Hooniverse Asks- What Makes a Supercar?

I'm super, thanks for asking!
I'm super, thanks for asking!

Yesterday, while drinking free beer and farting in cars we can’t afford working hard on learning what was new and what was newsworthy at the LA Auto Show, Braff and I had a discussion regarding the 5.2-litre 10 elevating the Audi R8 from sports car to supercar. And that brought up the question of what exactly is a supercar?
BugattiOver the years there have been many a contender to the crown- McLaren F1, Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer, Blower Bentley. Almost since the daawn of automotordom, there have been cars that for one reason or another simply stood above all the rest. But what makes that so? Is it number of cylinders? Outright performance? Or maybe it’s exclusivity?
Many of us only dream of such cars, few get to sit in one, much less have the means to keep such rare fillies in our stable. But where does the line from sport to super exist? What is it about cars such as the Veyron that differentiates them and makes them supercars?

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  1. Tanshanomi Avatar

    I have three personal criteria for declaring something a "supercar."
    1) I, along with 96% of the general driving public, would never be able to push it to its true functional limits.
    2) I, along with 96% of the general driving public, will never be able to afford it.
    3) I like it and want it.

    1. Benito Avatar

      I don't think there is any better way to put it then that.

  2. P161911 Avatar

    Rarity, performance, quality, style, and price. It has to be a special occasion to even see one let alone ride/drive in one. A supercar is automotive art by either form or function. Oh, there should probably be more than 3 made, less than 3,000 per year made, and at least one poster and model available.

    1. 1Dollar93 Avatar

      I second the mention about the poster. A supercar needs to be able to revert grown men into young boys.

  3. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

    Unique looks, some sort of speed pedigree, and a power to weight ratio that generally suggests suicidal tendencies.

  4. skitter Avatar

    It will be after work before I can go in depth. But in short, in my mind, the history of the supercar as we know it begins with the Miura, and is generally defined by the 911 Turbo in all its iterations. Basically, if you can run with the contemporary Turbo, you have a supercar.
    Mr. AteUpWithMotor has a very different take that is quite interesting.

  5. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    Not sure that I care.

  6. muthalovin Avatar

    A supercar is a car from Krypton. The yellow sun here on Earth makes them super. Duh!
    More often then not, their Kryptonite is……. oh man, supercars gots a lot of Kryptonites.

  7. blueplate Avatar

    I love this question, and most of the answers.
    I think it's clear that the answer is not, repeat, not, price. Sure, it used to be (say until around 1988, or 1995) that a "supercar" was one that, almost by definition, cost more than $100,000. A Porsche 959, for sure. The fictional Ferrari Mythos from Test Drive III, absolutely.
    But I'm not sure that in today's market, there is any amount of money that separates "supercars" from what I like to call "superb cars". There are just too many choices. A Ferrari California, a Bentley Continental, these are not what I think of as supercars. Even the entry level Aston Martin is just a little bit too attainable. Now, a car that builds a myth around itself, like the three-pax McLaren F1, or the Jaguar XJ220, those are supercars.
    But with apologies to our Italian readership, any current Lamborghini below, say, the Reventón, doesn't strike me as a supercar, but merely something that anyone with a lot of money can buy. There has to be a certain level of unattainability to it, but not too much.
    P161911, I love your specifying a minimum of 3 cars. Agree, times infinity. Someone who's able to build a one-off JTOL-rocket-powered hellraiser, or a nifty demonstration car like the wonderful Cunningham C7 (2001), even if powered by the awesomeness that is Bob Lutz, hasn't made a supercar, or even a superb car, they've made a show car, or concept car. And there's no dishonor in that.. showcars have a special place too. (if I did recently read around these parts that some dude crashed the Ford Indigo concept car that he bought at auction– I shake my head in sadness over that.)
    Now, having said that, James Glickenhaus' Ferrari P4/5 by Pininfarina (2006) does begin to blur the lines between showcar and supercar. It has a lot of Enzo goodness in it, after all.
    Well.. like any good philosophical-auto-hooniversal question, this one's answer may be hard to pin down.

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