With the current range of supercars, more and more a breaking the 200mph mark. With current technologies it has become easier and cheaper to hit this goal. The question is which of these cars will become true classics in years to come. In my opinion, with exception possibly of the Bugatti Veyron, none will hold a place in history when compared to the original 200 mph club.
So which cars do I speak of? In the late 80’s and early 90’s, there were 5 cars that pushed the boundaries of what a car could do. Due to a battle with Porsche who released the 959 in 1986, but fell 3mph short of 200 mph, Ferrari stepped up and brought us the F40. One of the best-looking Ferraris of all time, this was a true hyper car for pure drivers. Speed was it’s sole purpose with comfort an after thought. The F40 was as light as possible, with only a 2.9litre V8 with Twin Turbo Chargers, producing 478bhp. This combined with it only weighing 1100kg propelled the F40 to 201mph, and many still consider the F40 the greatest Ferrari of all time.
The Ferrari held the title of fastest road car for 3 years, until in 1990 Bugatti brought out the EB110. While the F40 still holds notoriety despite the many Ferrari’s since, the EB110 has been over shadowed by it’s predecessor, the Veyron. However, at the time the EB110 claimed the top spot by a considerable margin. Powered by a 3.5L V12, with four turbo chargers, it produced 553bhp. It’s weight did slow it’s acceleration compared to the F40, but it achieved an impressive top speed of 213mph.
No 200mph club is complete without Lamborghini. Their previous cars had become legendary, the Miura with its sleek looks introducing the mid-engined concept to supercars, and the Countach with its seemingly outrageous design. The Diablo was no different, following on from the Countach, it too was a major head turner and everything an Italian supercar should be. Staying true to the Miura’s and Countach’s winning formula, it was mid-engined, rear wheel drive, with a naturally aspirated 5.7L V12, producing over 490bhp. The resulting top speed was 202mph, and so joined the hall of fame.
In 1988 Jaguar had introduced its prototype hypercar to the world. The XJ220 was a joint venture between Jaguar and Tom Walkinshaw racing. As such it’s brief was to be fast, but luxurious also. The original prototype used a V12 engine and four wheel drive system, but after engineering and cost problems in the development, it was actually released as rear wheel drive and with a 3.5L V6 with twin turbo chargers, producing 542bhp. This followed the trend of what Jaguar considered their main rivals, the Porsche 959 and Ferrari F40, both powered with smaller engines and turbo chargers. The XJ220 has gone down in history as beautiful and luxurious, but also very fast. It achieved a top speed of 213mph round the Nardo testing ring. It was then de-cated and achieved 217mph. Due to the circular and banked nature of the Nardo circuit, they calculated a true top speed on flat road of 223mph, and so inherited the title of the worlds fastest production car.
Finally there was one other car of the early 1990’s that to this day remains in the history books as the fastest naturally aspirated car in history. Known up until 1992 as a racing outfit in Formula 1, McLaren released the McLaren F1 for the road. It’s combination of light weight and enormous power produced from its 6.1L BMW V12 meant it’s acceleration and speed were un-matched by any rival at the time. In 1998, the McLaren F1’s top speed was tested. With the standard rev limiter it achieved 231mph. In later years, this was removed and it achieved a staggering 240.1mph.
There are many cars that have since joined the 200mph club. For some manufacturers such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and McLaren it is now even expected that their latest offerings will achieve this goal. But whilst they may be technologically superior, more powerful, faster, better handling and easier to drive with the many driver aids now available, none with exception of the record breaking Bugatti Veyron will hold the title of fastest car of their time, and none will hold a place in history like the original 200mph club.