“Your favourite sports car”. What are the things you look for? By following their development across the decades, the features of each, such as body styling and performance, can be compared to find which you think is the best.
In this Article, I offer a nostalgic look at the sports car highlights covering the memorable period of the 1940’s to the 1980’s, which featured the introduction and development of many classic cars, some of which are household names.
By the end of WW2, many European car manufacturers looked to the US as a means of generating sales since the home markets had, in many cases, been almost wiped out.
Furthermore, affluent post-war Americans were developing a taste for the sports car which they had acquired whilst in Europe during the war.
Leading the European charge into the US market, in the late 1940’s, were the following:
MG TC Midget, MG TD Midget, Triumph Roadster, Aston Martin DB1, Jaguar XK120
Classic cars of distinction from the 1940’s included:
- Healey Silverstone – 1949
- Allard J2 – 1949
- Ferrari 166 Inter – 1948
- Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 – 1947
- HRG 1500 Aero – 1945
During the 1950’s, the economy in the US was growing rapidly, which generated additional demand for sports car ownership.
By now, a multitude of British and European models were being showcased for both home and export markets. Important amongst these were the following:
Austin Healey 100-6, Triumph TR2, MGA, Lotus Elite, Porsche 356
Other manufacturers, who were very active in the 50’s, included such memorable names as:
Alfa Romeo, Bristol, Maserati and Morgan
In the latter part of the 1950’s, the import of European sports cars into the US was now widely accepted, and they now represented a permanent feature of the US auto scene.
Classic cars of distinction from the 1950’s included:
- Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa – 1958
- Ferrari 410 Super America – 1957
- Jaguar D-Type – 1954
- Ferrari 500 Testa Rossa – 1956
- Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato – 1959
- Jaguar XKSS – 1957
- Porsche RSK Spider – 1957
- Ferrari 250 GT – 1959
- Aston Martin DB3S – 1956
In the 1960’s, one of the features of the market for classic cars in the US was that of specialist models, which incorporated a number of features copied from their European rivals.
Typical examples included the Ford Mustang and Corvette Stingray.
Some of the most memorable models produced in the 60’s included the following:
Jaguar E-Type, Corvette Stingray, Daimler SP250 Dart, Ford Mustang, AC Cobra
Classic cars of distinction from the 1960’s included:
- Ferrari 250 GTO – 1962
- Alfa Romeo Giulia Duetto – 1967
The oil crisis of the 1970’s created a shift away from “gas-guzzling” cars to the more fuel-efficient.
Although this had an effect on the sales of certain sports cars, their development was maintained with some exciting new models, including:
TVR 2500M, Lotus Elan, Triumph TR6, Marcos 1600, Ferrari Dino 246 GT
Classic cars of distinction from the 1970’s included:
- Lamborghini Miura P400SV – 1971
- Ferrari 365 BB – 1973
- De Tomaso Pantera GTS – 1971
- Maserati Bora – 1979
- Ferrari 512 BB – 1976
- Lamborghini Coutach LP400S – 1977
The 1980’s started on a sad note with the demise of the MGB and Triumph TR.
However, some of the most significant models in this period included names that will always be remembered with pride:
Aston Martin Vantage, Lotus Esprit Turbo, Morgan Plus 8, Ferrari Mondial Cabriolet, Porsche 911 3.2 Speedster
Classic cars of distinction from the 1980’s included:
- Ferrari F40 – 1987
- Ferrari 288 GTO – 1984
- Porsche 959 – 1987
- Lamborghihi Countach 5000 QV – 1985
Finally, to conclude my summarised roll of honour, consider those that featured prominently in the 1990’s, a further period of affluence which, once again, created new demand for the sports car.
Although they may not be regarded as classics, they nonetheless constituted an important milestone in sports car memorabilia:
Lamborghini Diablo, Jaguar XJ220, Aston Martin DB7 Volante, Porsche 996 GT3 RS, McLaren F1 regarded by many as the finest sports car ever produced
This marked the end of this classic car review
Perhaps this stroll down memory lane might have answered, or at least shed light on, the original question:
Do You Have A Favourite Sports Car?