The definition of a sports car has changed over the years. What was once limited to open-top 2-seaters has now evolved to include almost any vehicle with four wheels and a sporting nature. Hatchbacks, sedan-based coupes, and even 4-door autos are classified by some as sports cars. Road and Track says, “Ask five people the exact definition of a sports car, and you’ll likely get five different answers.” True sports cars almost always elicit one specific emotion: speed. Even when a sports car is not moving, the aggressive look can prompt observers to say, “look at that fast car.” What makes a car look fast (and therefore sporty)? The form and shape of any car are influenced by the car’s components and occupants. These affect the size and proportions. Specific shape packages are associated with fast cars and speed. An example is a car with the engine located behind the driver. The mid-engined car is strongly associated with race cars and sports cars. All Formula One race cars have a mid-engine configuration. Styling is a significant factor. While the “wedge” and the “taper” improve a car’s aerodynamic properties, both shapes imply speed. Car designers have always been influenced by current sources when creating cars that “look fast.” In the 50s and 60s for example, fast designs sported fins and long, thin shapes, like jet planes and rockets. Today the influence comes from Motorsport. Put an aerodynamic device like a rear wing on a road car, and that car instantly looks faster and more exciting: a sports car!
1976 PORSCHE 924
The Porsche 924 was designed as an entry-level model and as a replacement for the 914. The two-door, 2+2 coup was the first street-ready Porsche with a front engine and automatic transmission that drove the rear wheels. Although it achieved a level of sales success with just over 150,000 produced during a 1977-1988 production run, enthusiasts criticized its mediocre performance The Porsche was remarkably slow even by the standards of its time. The underpowered 2.0-liter EA831 engine was the same previously used in the Audi 100 and a VW van, not exactly examples of high-performance vehicles. The 924 lumbered to a 0-60 mph time of 11.6 seconds and it reached the quarter mile at a snail’s pace in 18.1 seconds.