March 1, 2006
Stylish, sexy, sleek, streamlined, spirited and speed demon are all words used to describe sports cars, which are essentially two-door automobiles that are designed for high speeds, great power and smashing good looks. The manufacture of the modern-day sports car began only after 1945, when the economy started booming, technology developed dramatically and better roads were being built. They came in various shapes like convertibles, roadsters, coupes, grand tourers and sedans. Sports-car lovers are either devoted to timeless classics that have been souped up for current times, or are trendsetters looking for the latest kind of exotic car.
From powerful purring beauties like the Mercedes Benz SLK 350 to thundering thrillers like the Ford Mustang V-8, you can choose a sports car that matches your personality. In fact, sports cars are as much about personality as they are about performance – smooth aerodynamic bodies of carbon fiber, chrome pipes and fittings, rich leather upholstery, wide wheels, shiny wooden panels and snazzy paint jobs.
Different brands of sports cars adopt different principles of design. Some cars may be light in order to achieve greater acceleration, others may boast of extremely powerful engines for better car handling and performance, while still others may stress safety and comfort rather than style. The majority of contemporary sports cars have front-wheel drives as opposed to rear-wheel drives, which were more common in the earlier generation of sports cars. Many cars also have the engine in the center, driving the rear wheels, which is unique to sports cars. In these cars, the engine is placed behind the driver, at the middle of the chassis. Porsche is the only sports car that has the engine mounted at the rear, driving the rear wheels. This aspect is a crucial part of car design, as it affects the maneuverability or handling of the car, which is critical at high speeds.
The most well known brands today are Ferrari, Porsche, Lotus, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Triumph. Companies which manufacture other cars also make some sports models; prominent among these are Ford, Toyota, Honda, Chevrolet, Mitsubishi, Mazda, and Nissan. Today, the design and manufacture of sports cars is becoming more specialized and competitive, with newer, more attractive designs and a higher degree of technical sophistication being utilized.
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