Supercar of the Century

The supercar has developed constantly over the past century, with so many notable mentions, your votes on our Instagram picked the top two for each decade

 

The definition of the word ‘supercar’ has often been more cultural than technical. The first use of the word ‘supercar’ can be traced back to the 1920s — but it was not until the 1960s that supercars as we would recognise them today started to appear.

This was the decade that Ford introduced its GT40, derived from its racing counterpart. Though this is often considered the world’s first supercar, others prefer to hand that accolade to the Lamborghini Miura — a ‘60s marvel that, unlike the GT40, was initially conceived as a road car. The beautifully designed and mid-engineered Miura epitomised what many people have come to associate with supercars – a boatload of power, exclusivity, beautiful styling and a wild nature that’s just not replicable in any other genre of car.

Today, the Collins dictionary continues to define a supercar as “a very expensive, fast or powerful car with a centrally located engine”.

However, a broader — and perhaps more fitting — definition is put forward by the Cambridge Dictionary, which describes a supercar as “a very fast car, usually, one that is an unusual or rare type”.

The loose definition of the word ‘supercar’ has led many people to judge a vehicle’s supercar credentials from the feelings of prestige that the product generates rather than a highly technical list of specs and features.

Good examples of landmark cars that have been released over the decades and given ‘supercar’ status include the Lamborghini Countach and the Ferrari F40, two iconic poster-cars that were every young petrolhead’s dream throughout the 70s and 80s. In the 90s the McLaren F1 arrived, setting new supercar performance benchmarks, including a world record top speed that only the ridiculously powerful 1000bhp Bugatti Veyron could beat in the mid-2000s.

While an array of more traditional supercars have remained on the scene, forward-thinking brands like Rimac have demonstrated how electric motors are able to match internal combustion engines when it comes to delivering immense power.

Notable picks

Ferrari F40 Finance

Ferrari F40

If you think of Ferrari, and of a certain age, the F40 is the car in your head without any doubt. An absolute icon of the supercar genre, the F40 was built to celebrate Ferrari’s 40th anniversary in 1987.

Designed by Pininfarina, it was built mainly from composites making it extremely light. The sophisticated design and internals gave great dynamic prowess resembling that of a race car.

The F40 was the last Ferrari vehicle that was personally approved by Enzo Ferrari, and was the fastest, most powerful, and most expensive vehicle for sale when it was produced.

McLaren F1

There’s a reason that most people will refer to this as THE McLaren F1. It is possibly the most significant piece of automotive engineering to hit the road.

Originally conceived by the genius mind of Gordon Murray, and after debuting in 1992, it was such a leap ahead in almost every imaginable way that it changed how we think about supercars forever.

“Power, pace and peerless quality, the legendary F1 is a technological masterpiece. The fastest production car of its time. The finest sports car of its generation. For many, the greatest supercar ever built.”

 

Bugatti Chiron Finance

Bugatti Chiron

When Bugatti shocked the world with the Veyron in 2005, we all knew it would take something special to take the next step, the Chiron is that next step.

The Chiron sports an 8.0L quad-turbo, 16-cylinder engine that pumps out at least 1500bhp depending on the variation you pick. The standard Chiron has a top speed of 261mph, but a version with almost identical specs to that of the Super Sport has been tested at a record-breaking 304.773 mph.

Bugatti have made an iconic car every decade for the last 30 years, with the EB110, Veyron and Chiron, and with the Mistral being their last ever W16-powered we’re sure the 2020s will be no exception.