Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Dawn of the Hypercar

Really it should read “The Demise of the Supercar” because that’s exactly whats happened over the last 10 or so years. I grew up in the 80’s which meant the poster of the white Lamborghini Countach on my wall or maybe the Ferrari F40, it was the golden time of the Supercar. It was an arms race to build the fastest car, with the main prize for breaking the 200mph marker.

One thing though, despite the speed, the wings and the sound was the price for such a car was not astronomical. Don’t get me wrong they weren’t cheap but their price I suppose meant that actually got used for their built purpose, to drive and driving them meant effort.

Move forward 30 years and the world’s gone hypercar mad and the supercar has lost not only its way but its title. Now this has been a two pronged attack, firstly in Europe back in the 80’s a car with 130bhp was deemed very powerful and very fast, we’re talking Ford Escort Turbo’s here and their ilk.

At the time a Supercar could have 250-300bhp and everything was in the order it should be. Today an equivalent Ford Focus RS runs 320bhp.

The second prong is the Hypercar, we’re talking VeyronSuper Sport competing territory here, with ridiculous figures where if you’re not close to 1000bhp, 250mph, exotic materials and a price tag of over $1,000,000 then you may as well go home. But at these prices they don’t often get driven, I hate the term “collector car” but that’s all they are. A thing to brag about, a status symbol showing off your wealth that are traded like pieces of art or commodities.

So where does this leave the old Supercar, well that’s awkward, in the desire to improve sales production numbers have had to increase, I’m looking at Ferrari and Lamborghini here which has meant the exclusivity has dropped. Hell Ferrari reduced production in order to maintain this!!!! In the 80’s catching sight of a supercar was a memorable experience that would stop you in your tracks as you looked and pointed at it, but today with increased reliability, comfort and drivability they can be used every day and do in ever increasing numbers. So if you really ask yourself what do the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini build? I bet the answer is now “Sports cars” which are now sat above daily cars like fast Audi’s and BMW’s. Not only aspirational in ownership but achievable to ever increasing numbers which again removes the Supercar maniacal. Their styling has also been softened and cleaned up to attract as wide an audience and buyer as possible, whereas Hypercars are as they should be, a marvel to be seen with wings and scoops all over the place and over the top interiors to match the performance, just look at the Zonda below. So are hypercars simply the evolution of the supercar or are they well above them.

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