The world has seen the invention of many supercars, and automobile companies produce more each year. However, people rarely consider the first supercar and the process it took to produce it. By understanding its origins, we can better appreciate how supercars became such a popular form of car today. Read on to learn about the first supercar produced and how it pioneered the production of many more.
What Makes a Supercar?
Although many of us look at can vehicles and determine whether they’re a mundane model or a supercar, we don't often consider what goes into a supercar. Various aspects define a supercar and why they stand out amongst the millions of vehicles of the world.
These aspects are important for companies looking to define this type of car in the industry. The essentials of any supercar are performance, speed, appearance, and cost. A car can achieve a supercar rating depending on these features; otherwise, people will consider it an everyday vehicle.
A supercar’s performance surpasses that of the many other vehicles worldwide. Performance specs of supercars include horsepower, miles per gallon, and the torque of the wheels. These aspects are typically high, with most supercar horsepower exceeding a moderate estimate of 200 hp.
Some of the best supercars, such as a Maserati Ghibli Trofeo, will have a high horsepower of around 580 hp and noticeably improved performance levels. Gas mileage represents a vehicle's fuel use and shows how well it will perform compared to the amount of gas it requires. The fuel economy is typically better in a supercar, ensuring people can get the most out of their purchase and can spend less time at the gas pump.
The torque is the speed at which the wheels spin, and it impacts how fast the vehicle can move. Torque greater than 400Nm is considered high, and luxury cars such as a Lamborghini Aventador have torque values of 540 Nm.
Speed is a value many people respect in a vehicle and a key reason why many supercars have a great reputation. A supercar's speed typically comes from its 0–60 mph acceleration rate.
Most supercars will accelerate in this range in under four seconds, while other vehicles lower on the pyramid of luxury vehicles will accelerate at eight seconds or more. Speed is an essential factor that puts supercars in a position of popularity in a world where people want to reach their destination as quickly as possible.
Supercars are deemed luxurious because of their performance and speed, but their extravagant appearance makes them instantly stand out. Great detail goes into perfecting a supercar's style and crafting, with only the best materials and paint jobs being trusted for the job.
Luxurious items look distinct and fascinating, and supercars deliver on those desires by maintaining an appearance that makes them attractive and alluring to many. Many great supercars, such as the Audi S8, have modifications available, like an Audi body kit, to further enhance their appearance and performance. The appearance is one of the easiest ways to determine if a vehicle is a supercar. And once you step in and take it for a drive, you'll confirm your guesses that this vehicle is a cut above the rest.
Price tags are typically higher on supercars. Their special parts and materials used to produce supercars come at a cost to acquire or manufacture. The value and rarity of the vehicle also play a great role in the cost of a supercar, as standalone vehicles or cars in limited supply cost more.
Cost is an important part of what defines a supercar and differentiates it from the average vehicle. As we'll soon see, the cost and the previous aspects that defined the first supercar ever produced also impacted how it set the standard for future vehicles.
The First Supercar
The Lamborghini Miura was the first supercar to hit the road. This vehicle came to be in 1966 and was the fastest production road car in the world. The Miura's creation came from the minds of the three top engineers of Lamborghini: Giampaolo Dallara, Paolo Stanzani, and Bob Wallace.
These engineers devoted their personal time to build a vehicle that was fast enough to compete on the racetrack and safe enough for the roads. They worked on the car outside company hours and tried convincing company founder Ferruccio Lamborghini that such a vehicle was possible.
Eventually, he approved the idea for marketing. It later became an amazing vehicle with fantastic specs that would change how automotive engineers built newer cars.
The specs of the Lamborghini Miura were considerably more powerful than any vehicles that came before. The vehicle had many exciting features due to the mixture of racing elements and everyday commuting design. The V12 engine was a rear mid-engine and provided between 345–380 hp depending on the version, with the P400V being the highest.
The vehicle had a rear-wheel drive and a torque of 355–400 Nm. The fastest acceleration came from the P400S or P400V, going from 0–60 in 6.7 seconds. The world hadn't seen performance and speed from vehicles like this before, and people felt thoroughly impressed, especially when former cars paled in comparison.
Models Leading Up to the Lamborghini Miura
It's important to note that the term “supercar” wasn't coined until after the production of the Lamborghini Miura. Although the Lamborghini Miura made history, some vehicles came close to achieving similar fame. The 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL was a great straight-engine car with 300 hp and an iconic mid-20th century style.
The version called the Silver Arrow sold for $142 million because of its specs, but it fell short of the title of the supercar because its design boasted a front engine. The previous year, the Chevrolet Corvette C1 had a top speed of 137 mph and a V8 engine giving it 230 hp. While the vehicle had reliable performance, it didn't necessarily meet the appearance standards for supercars.
Influences for Later Models
The Lamborghini Miura created a standard for future vehicles under the Lamborghini brand and worldwide. People considered a supercar a vehicle with a rear V12 engine for many years.
Later, many companies began changing that standard to fit the idea of a high-performance car with a luxury appearance. Supercars made after the Lamborghini Miura focused on being street-legal and above the standard for sports cars, leading to a hierarchy of cars that would later evolve as more automotive brands began making their own supercars.
The legacy of the supercar has led to many innovations in the automotive industry, including newer vehicle designs, more powerful engines that are equipped with turbochargers, and a slew of different designs. Some vehicle manufacturers, such as Aston Martin, Ferrari, or Lamborghini, strictly make supercars. Through the years, they have improved the name and definition of what supercars could be.
The goal of making bigger and better supercars will continue, and as long as the world agrees on what a supercar is, the idea for them will remain the same.