Why Do We Say “Sports Car”?

What do we really mean when we say sports car? The obvious answer is a car optimized for performance, with a focus on focus on handling and a dynamic appearance. We seldom think about the factors that go into performance which in turn create an iconic look. For example, you may not know that a sports car needs to be low-built (or built low to the ground). A lower car is more has a lower center of gravity and is more aerodynamic. It also makes the car look more attractive.

Why are sports cars pricier than other cars?

One of the reasons is the engine. Another thing is supply and demand, only a few Ferrari f12 tdFs are made. Instead of being marketed to the masses they are sold by invitation only–in order to buy them you need to know the Ferrari family. It’s strange to think of a car as “handcrafted” but this is the way these cars built and sold.

Another reason is that Ferraris maintain their value. One reason they do is that they keep to the same design, a long hood and graceful lines which echo the Ferraris that come before. When you have something of this elegance you don’t change a winning formula. And since they don’t produce a lot of them, we don’t get tired of the look.

We associate sports car with the racetrack but taking something like a Ferrari out for a spin here could do more harm than good. If you ever find yourself in possession of one – if – the general advice is to drive it on the normal road.

As well as Italian cars like the Ferrari, there are a number of French models to watch out for, the Delage, the Bugatti and the Delahaye to name just three.

Classic Sports Cars

Delage D12

The Delage for instance are no longer being made and you probably only see them nowadays in period dramas and films. Created by a designer who worked for Peugeot, strangely the first car only had one cylinder.

Also a Delage D12

From a one-cylinder car in 1906 its founder Louis Delage soon moved on to two and as early as 1909 he had created a four cylinder car mainly used for racing purposes. A year later his factory started creating six-cylinder engines for the mass market.

Specialty Dealerships

Many dealerships specialise in sports cars in order to maximise their profits, though many also sell luxury cars and classic cars too.

Side Note: A classic car has varying descriptions, but people define it as more than twenty years old. More than forty years old with value worth preserving is a more accurate benchmark in our opinion, which is a little obvious if someone is looking to restore the thing.

While there is no easy profits in the car business one key component to a specialty to dealership is matching it to the right location. Okay location, location, location shouldn’t be listed as a surprise for any business, but it’s probably not the first thing you think of when building your dealership. Expensive cars sell better near expensive neighbourhoods. Classic cars sell better near parts of town that already cater to seniors with money.

The Final Surprise/Not Surprise

Because all cars are designed to run safely and smoothly while going fast and look good, it’s hard to list these things as hallmarks of a sports car. However, most cars have some other big priority they need to elevate, like number of passengers or fuel economy. Sports cars prioritize performance, speed, and looks. These types are built for racing and therefore designed to work at speed.

The category of car most difficult to distinguish from a sports car is the luxury car. Both tend to prioritize handling and performance, are often custom built, and come with a high price tag. However, the super high cost is not mandatory in a sports car and a luxury car will prioritize a smooth ride over top speed in a pinch, where sports cars prioritize performance and speed over driver comfort almost routinely.

With a cars as with any consumer good, the real question is, “is there market demand?” Sports cars sell well at every price point, making them a trend likely to continue long into the future.

Car Sale Problems.

Op-Ed by the Editors

2021 isn’t over but many people seem resigned to the fact that it won’t be a good year for car makers, and the way things are going 2020 could only be described as diabolical.

One way it might improve – and possibly the only way it can improve at the moment – is through online sales. At this time of crisis auto dealers can no longer rely on a friendly handshake (this is no time for cynicism so let’s just say it is a friendly handshake) to deliver on a deal. Studying the statistics, this old system will need to change drastically. J D Power’s figures measure the first 19 days of March verses previous years at the same time and demand has dropped 13%. Things are even more drastic in places such as LA and Seattle with a 22% drop in just a 19-day period.

So how do online services compare? Roadster, which serves US and Canadian dealers shows an increase in 6%. Tesla uses a similar system relying on internet deliveries and an app. Unfortunately, Tesla relies on signed paperwork being taken to a drop off point. How this would continue to work during these emergencies isn’t clear.

So, the most innovative way to do sales in the future could be an app but then again people are wary of parting with huge chunks of money online. Even a seller such as EBay recommends seeing the automobile before parting with cash.

It seems counter-intuitive to work this way but even when the covid restrictions lift fully, the recession will likely go into full swing and somehow business enterprises must carry on. Dealers haven’t embraced the online market as a major source of revenue but a recession could change that.

An idea being test marketed is trying the car for a week and seeing if they like it. How exactly this method works isn’t clear. Supposing a person doing the trial refuses to give it back? Surely there is workarounds for such things, but the adverts don’t spell those out.

We can’t just rely on the showroom. It’s an antiquated way of doing things which continued because “it seemed to work” or “it’s what the customers are used to.” Or most likely it’s highly lucrative for dealerships. At the moment however, it fails to work, customers just can’t use these methods in purchasing a car, they can’t get out of their home in many cases.

Some dealers like Chrysler are adapting to new ways of working. Prospective customers can explore the latest models on FaceTime as the sales agent walks around the lot.

It’s one way to keep money in circulation but maybe we can do more. After all, if not now when?

The Origin Of Trucks

Benz-Gaggenau BL 10 platform truck

Firstly, where does the word truck come from? It appears it was first used for the wheels on a ship’s cannon and was extended to carts carrying heavy loads. Before gas powered trucks were steam trucks, though they weren’t that widespread.

While vehicles remained expensive, luxury items, the truck wasn’t that popular either. There were many cheaper ways to transport goods – carts, canal boats, railways and so on.

The first trucks had wooden wheels clad in iron. The Phoenix was a later model, a converted car that ran on coal gas, lamp oil as well as gasoline.

Early Trucks

Karl Benz came up with the first truck in 1895 which was in turn altered to become an autobus. In 1896 Gottleib Daimler produced a horseless wagon with 4hp. Although it was said to carry 3300 pounds many disagreed – presumably this was too much for them?

Because of the lack of interest in Germany Gottleib Daimler tried selling the product in England, as coke and coal was cheaper than in Germany. There may have been a speed issue too. Up to 1896 the speed limit was 4mph. It was advertised as being able to transport 1500Kg but it wouldn’t be until 1901 that a truck could outdo the steam alternative as a test run between a motor truck and a steam truck in Liverpool proved.

They would also be promoted in Paris by the French Automobile Club in 1898. The wooden wheels referred to above were a hazard as they were liable to catch fire.

Süddendeutsche Automobilfabrik’s truck used a steel frame and steel wheels along with wheels and pistons. Before that German trucks had used a belt drive.

Other versions were created by Peugeot and Bussing. Only after the Second World War were things like pneumatic tires and power brakes introduced. The diesel engine was introduced in 1923. All of these were styled as large delivery vehicles, not pick ups as we think of them today.

The First American Truck!

Autocar created the first truck in the US with a choice of either 5 or 8hp and two-cylinder engine in 1899.

The first pickup truck was “vehicle no 42” in 1896. After that a modified Ford Model T called The Runabout had a similar design. The first Chevy truck was created in 1918 also using the Model T chassis. The chassis would continue for some time, in 1935 the same chassis would be used to create a station wagon for Chevy, though they did need to alter the load bearing capabilities of the vehicle and remove some of the body panels. These were open-cab vehicles and included such items as specialist hickory wood wheels.

EV Trucks?

There were a number of electric trucks being produced as early as 1907 with strong suspension and gears, such as a 5-ton truck produced in Indianapolis.

Model T Tow Truck

Tow Trucks

The tow truck was created in 1916, basically from necessity. Created by Ernest Holmes in Tennessee it hooked up cars (either broken or crashed ones) using chains and pulleys to take them to the wreckers. The tow truck company and the associated wrecking business was taken over by Miller Industries.

The Volvo’s first truck in 1928 had a four-cylinder engine and although it was said only to allow 1,500Kg many people overloaded it with little side-effect.

The truck, like all early vehicle styles, was only finding its way at that point since there were no huge freeways and has come a long way since.