Motivation to Walk – Getting Started

Sports cars are made for individuals, guys and girls who want excitement and fun, who want something different to the average everyday car.

Some sports cars are refined and sophisticated, sports machines for the businessman with power, comfort and impeccable manners. Others are raw and macho, beasts where comfort didn’t even make it onto the list of essential attributes. And still others fall somewhere in between.

But they’re all fun to drive and most of them are drop dead gorgeous.

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Porsche: The Cars and the Company

Brilliant and unconventional cars have been the hallmark of Porsche for over 100 years. The cars, their history, pictures, specs, and the story behind them are all here.

A Lifetime of Automotive Genius

Professor Porsche was designing and building cars before the start of the twentieth century. His first design was shown at the Paris exhibition of 1900; a revolutionary front-wheel drive electric car. Porsche was racing a four-wheel drive version of the car in the early 1900’s.

He designed an airplane engine and military vehicles in WWI, and between the wars he designed the seven liter Daimler-Benz Mercedes, a supercharged V16, mid-engined Grand Prix racing car for Auto-Union, and the Volkswagen Beetle, the world’s best selling car, among others. WWII saw him designing more military equipment including tanks.

The French imprisoned Porsche after World War 2 and his son Ferry ran the Porsche design bureau, designing the first Porsche branded car, the 356, while he was working for Professor Porsche’s release. (More Porsche history)

Porsche Sports Cars

The Porsche 356 was the first of a line of exciting and charismatic sports cars. It started life with a warmed up VW engine and other VW parts but it was still a desirable sports car and a good looker. During its production life the 356 went from 40 to 130 bhp along with a heap of technical improvements that made it handle better and stop better, and styling changes to make it look better.
(Click here for 356 pictures and posters)
The classic 911 followed in 1964, the car that is “Porsche”. It had a strong family resemblance to the 356, but was more modern and more powerful. It still holds its age well. (911 pictures and posters)

Another VW based Porsche followed in 1969, the mid-engined 914. Its styling wasn’t popular and the VW connection was against it. Sales were low.

Porsche brought out front-engined water-cooled cars, the 924 and 928in 1976 and 1977 respectively. The 928 won “Car of the Year” in 1977, the first time a sports car had won the award.

In the 21st Century, Porsche is still going strong, and still producing brilliant sports cars.

The Development of Sports Cars

This site has classic sports cars history, pictures and collectibles, focusing on the 50’s 60’s and 70’s. This page gives their development from the earliest to the latest.

These cars are about enjoyment, good looks, style, and character. Some of the most successful ever in terms of numbers sold were based on family sedan mechanicals, uprated a bit and clothed in gorgeous bodies. Others were built from the ground up to be rubber-laying monsters, a race car for the road.

Whatever their origins sports cars are pure delight. Just looking at them makes you feel good. (And you can look at them on the sports car pictures page).

Early Days

Read moreThe Development of Sports Cars

The Classic Ferrari Sports Cars

Ferrari sports cars are some of the world’s most beautiful, exotic and desirable machines. Their history and posters on here on the Ferrari pages. Click here for pictures and posters of these beautiful and exciting sports cars.

Enzo Ferrari was an aero engine mechanic in WWI and after that a tester for a company that converted Lancia truck chassis’s to passenger vehicles. He raced in the 1920 Targa Floria, he became a works driver for Alfa Romeo shortly after and from that moved into management of their racing team.

In 1929 Ferrari started his own racing team, and ultimately after WWII he started building under his own name Ferrari sports cars and racing cars. (More Ferrari history)
Ferrari Sports Cars

Ferrari sports cars were made from the same materials as the racing cars. Indeed the early cars were thinly disguised racing cars but eventually Ferrari bowed to public demand and began over time, to produce some of the most stylish and exciting sports cars that were ever released to the public. Pininfarina, the famed Italian designer, was responsible for the most stylish and classic shaped Ferraris. Bertone was also called upon for design work. Often the coachwork was built by Scaglietti.

At first Enzo Ferrari was not terribly enthusiastic about building sports cars as his main interest lay with the racing scene. However, he conceded it was a necessary evil if he was to continue to fund his racing cars. To start with, only small numbers of each model were made and the production runs were not very efficient.

Ferrari as most people think of it today – Michael Schumacher and the Ferrari F1
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A somewhat confusing system combining letters and numbers was used to name the Ferrari sports cars. Some were even named after a race that Ferrari had won eg the 166 MM named after finishing first in the Mille Miglia road race in 1950, the 250 LM came from the Le Mans, the 1952 340 Mexico was so named after victory in the Mexican Road Race etc.

The Early Cars

Enzo released his first Ferrari sports car in 1947, the 166 Inter, with the engine designed by Colombo. It was modified from the original racer, the V-12 166. In 1950 the 166 Inter grew into the larger engined 195 and 212 Inters and finally the 212 Export. Altogether, there were about 250 of these cars built.

Breaking into the American Market

In 1951 Enzo Ferrari attempted to break into the American market with the Ferrari 340 America. It had a four-seat cabin offering some leg room to the rear passengers. This was also the first Ferrari imported into the UK. Lampredi’s beast of an engine was extremely long so the wheelbase was lengthened to 2420 mm. The 4101 cc V-12 produced 220 bhp at 6000 rpm. It had a five-speed unsynchronised gearbox and depending on the body style the top speed was between 130-150 mph. Twenty-five units had been sold when the America 340 was replaced by the America 342.

The America 342 catered more to the American culture by providing a more luxurious and spacious car built specifically for road use whereas his other cars were more racers adapted for the road.

The 342 had a synchronised four-speed gearbox however it was disappointing with poor handling due to the engine being placed a foot forward to give more leg room for the interior. Only 6 were ever made.

Following the America 342 came the 375 America in 1953, the 410 SuperAmerica and then the 500 Superfast built in 1955. These were only available to the wealthiest people, being some of the most expensive cars around at the time. Few were built and then to customers specific requests.

The Classic Road Cars

In 1953 the first of the stylish Ferrari 250 series were shown at the Paris show. The 250 Export and Europa were better road cars for their styling and purpose. About 50 of these were built. The Ferrari sports cars were now not so much racers that had been adapted for the road but were built specifically for the non-racing driver.

The release of the Ferrari Daytona in 1968 was a bit of a disappointment to the Ferrari enthusiasts as they were expecting a competitor to the Lamborghini Miura. Instead they got a conventional Grand Tourer. It had electric windows and was comfortably functional and was at its best once on the open road when the driver could realise the speed the Daytona became famous for. Over 1400 were built from 1968 – 1973.

The Dino 206 was a very stylish and sporty V-6 which was named after Enzo Ferrari’s son. It carried the Dino badge only and had no Ferrari logos. Following this model came the 308 GT4 in 1975 (styled by Bertone) and the more popular 308 GTB which was styled by Pininfarina. Over 20,000 of the latter were built. The 308 GTB developed into the 328 GTB in 1985 with a 3185 cc engine giving 270 bhp and a top speed of 160 mph (275 kph).

Built from 1973 – 1984 the ever popular Ferrari Boxer had a 5 speed manual with a 4.4 liter (269 cu in) flat-12 engine (boxer engine) which gave a top speed of 188 mph (302 kph). It went from 0-60 mph (96 kph) in just 5.2 seconds making it one of the fastest cars ever made! The Ferrari Testarossa built in 1984 was the successor to the Boxer. The side-mounted radiators and cooling side ducts became a distinctive feature of the model.

Present Day Cars

After 40 years of building the Ferrari marque, Enzo celebrated by bringing out the fastest Ferrari ever. The F40 is one the greatest Ferrari sports cars ever built, a real super machine. The rear wing gave the model a racing car look and is probably the shape that most people think of when Ferrari is mentioned. With a top speed of 201 mph (323 kph) the F40 was the fastest Ferrari ever made.

One of the goals was also weight reduction and the F40 used a lot of composite materials which were about 20% lighter than conventional materials.

The Ferrari F50 brought about a new look for the marque. It was based on the 1990 Formula One 641/2 and was simply adapted to be used as a legal road car. Many of the features and look of the car all said “racing”, however it was surprisingly nice and easy to drive. It had a V-12, 521 bhp engine and 6 speed manual gearbox. Only 349 built making this a rare model which when first released had an asking price of $555,000.

The present day Ferraris sports cars which are still in production include the 348/F355 and 550 Maranello. The Ferrari 348 has a V-8 longitudinally placed engine which enabled it to be placed lower on the chassis. This has given the 348 a longer length but more importantly it has a low centre of gravity, resulting in exceptional handling. The side cooling strakes are very similar to the Testarossa and the 348 has an elegant and luxurious interior. It is available as a coupe, targa or spider configuration. In 1994 it was upgraded from a 3.4 liter (207 cu in) 300 bhp to become the F355 with a 3.5 liter (214 cu in) V-8 381 bhp engine.

The 550 Maranello is a new front-engined 2 seat sports car that comes with a V-12 6-speed manual or 5-speed automatic gearbox.

The latest version released in 2003 is the Ferrari 575 M Maranello. It boasts a 5.7 liter (348 cu in), 65-Degree V-12, Formula One 6-Speed manual transmission. The reviews rave about the handling and performance of this very special machine, one that will carry on the Ferrari line of technical excellence.

Chevrolet History and the Chevy Sports Cars

The Chevy pages have Chevrolet history, Corvette history and Corvette pictures and posters.

Chevy has been making cars for almost a century and for many of those years it has been the best selling car in the world. Even though it has been General Motors low cost brand Chevy hasn’t shied away from innovation and it made the American sports car, the Corvette, as well as the Camaro, the sporting Corvairs, and muscle cars such as the 427 Impala and the 454 Monte Carlo.

The Start of Chevrolet

Chevrolet history started way back in 1911 with William C. Durant, a man of obvious entrepreneurial bent. Sadly, he wasn’t as good at keeping control of companies as he was at starting them. He founded General Motors in 1908, but lost control of it in 1910. He had been expanding GM rapidly, buying up jewels like Buick and Oldsmobile, but he also bought a few companies that weren’t so good. By July 1910 GM was $7 million in the red. The banks financed a rescue package, but as part of the deal Durant lost control of the company.

Durant was determined to get control of General Motors again, and as part of his plan he started a new car manufacturing company in 1911. He hired Louis Chevrolet who was a well known racing driver and a talented mechanic to design the cars for the new company. Chevrolet’s name was used for the new enterprise.

The First Chevs

The first car in the Chevrolet history was the 1912 Classic 6, a five seater tourer that could hit 65 mph. It was an expensive car for the times at $2150. A smaller six cylinder car followed, then Chevrolet had its first big success with a four-cylinder, overhead-valve car that could be bought as a tourer for the family man or two seat sporty roadster for the single man about town.

Louis Chevrolet gave his name to the new car manufacturing company, but he wasn’t part of Chevrolet history for long, leaving the company in 1913.

Chevrolet laid down a challenge to Ford in 1915 with the 2.7 liter, overhead-valve “490”, so named because it cost $490. It was designed to compete with the Ford’s Model T, and it was a good seller, despite Ford continuing to beat Chevrolet in cost and quality.

Chevrolet also sold cars higher priced cars competing with the Oakland and Oldsmobile from GM in the $1100 -$1400 price range. Chevy’s first V-8 was one of these, the Type D, which came out in 1917 with overhead valves and 286 cubic inch capacity, available as a tourer or roadster

William Durant started the Chevrolet Motor Company of Delaware in 1915. He exchanged shares in that company for GM shares to regain control of GM. Chevrolet merged with General Motors in 1918.

Saving Chevrolet

Durant lost control of GM again in 1920. GM and Durant himself were in financial trouble because of GM’s rapid expansion since Durant had become President again, and a downturn in business in 1920 that caused major financial problems. It was recommended that Chevrolet be closed down since there was no way that it could be made profitable again.

Luckily for General Motors that never happened. The company was saved by Alfred P. Sloan who was acting as Executive Vice-President and Pierre du Pont whose family fortune was backing GM.

A meeting was held to decide the future direction of the GM cars and it was decided to keep Chevrolet as GM’s low priced car. At that stage Chevrolet held just four percent of the vehicle market and was $5 million in the red. It was a long way short of even coming close to Ford, the king of the low cost car makers.

Chevrolet’s first move was to update the 490 and call it the Superior. In 1923 they sold over 480,000 cars. Chevy was on its way back!

1926 Chevrolet Boat Tail Speedster

The Cast Iron Wonder

In the mid to late twenties Chevrolet was using a four cylinder engine to power its cars but in 1929 they brought out a new six. The new engine had a capacity of 3.2 liters and gave 46 bhp at 2600 rpm. It was called “the cast iron wonder” because of its cast iron pistons. Another name for it was the “Stove Bolt Six” because of the slotted-head bolts used in it.

Amazingly it was a development of the 1929 six that powered the first Corvettes in 1953.

The “Cast Iron Wonder” was upgraded in 1937 to give 85 bhp and it was officially called the “Blue Flame”.

Chevy Firsts

Chevrolet beat Ford in car sales for the first time in 1927, but only because Ford shut down its plant for months to retool for the Model A. In 1931 Chevrolet genuinely beat Ford in the sales race, and since then, apart from just three years Chevrolet has been the best selling American make, an incredible achievement.

Chevrolet may have been a low cost make but it didn’t just follow the rest of the pack. In 1930, the year they sold their 7 millionth car, Chev was the first to use articulated brake shoes, in 1934 they were the first to use independent front suspension and in 1935 they were first to bring out a station wagon.

Juan Manuel Fangio raced a Chevrolet with the Blue Flame six in 1939, not winning, but doing well enough to come to the attention of GM in Argentina and get help from them. The next year he won the Aires-Lima road race over some of the World’s worst roads, and won another four major races in the next two years plus more races after the war.

Chevrolet History, Post WWII

Chevrolet sold over 1,300,00 cars and trucks in 1941 but their manufacture of civilian vehicles stopped in January 1942. Chevrolet put their industrial muscle behind the war effort in 1941, making war equipment including highly complicated Pratt and Whitney aircraft engines.

The next peacetime car didn’t arrive until late 1945. Immediate post-war cars were a continuation of the pre-war cars. The first all-new post-war car came in 1949 with the Fleetline fastback and the Styleline bustleback. Another Chevrolet first was their low-cost automatic in 1950, the two speed Powerglide.

`55 Bell Air

And so Chevrolet just kept on doing what it did well right into the 21st century– giving the motoring public great cars at a great price, with innovation and flair. The 1958 Impala with Chev prices and Cadillac big car looks was a big hit. It was to become the most successful full size car ever. The Chevy II gave buyers the choice of smaller cars.

In 1965 Chevrolet sold over 2 ½ million cars.

The Blazer four wheel drive came out in 1969, small pickups in 1972 and the Chevette in 1976. A real piece of Chevrolet history happened in 1979, with the 100 millionth built. 1980 saw the first front wheel drive Chev.

In the 21st century Chevrolet continues the tradition it has set since 1911, winning industry awards and giving the public what it wants.

The Chevrolet Sports Cars

The Corvette, the true American sports car, was introduced in 1953. It had the looks but not the performance. It had the Blue Flame Special six and two speed Powerglide auto at first and wasn’t popular, but the sales improved with introduction of the small-block V-8 in 1955. The Corvette Sting Ray was an instant winner in 1963. It had minor cosmetic and mechanical changes each year with major restyles in 1968 and 84. The biggest engine available was 427 cu in (7 liters) and 560 bhp – a real muscle car.

1960 Corvette – All American Series

The Camaro was Chev’s answer to the Ford Mustang. Like the Mustang it had an enormous range of options so that a car could be exactly tailored to a customers requirements. The Camaro Z28 was a homologation special with a 302 race engine giving 290 bhp at 5800 rpm, built for TransAm racing. In 1969 the Z28 won 18 out of 25 races.

The Corvair was Chevrolet’s answer to the VW Beetle and other European economy cars. It had a flat-six air-cooled engine in the back and it was the first American car with four wheel independent suspension. Even with a sporty convertible body the Corvair wasn’t a great sales success, and being prominently featured in Ralph Nader’s book “Unsafe At Any Speed” finished it off. Chevrolet built sporty roadsters back in the early twentieth century, classic sports cars since the mid twentieth century and they continue the tradition in the early twenty-first century with the fifth generation of America’s favorite sports car, the Chevrolet Corvette.