"Sportscar" Re-defined?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by DGS49, Nov 9, 2018.

  1. DGS49
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    DGS49 Gold Member

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    For a long time, those who took cars seriously defined a sports car in basically the following terms: Front engine, rear wheel drive, two seats, stick shift, convertible. From the Miata and the old British roadsters on the one end, to the Corvette, Jaguar E-Type, and Mercedes SL's on the other. Them are sports cars.

    Driving a sports car required not only the ability to make it go, but to make it go FAST (relatively speaking) on a road course by optimizing the power and torque of the engine (shifting gears manually), utilizing oversteer to assist in cornering, managing the deceleration as well as the acceleration of the car for the best overall "lap times," and so forth.

    The lone exception to the accepted sports car definition was the Porsche 911 (and later Boxter), which had the engine behind the rear wheels and two back seats. Sort of. Drivers of the 911 had to have a whole additional set of skills and knowledge to optimize race-course performance, because the tail-heavy car could easily be wrapped around a utility pole due to uncontrolled oversteer. But it was clearly a sports car, despite the unconventional layout.

    The advent of the Mustang brought about a new class - the "sporty" car. Not actually a sports car, but similarly themed and having four seats, it was more or less brought into the fold by the IROC and similar racing series, where they proved themselves very able cars, if not pure sports cars.

    But now technology is taking over. Traction control, stability control, and anti-lock brake systems have dramatically "civilized" the Porsche 911, to the point where, if you can merely point & shoot the car, you can obtain performance comparable to what the best drivers of yesteryear were able to accomplish. Other sports cars also benefit from these innovations, but there is something worse now.

    Today's automatic transmissions, when coupled with ultra-sophisticated computer mapping, can drive better than almost any human driver, squeezing incredible performance out of every HP. And some are even offering 4WD (or AWD, if you prefer). WTF?

    I don't think you can even BUY a Ferrari or top-end German sports car with a stick anymore. Jag? Aston Martin? Even the Japanese are in on it. You can't get a new Acura NSX with a stick. I think you can still get a GTR with a stick, but good luck finding one without a slush box.

    A car with all this electronic garbage is an APPLIANCE, regardless of what the Marketing types want you to believe.

    What's next? Driving with a joy stick?
     
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  2. bear513
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    bear513 Diamond Member

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    A get laid car?


    So many of those..
     
  3. rightwinger
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    rightwinger Award Winning USMB Paid Messageboard Poster Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Still a sports car
    If they had computerized engines and transmissions in the 50s and 60s they would have used them

    It is a different driving experience but still a high performance automobile
     
  4. Natural Citizen
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    Natural Citizen Gold Member

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    The astronauts back in the 60s and 70s were ballers.

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. rightwinger
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    rightwinger Award Winning USMB Paid Messageboard Poster Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    They used to get those cars for free to drive for a year
    At the end of the year, they would get a new one and the dealer would sell the old one as driven by an astronaut
     
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  6. Natural Citizen
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    Natural Citizen Gold Member

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    Yeah? I didn't know that. It makes sense. They likely sold those things for a lot of money, too. Those guys were rock stars back then.

    Dave Scott's Bulova that he wore on the moon during Apollo 15 went for 1.6 million dollars a couple of years ago. It's the only privately owned watch that went to the surface of the moon.

    Yet Paul Newman's Rolex Daytona went for 17.5 milllion. Gosh.

    I think Newman had some nice cars, too.
     
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  7. Jimmy_Chitwood
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    Jimmy_Chitwood Gold Member

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    By definition it can be 1 / 1024 th sports car and still be a sports car - axe Elizabeth Pocahontas Warren
     

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