Classic Cars: The History of Sports Cars
Defined by a Wikipedia article as a “small, two seated, two door vehicle designed for spirited performance and nimble handling”, the sports car has long fascinated classic car enthusiasts. Car lovers nationwide have differing opinions about what makes sports cars so great; is it the elegant body design, the tremendous power output of the high-rev engines, or the distinctive throaty musical note of the exhaust pipes?
Of course originally, cars were created as a functional solution to a problem, rather than an aesthetically pleasing piece of art. Although throughout the years we have had an eye for beauty and a thirst for power and speed when it comes to vehicles. This truth of human nature is what led to the development of the first “sports cars.”
The birth of the sports car can be attributed to the early 20th century touring cars and roadsters. These were raced in early rallies, such as the Herkomer Cup, Prinz Heinrich Fahrt, and Monte Carlo. The actual term “sports car” did not make its way to standard car vernacular until after World War One, but the first sports cars are thought to be the 3 litre 1910 Prince Henry (Prinz Heinrich) Vauxhall 20 hp and the 27/80PS Austro-Daimler designed by Ferdinand Porsche.
Although there have been many developments throughout the years regarding different versions of the sports car, two companies ended up offering the first truly reliable sports cars. This was Austin with the Seven, and Morris Garages (MG) with the Midget.
One of the discoveries made about the development of sports cars as they entered the driving world more rapidly included the fact that the drive train and engine layout significantly influenced the handling characteristics of an automobile, which is crucially important in the design of a sports car. In order to potentially improve handling and weight distribution, alternate layouts were sometimes used in place of the standard front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout of vehicles not classified as sports cars.
Prior to the 1980’s it was rare for a sports car to use four-wheel drive as this traditionally added a lot of weight to the vehicle. However due to safety issues, especially in adverse weather conditions, four-wheel drive has become a necessity and is quite commonly found in high-powered sports cars, such as the Porsche, Lamborghini, and the Bugatti Veyron.
Whether you own a classic sports car or any other type of classic or antique car, it’s important to protect it financially with the right type of insurance coverage. At Condon Skelly, we know how exciting it can be to start a classic car collection. We’ve been helping our customers protect their classics with affordable, industry-leading insurance coverage since 1967. We’re a group of collectors, enthusiasts, and professionals who specialize in insuring all types of collector vehicles. For more information, please contact us today at (866) 291-5694.