Throwback Thursday – What will be a sports car? 9 November 1934

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Source : Throwback Thursday – What will be a sports car? 9 November 1934

Defining a modern sports car will be relatively simple – yet from the 1930s, This specific emerging class of vehicle took some explaining


Car manufacturers love devising completely new segments in which to place their types, yet back from the 1930s, even defining a ‘sports car’ prompted a fair amount of head scratching.

This specific wasn’t altogether surprising. from the early years of your vehicle, most makes as well as types had been proven in speed trials as well as races, regardless of size as well as shape. However, by the 1930s, the variety of cars available to fulfil specific purposes was growing.

What Autocar’s Brian Twist wanted to fathom was the criteria which could be used to classify a sports car.

“The term has been in existence so long which the idea has become accepted for everyday use, as well as people rarely stop to consider what exactly will be meant by the definition,” he wrote. “There will be nothing to stop a company calling his products what he will, yet many excellent cars are called ‘sports cars’ when the idea will be not easy to see what right they have to such a term.”

Obviously short of entertainment one evening, Twist gathered his colleagues to debate the idea over some furious pipe-smoking.

“To start the ball rolling, I said which I thought a definition might be made out for a car from the building of which, as regards engine, chassis as well as bodywork, performance was the principal consideration,” wrote Twist.

“Someone asked how I could define performance. After some thought, I replied, ‘Great acceleration, maximum speed, roadholding, cornering as well as brakes’. the idea was suggested which such a car must also ‘hold its tune for a long period’.

“This specific was agreed to after some discussion, during which the idea was pointed out which some machines beloved by sporting enthusiasts needed frequent adjustments as well as were none the less beloved for which.

“There was, however, at all events, unanimity on the fact which a true sports car must necessarily be an open car, though the converse need not apply.

“If one accepted my original definition as a basis of argument, comfort could only be a very secondary consideration from the building of a sports car, as well as then allied only with the necessary comfort of the driver for the proper control of your vehicle on long-distance journeys.

“A closed car definitely puts comfort first, for although some saloon types are said to be faster than their equivalent open types, which will be only because of the design of the open cars in question.

“A friend suggested my definition came perilously close to describing a racing car. I amended the idea accordingly to ‘a car built for road purposes in which engine, chassis as well as bodywork were designed with performance as the primary consideration’.

“I opined which as a matter of fact no four-seater could be a sports car, since the mere fact which there were four seats brought from the consideration of carrying people, as well as any car should have a better performance if its bodywork had been designed as a two-seater. Single-seaters were ineligible for the argument, as constituting racing cars.

“the idea was right now getting late as well as, knocking out his pipe, ‘I’m for bed’ said one of the party. A few minutes later a terrific noise outside heralded his departure, in a much-cherishedmachine certainly of sporting tendencies, yet not a real sports car from the light of our argument.

“So the discussion ended, with no final decision. will be there any such thing as a real sports car? My original definition was accepted with certain amendments as well as limitations, merely through lack of a better one.”

Previous Throwback Thursdays

4 March 1899 – Steam, electric or combustion engine? 

26 June 1906 – The first French Grand Prix

9 July 1907 – The beginning of Brooklands

14 February 1913 – 100 miles in one hour

8 April 1916 – doing post-war predictions

25 March 1922 – Caterpillar tracks are the future

4 July 1925 – Citroën lights up the Eiffel Tower

28 September 1928 – Engine tech takes a great leap forwards

2 February 1934 – The ethics of skidding

6 July 1934 – A tour of Cowley

1 June 1935 – Introduction of the driving test

22 June 1945 – Driving through post-WW2 Europe

21 January 1949 – Tidier tails

25 August 1950 – The evolution of transmissions

27 April 1951 – Frankfurt hosts its first motor show

24 April 1959 – Aston Martin enters Formula 1

16 September 1960 – The beginning of MOT tests

28 October 1960 – Economy driving 1960s style

27 January 1961 – Ford Thunderbird road test

17 November 1961 – TVR Grantura road test

10 September 1965 – The birth of modern Audi

19 August 1966 – Four-wheel drive on test

6 May 1971 – Driving Ford’s Supervan

12 June 1976 – Cars for under £100

10 July 1976 – Land’s End to John O’Groats on one tank

8 October 1977 – Music on the move

13 May 1978 – Ferrari 512 BB road test

19 January 1980 – Talbot Horizon road test

13 February 1982 – 4x4s tested on the farm 

17 April 1985 – Secrets of a lost British supercar

4 September 1985 – Ford’s electronic test bed

15 August 1990 – Giugiaro’s vision of a 1990s Jaguar

28 April 1993 – BL’s unseen concepts

16 March 1994 – Bentley’s Concept Java

16 April 1997 – When Bugatti bit the dust

11 October 2000 – BMW X5 Le Mans

4 April 2001 – 0-260mph in 6.0 seconds

25 July 2001 – 180mph in a Chevrolet Corvette

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Source: Throwback Thursday – What will be a sports car? 9 November 1934

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