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The world’s first sports car

8 months ago

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Andrew English | Journalist


18 October 2023

In the beginning all cars were sports models; roofless contraptions capable of transporting occupants along unmade roads at previously unheard-of speeds; think Mr Toad from The Wind In The Willows – ‘Poop, poop!’

On such roads even 30mph would have been outlandish, but despite the deprivations of open cockpits, smelly bearskin coats and the risks to life and limb, private motoring was becoming increasingly popular. In 1904 there were 23,000 cars on Britain’s roads; by the end of 1910, that figure was well over 100,000. But even then, as now, wealthy buyers were looking for something with more, well pizzazz; a sports car perhaps?

So, what was the first sports car? We’re not talking about supercars here, where by general consensus, that hat should be worn by the Lamborghini Miura (or the Mercedes-Benz 300SL – AF), but a car where the balance of chassis response and engine power, of steering and of roadholding, and of looks and speed, were enough to set the heart thumping and blood racing.

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