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THE QUESTION “What is a sports car?” was addressed in Road and Track by no less than John R. Bond. And, indeed, when John and his wife Elaine assumed control of the magazine in 1952, the “&” in Road & Track was still two years away.
The magazine was already for enthusiasts of sports cars—whatever that term implied. But did a sports car have to be foreign? Could it have a fixed roof? Did a hot rod qualify?
What follows are John’s thoughts on the matter.
Before going very far in any discussion of sports cars, it becomes necessary to attempt some sort of definition.
Perhaps the simplest way to differentiate a sports car from the common production type is to say that a true sports car must offer the enthusiastic and discerning motorist something extra in the way of driving pleasure.
Thus, a sports car should not only be capable of exceeding stock car performance as regards acceleration, top speed, cruising speed, and braking power…
… but also incorporate a certain refinement in controllability and general road-worthiness that makes for all-around safety…
… while still giving pleasure to the owner in an abundance of power under perfect control.
Thanks, John. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2012
I find it unfortunate that so many of today’s luxury vehicles would be included within this definition. Or perhaps that’s a good thing, that a gussied-up family sedan can provide the performance and safety that once-upon-a-time was reserved only for the most sporting of machines.
A very good point.
John could not have imagined the performance level of modern cars.
I believe “driving pleasure” is still a good metric.
Right on, Dennis.