Best Sports Car Of All Time: Top 10

[Source: Ride Lust]

1. Porsche 911
It’s hard to believe that the top of this list could be occupied by a car with any ties to the VW Beetle, but alas, it is, and deservedly so. The 911 is the second oldest nameplate in continuous production (behind the Corvette) and it is the oldest living example of the air (now liquid) cooled longitudinally mounted rear engine technology pioneered by Porsche’s founder. Physics dictates that putting the engine in the rear of the car is quite possibly the worst place to put it as it causes the car to violently oversteer into corners and makes stability an issue. Nonetheless, the story of the 911 is one of engineers progressively tweaking a car to succeed in spite of itself. When it comes to owning a supercar you can actually drive every day, the 911 is still the best game in town. The car exudes quality, restraint, and German car love and our own car lust. And it’s a car you can see on the street, and a car it’s okay to dream of owning, because used models are always available in a wide range of prices. It is fast, exotic, expensive, and delivers the sort of unadulterated joy of driving one could only expect from the best sports car ever made. And that is why the 911 rocks.

2. McLaren F1
The McLaren F1 is still quite possibly the greatest road going car of all time. It may have abdicated its top speed crown of 240.1mph, but it did so without the help of forced induction, making it the fastest Naturally Aspirated road car to this day. The F1 has a unique three seat design, with the driver’s seat positioned in the middle, making entry and exit a bit of a pain, but it optimizes the driving experience, which is the F1’s most brilliant trait. There are few cars that can rival the F1’s ability to combine street car with race car, and still fewer do so in such a mature but still sexy exterior. But while the F1 excels in the performance category, its effect is mostly aspirational, inspiring future high-end exotics and our own lowly middle class visions of grandeur. Getting an F1 is like applying for public office: you need money, charisma, and clout, and even then, there aren’t always enough spots to go around. To an enthusiast, the F1 may be number 1, but in the whole scheme of things, it’s simply too exclusive.

3. Ferrari 250 GTO
You are looking not only at the best Ferrari of all time, but in some minds, the best sports car of all time period. Certainly, the former assertion would seem enough evidence to grant the latter. And certainly, this car is well deserving of its title as the Most Beautiful Car ever built, as its FR proportions are definitely easier on the eyes than any modern MR car. So why is it sitting here at number 3? Because an all-time list must take into account the breadth of a car’s effect, and while in its day, and in its place, the journalistic community could make a good case for placing it at number one, an all time list shouldn’t be dominated by a car that needs such an explanation. Both in terms of ground breaking performance and overarching effect on the population at large, the 250 GTO just doesn’t stack up against the final two cars on our list.

4. Bugatti Veyron
What can be said about this car that hasn’t been said thousands of times, and sometimes even cleverly? The Veyron brushes shoulders with the all-time greats not because of what it does, but how it does it. Top speed crowns are momentary honors inevitably passed on to the next generation. Already, the SSC Ultimate Aero and others have surpassed its 253mph top speed, but none have managed to improve on the ease with which the Veyron achieves its stupendous mark. It is composed at any speed, and it isn’t a stripped down street legal race car either, but includes all the amenities deserving of a 1.2 million dollar car. The Veyron has done what many said couldn’t, or even shouldn’t, be done–make a road worthy luxury grand-tourer capable of breaking the speed limit nearly four times over without getting too excited.

5. Lamborghini Miura
Up until the Miura, almost every sports car had been front engine/rear drive. And though De Tomaso had produced a mid-engine car already, the Miura popularized the idea, and became the trend setter for an entirely new age in high performance cars. By today’s standards, the Miura is a beast, just as tall and wide and long as a 599, but its dimensions
house its little secret. You see, mid-engine cars weren’t always, and sometimes, still aren’t, very pretty to look at. Something about the proportions of a cabin-forward design just isn’t as intuitively pleasing to the eye as the aesthetic of a traditional FR car. Look at the Enzo, the Ford GT, the Audi R8, the Countach, the Carrera GT, and the Murcielago: they are all attractive, and exotic, and moving, but they aren’t exactly what we would call pretty. But the Miura, the Miura is pretty, and it is still one of the most significant cars ever produced.

6. Ferrari Enzo
If the F40 car was Enzo’s greatest going away present, the great must the Enzo Ferrari be if it was deemed worthy enough to bear its founder’s name? For the layman driver, this is about as close as you will ever get to the Formula 1 experience in a road car. The engine is, again, in the middle, a V12 with 660HP and a top speed of 220mph, making the performance as insane as the flamboyant body design. It’s not exactly pretty,
per se, but rather so weird as to be exotic looking, much the same way the Countach wooed us way back when. The instant you see it, you see the money it’s rolling over as well, and you notice the guy in the driver seat isn’t you, and the whole fatal attraction begins. There were only 400 of these ever made, but the number of actual surviving units decreases seemingly on a monthly basis. Unlike the Murcielago, there is in fact a shrine dedicated to Enzo deaths (all of them untimely) which reminds us all of how important it is to keep rich celebrities out of these cars. But we aren’t likely to preserve many of them without being movie stars or pro athletes ourselves. Oh, damn you Catch-22!

7. Nissan Skyline
A car of, by, and for the Playstation Generation. That’s what the Skyline is. It was so extreme it was banned from the very streets of North America, and it was so dominant on the racing circuit, it was banned from certain competitions just to give other racers a chance. And the newest model, the R35 GTR, is simply the craziest most insanely capable version yet. It’s entirely programmable, from its engine to its four wheel drive, and it gives the driver more readouts than could be humanly possible to even care about. On the outside, the Skyline is almost in disguise, keeping the monster inside under wraps until that red light or that twisty mountain road comes up, and then a quick downshift and a whistle from the blow-off valve herald the release of “Godzilla” from its mundane trappings. It’s all very dramatic to be sure. But the Skyline appeals to people who are used to shifting gears with their index fingers and driving with their thumbs, and in non-numerical terms, the Skyline is rather plain. It has all the
personality of a can opener, and the curb appeal of an Edmund Spenser poem–sure its beautiful, and undoubtedly significant, but you have to know something about British Literature to appreciate it. All those without a Masters in Tuning and Ricing need not apply.

8. Chevrolet Stingray Corvette
This was the first, and in many ways, still the only real American sports car, and in the 1960s, the Stingray was everything red, white, and blue all rolled into one. It was loud, showy, and shamelessly self-aggrandizing. It was muscle bound, torquey, and was about as refined as a bowl of chili cheese fries. One of the truly remarkable things about the car, though, was its small block V8, which managed to give a small car all the performance of a larger engine in a compact package. The car was still no star in the corners, but that’s okay. Route 66 doesn’t have many corners, nor does a one-finger salute, and those were the two things the Stingray was made for.

9. Jaguar E-Type
When the E-Type hit the streets, Enzo Ferrari declared it was the most beautiful car ever built. But to really grasp the car’s true nature within the context of the 1960s, you have to consult, nay,
yield to your inner Freudian, and accept the fact that this is also the most phallic car ever produced. Sort of a horizontal expression of man’s intentions. Because without that slightly dirty connotation, the E-Type’s charm is completely lost. This Jag was Britain’s rebellious yet groovy “Yawp” from the rooftops of the world, and signaled their dramatic cultural revival from the darkness of post-World War reconstruction. Like many things British, though, the Jag was exceptionally endearing because (and in spite of) its gratuitous mechanical shortcomings, and anyone who has one knows what I’m talking about, and does not need me to remind them about the steering. Or the headlights. Or the brakes. Or the overheating issues…

10. Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing
The 300SL represents the perfect mixture of form and function, and is a surviving testament to German engineering excellence in 1954 when this car stunned the world at the New York Auto Show. It is undeniably pretty, but in a restrained sort of way–very disciplined, very Prussian. It was the fastest car in its day, partially because it was also the first production car to use fuel injection, and partially because of its super light tubular frame, which made the use of those idiosyncratic ‘Gullwing’ doors necessary. By today’s standards, it is not the most brilliant car in the world to drive, but taking into account its effect on the future of automobiles, the SL certainly deserves to be at least this high on the list.

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