Just how fast are our favourite supercars?
Many car fans are drawn to supercars because of their outlandish looks, wild engine sounds, and storied top speeds. But, are these famous old beasts actually fast?
Today we have cars built at home in sheds making way more power than any of these old classics, and modern supercars offer eye-watering performance. So has time passed these old nuggets by, or are they still the dreamboat poster mobiles of our childhood dreams?
Way back in 1973 the Lamborghini Countach was one of the most dramatic-looking cars on the planet, and its drag strip time of 14.4@180km/h meant it was about as fast as a decent muscle car on the quarter-mile. Supercar fans will say the Lambo would out-corner any muscle car, but the truth is the Italian beast was never a fantasic-handling machine.
By the late 1980s supercars had grown turbos and we were starting to see some really rapid machinery. The brutal, lightweight F40 Ferrari could do 300km/h and also run the quarter-mile in an astonishing 11.7@202km/h.
Just a few years later the bonkers V12 McLaren F1 blasted supercars into the 10-second bracket by running 10.8@228km/h on the dragstrip. It also went on to reset the top speed record for a production car by recording a pass of 386km/h (240mph) in 1994. It is regarded by many as the ultimate supercar thanks to its mi of driving dynamics, top speed, rarity and engineering.
Compare that to the storied R32 GT-R from the same era, which would do 13.3@173km/h in stock form, although they were quickly built up into wild beasts thanks to the aftermarket industry - today there are 6-second R32 GT-Rs which are street registered.
America's wildest production supercar of the 90s, the '96 Dodge Viper GTS, could do 11.8@189km/h on the dragstrip with its thundering 8-litre V10. It could also wind out to 300km/h with enough space.
Today the fastest internal combustion hypercar (the 2021 Bugatti Chiron Super Sport) will do the quarter-mile in 9.1 seconds at 259km/h, while a McLaren 765LT, Ferrari SF90 Stradale and Porsche 918 Spyer are all nipping on its heels with a 9.4@241km/h, 9.5@238km/h, and 9.8@238km/h passes, respectively. Note, these times weren't recorded with a 300mm roll-out not a standing start.
In EV world, a Tesla Model S Plaid will do a 9.2@245km/h but it is totally shaded by the Rimac Nevera which throws down an epic 8.2-second quarter-mile! Compare that to a 2020 BMW M5 CS which will run 400m (with a 300mm roll-out) in 10.6@209km/h, while Ford's top-dog Shelby GT500 Mustang runs 10.6@214km/h.
There are some epic non-production-car times out there from SSC, Lotus and Hennessey. The 5.9L SSC Tuatara runs 7.44@294km/h on E85, while the 6.9L version went 7.9@275km/h on non-ethanol fuel back in 2011. Lotus' new Evija EV does a 7.5@292km/h, while Hennessey's Venom F5 takes 7.6@288km/h to cover the 400m.
Dodge's fasest Hellcat, the Challenger SRT Demon 170, is a purpose-built street/strip warrior with over 1000hp. The street legal muscle car runs a crazy 8.6sec at 243km/h, while Chrysler sold a race only "Drag Pak" Challenger drag car that could do 7.5s!