports Cars of All Time: Cars 30 – 21

Posted in General by Chris | July 28th, 2007 | 4 Responses |

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  • 30. LOTUS ELISE

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    The Elise is a featherweight amongst refrigerators. Coming in at 200lbs under a ton, the Elise is a modern vision of something very old and very British–a super light, agile, capable, minuscule sports with an emphasis on handling over acceleration. Conceived in 1994, the insectoid face we’ve all come to know–and cringe at knowing–came about in 2002. There are a litany of versions in addition to the two seat roadster Elise, such as the hard top Exige, the 111R, and the American-friendly California addition. The car may be a pain in the arse getting in and out of, but its very easy on the wallet compared to more popular exotics. The real compromise is the lack of cup holders, power windows, and all those other amenities non-enthusiasts think a car needs.

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  • 29. FORD GT

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    In the early 2000s Ford was beginning a “revival” of famous nameplates, most notably the Thunderbird and the Mustang. Among them was the Ford GT, an homage to the legendary GT40 race car which won four straight Le Mans victories in the 1960s. The Ford GT appeared as a concept car in 2002, and after a tremendous amount of positive feedback, was produced in 2003 with help of Steve Saleen and company. The new GT may have looked nearly identical to the original, but beneath its super plastic-formed aluminum body panels were numerous new and unique features, such as a capless fueling door and a “ship-in-a-bottle” gas tank. Its mid-engine construction and gorgeous aeronautical interior layout made Ford’s supercar a genuine American alternative for refined palettes too insulted by the coarse Dodge Viper.

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  • 28. PAGANI ZONDA F

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    Named for an air current above Argentina, the Pagani Zonda is yet another delicious slice of car lust to come out of Italy. Less than 100 actual street cars have been produced since 1999, making the Zonda one of the most highly sought after supercars in the world. The mastermind behind these cars is an industrial-design fanatic, and as such many components of the Zonda have a minimalist beauty to them, such as leaving body panels in unfinished carbon-fiber, or leaving suspension and chassis components fully exposed, and the pieces of the instrumentation panel looks like jewels in some ornate setting. The Zonda F came in 2005 with extensive revisions over previous models, though it makes use of the same 7.3 L V12. It had an impressive 528bhp/ton power to weight ratio, helping the F Clubsport beat the Porsche Carrera GT around the Nurburging and become the fastest production car in the world around the infamous track. The Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1, of course, owns the title at the moment.

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  • 27. DODGE VIPER SRT-10

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    The Viper is a completely American take on a supercar. It is loud, boisterous, and packs a monster V10 sitting way out front beneath a long perforated hood. It is unrefined, unfriendly, and unforgiving–and driving one you become convinced the car is crazy, and has every intent on killing you in dramatic viral-video-on-YouTube fashion. It also derives its inspiration from a classic sports car (another American sort of thing) which in this case is the Shelby AC Cobra, and two more American car icons Carrol Shelby and Lee Iaccoca get most of the credit for developing this beast back in 1992. Since its debut, horsepower numbers have steadily increased, eclipsing the 600HP mark before its untimely–and hopefully temporary–demise in 2008. But the formula has always remained the same: 10 cylinders, monster torque, six speed manual, no safety nets, no promises. We who are about do die salute you.

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  • 26. FERRARI 365 GTB/4 DAYTONA

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    The Ferrari 365 GTB/4 is better known by its nickname “Daytona,” commemorating Ferrari’s triple success in the Feburary 1967 24 Hours of Daytona. While Lamborghini had just released the mid-engine Miura, Ferrari produced the 365 as a traditional front-engined car, though its styling was definitely more like a Lamborghini. In its day, it was the best grand tourer money could buy, and time has scarcely retracted from that acclamation, with Sports Car International voting the 365 the top sports car of the 1970s.

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  • 25. PORSCHE BOXSTER

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    The Boxster represents the first Porsche based on a roadster design as standard instead of a hard top, and since its debut in 1997, has set the standard for handling prowess, balance, and performance on a budget. It has been voted to Car & Driver‘s Top Ten list 9 times, and ranks as one of the best Porsches of all time. Its name is a portmanteau derived from the word “Boxer”–referring to car’s horizontally-opposed boxer engine –and “Roadster”–based on the fact that–it’s a roadster.

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  • 24. ACURA NSX

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    Development of the NSX began in 1984–six years before its actual release–when Honda enlisted the help of Italian design firm Pininfarina to design the HP-X (Honda Pininfarina Experimental). Originally, Honda’s plan was to create a car whose performance could exceed that of the Ferrari 328–and later, the 348–while exhibiting typical Honda reliability and build quality. Bodywork design was inspired by the 360-degree visibility within an F-16 cockpit, and the NS-X (New Sportscar Experimental) was the first production car to feature an all-aluminum chassis, suspension, body, and engine, responsible for saving more than 220kg. Enthusiasts were stunned by its low ride height, stunning lines, and cockpit-forward design, and today early production models are among the best used sports cars available on the market because–well–it’s a Honda, and for the most part, they are still reliable enough to enjoy everyday 18 years later.

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  • 23. ASTON MARTIN DB5

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    Ah, yes. Goldfinger, 007, and his DB5. Aston Martin had already made its reputation as one of a handful of proud British car companies who hand-built their cars, but the Bond films made Aston Martin glamorous. Aston was mostly concerned with style rather than outright performance, even though the DB5 would do 150 plus in 1961. Problem was, you weren’t always guaranteed it wouldn’t break. Another (potential) problem enthusiasts have noted is that while the DB5 is no doubt one of the greatest grand tourers of all time, it lacks the singleness of purpose expected from a sports car. So while its coolness is unquestioned, it can’t be higher than middle of the pack on a list like this.

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  • 22. AUDI R8

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    Based on the Lamborghini Gallardo, the Audi R8 has a longitudinally mounted mid-engine, Audi’s trademark “Quattro” AWD system, and the Porsche 911 Turbo’s number. Released in 2007, the R8 became an instant worldwide success, combining Italian curb appeal with German engineering. Critics proclaimed that it could potentially be the best all around sports car ever built, thanks in part to its everyday usability as well as its neutral handling, which makes the car simultaneously less impressive but more involving than other supercars like the Nissan GTR. The Audi rewards driver inputs, but manages to do so in such an evenhanded way that driving it can seem almost too easy. In the end, the one blot on its record was its diminutive 4.2L V8, but an available 5.2L FSI V10 model followed in 2009 which solidified the Audi in the “supercar” category without sacrificing its more endearing qualities–being easy on the eyes, and the ass, and the wallet (relatively speaking, of course).

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  • 21. LAMBORGHINI COUNTACH

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    In Italian, the word Countach means something like Wow! and just looking at the car you can see why. The Countach is responsible for pioneering and popularizing the chiseled, wedge-shaped, cabin-forward design that became so popular in supercars of the 1980s. Inspired by F1 technology, the Countach owed much of its performance credentials to its exceptionally wide wheels and tires, and its powerful mid-engine V12 helped it exceed 150 mph. Its price also exceeded 150–thousand dollars that is, making the Countach an attention grabber and pin-up magnet wherever it went. For a whole generation of car enthusiasts, this is the wet dream that stole their car virginity, not to mention their hearts.

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  • CLICK HERE FOR CARS 20 – 11
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    4 Responses

    1. Ted says:

      08+ Viper ACR is the World’s Fastest Road Car and set the fastest time ever at the Nuremberg Ring. Car was originally based on the AC Cobra and Shelby’s Daytona coupe. The 2nd Gen Viper GTS won an unbelievable amount of Grand Prix races so now the Viper has to race as the heaviest car on the track and is forced to use 30-40% Intake restrictor plates to slow it way down – yes, it’s that fast!

    2. Ian says:

      From about 2007 the Elise does have electric windows and air-bags. Cup-Holders? In a drivers car? Whatever next. It’s about driving, not cruising. Next you’ll be putting cupholders in F1 cars.

    3. Joshua says:

      How on earth can you have multiple versions of basically the same car Porsche 911 and the Lotus Elise over the superior Lotus Esprit?