Over the past several decades the main players who build what are classed as supercars, tend to follow a pattern in design. But with each decade a feature of these high powered machines follow a trend. From low front ends to large rear wings, each decade gave the world a different style to the sports car market, but still implementing previous designs. With that said, has it stagnated the overall look of the high performance vehicles, or does it retain the heritage of the manufactures history, it’s still a difficult question that will last as long the cars are produced. Lets take a look at a selection of the most popular models available from some of the world famous car manufactures and see what has changed, or stayed the same over the years.
Whether it’s Ferrari, BMW or Honda, none of them have got way from continuing older designs from their range and adding some of those styling’s into newer models. It’s almost become tradition to keep certain features to pay homage to the last iteration. If you look at most of the supercars from the 1980’s, the front nose was low to the ground and the headlights imbedded into the bodywork to give a smooth flat surface. The Ferrari F40 and Testarossa, Lamborghini and their Countach all shared the same styling. Even lotus modelled the Esprit on the same manner. The only popular manufacture at the time that partially followed suit was Porsche, who only added the look to the 924s, while the other models such as the 911 didn’t alter. The same can be said for the rear of these supercars, with a squared off rear end and usually sporting a large rear wing. The Honda NSX and the BMW M1 also featured similar designs, but without the over the top rear wings.
When the supercar generation reached the 1990’s, we gradually began to see a change. Still we had the low, built in headlights at the front but many opted to drop the rear wing for a low sleek look. The F50 from Ferrari kept a lot of the F40s model, but incorporated more rounded lines, getting away from the ‘box’ look of the 80’s. Some even went down to route of creating the ‘racing experience’ on the roads, McLaren launched the F1 road car in 1992 which featured a centrally positioned driver’s seat and it was the first available road car to offer this. Many other cars throughout the 90’s still possessed styling features that fit the market, the Jaguar XJ220 and the Ferrari’s from later in the decade started to join the curvier look. We started to see a change with the Toyota Supra and the Dodge Viper which incorporated the long bonnet style, which is still carried over to today’s current models
A lot of the older designs can still be seen in today’s models. The Ferrari FF features the longer bonnet, while the 488 carries over some of the styling of the original F40. The current range of McLaren cars also shows aspects of the 90’s F1 road version. Styling is important when it comes to new supercars, but also costs are factored in. factory tooling is considered in the design process, which is why many cars have close resemblances, if you can use the same tool press for a range of models, it not only keeps production costs down, but still retains the heritage of the manufacture. It keeps the iconic look of the brand so when one passes you on the road, you instantly know which factory it came from. The same can now be said for the other models like SUV’s, which many supercar manufactures are getting into, they still have features from the sports car ranges. And even with the further introduction of hybrid and full electric power, the supercars of the future will carry on the trend.