Super: "over and above : higher in quantity, quality, or degree than"
Car: "a vehicle moving on wheels"
"Sex on wheels"
So a supercar is a wheeled vehicle which is over and above a wheeled vehicle...right. It's probably safe to assume that in this case it means 'higher in quality than the
average wheeled vehicle'. This definition seems somewhat lacking though, mainly because this would put any really nice car into the supercar category. IMHO you
can't objectively define what makes a supercar a supercar, but it's gotta have something special to it.
So what is it?
Forget that for a moment, let's start with 'what isn't it?' A Supercar is not a Sportscar, nor is it a Racecar. A supercar is a masterpiece of Automotive
engineering, with technology far advanced from more mundane "family" and "sports" cars. It also has a huge presence wherever it goes. Take the Lamborghini Diablo for
example - whether it's blasting around a track, ticking over on the freeway or sitting still everyone is going to know it's there. Try parking your 350z
next to it and see how much attention you get... So what is it exactly that sets the supercar apart? Let's have a look:
Speed certainly has something to do with it. A supercar is fast. These days it's generally 300kph+ fast (look here for an extreme example). It
will also have a decent amount of neck-snapping ability due to the awesome acceleration. Driving one hard is about pure adrenaline. Once you tame the beast, you will
own the road (so to speak). Other areas such as handling and braking are usually on the same level as the straight line performance, meaning you can
also also snap your neck laterally without the vehicle losing its stride. Rev it up.
Style is an important factor in the creation of a supercar. Past generations have adhered to the function over form philosophy on the inside and the opposite on the outside. Interiors used to be stripped (the Ferrari F40 is a good example) of creature comforts in the vein of today's race cars, while the exterior bodywork was designed to look good, with less regard for aerodynamics (huge rear wings aside). The Current generation of road warriors fall somewhere in the middle, with the styling designed around the performance requirements of the vehicle. While not exactly plush, most supercar interiors these days are comparable with high end sports cars but often the driving position is less compromising (remember you are piloting a low-slung land missile here, not a shopping trolley). Oh yeah, one thing common to all supercars - they're low. Not just low, they're low. Think waist height and you'll be in the ballpark. They are often very w-i-d-e as well (it's a stability thing), giving a more aggressive appearance to match the swept back, tinted windscreen you are likely to find in accompaniment. In short, supercars today look like exotic machines of tomorrow.
Exclusivity is in demand. Ever seen a Zonda C-12 on the road? How about a McLaren F1? If you're like me you'd like to say yes but know it would be a lie. vehicles of this
calibre make up a very (very) small percentage of all road going automobiles. This is undoubtedly due to the extremely high cost of these machines (the saying "Speed
costs money, how fast do you want to go?" applies). People like to show off, and that's that.
While it may be the case that many of these wondrous machines fall into the clutches of mega rich limp-wristed-popstar-boy band-pansies who just want to impress
chicks and bask in their own popularity, there are many serious enthusiasts as well. These collectors are the heart and soul of the supercar industry. Limited edition (yes
more exclusive) hand built supercars are the jewel in any collector's crown, even more so if it's a classic and in mint condition. The loving restoration and care of such
vehicles is keeping boys' dreams (and those of many girls too I imagine) alive. Consider it art.
Long may there be a place in the world for machines such as these...