A supercar – also called exotic car – is a loosely defined description of certain high-performance street-legal sports car. Since the 2000s or 2010s, the term hypercar has come into use for the highest performing supercars.
In the United States, muscle cars were often referred to as "supercars" during the 1960s.
The Lamborghini Miura, produced from 1966–1973, is often said to be the first supercar. By the 1970s and 1980s the term was in regular use, if not precisely defined. One interpretation up until the 1990s was to use it for mid-engine two-seat cars with at least eight cylinders (but typically a V12 engine), a power output of at least 400 bhp (298 kW) and a top speed of at least 180 mph (290 km/h). Other interpretations state that "it must be very fast, with sporting handling to match", "it should be sleek and eye-catching" and its price should be "one in a rarefied atmosphere of its own" or regard exclusivity (i.e. limited production volumes) as an important characteristic.
It is also claimed that the definition of a supercar has always been subjective and a matter of blind prejudice.
During the 1960s, cars that are now considered to be muscle cars were then referred to as supercars.(p8) The term was often (though not always) spelled with a capital S. In 1966 the sixties supercar became an official industry trend.(p8) For example, the May 1965 issue of the American magazine Car Life includes multiple references to supercars and "the supercar club" and a 1968 issue of Car & Driver magazine refers to "the Supercar street racer gang" market segment. In the model name of the AMC S/C Rambler, the "S/C" is an abbreviation for "SuperCar".
Since the decline of the muscle car in the 1970s, the word supercar came to mean a car in the mold of a Lamborghini or Ferrari.(p5) Other interpretations of the term are for limited-production models produced by small manufacturers for enthusiasts, and standard-looking cars modified for increased performance.
A more recent term for high-performance sportscars is "hypercar", which is sometimes used to describe the highest performing supercars. As per supercars, there is no set definition for what constitutes a hypercar. An attempt to define these is "a limited-production, top-of-the-line supercar with a price of around or more than US$1 million."
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- Wasef, Basem (2018). Speed Read Supercar: The History, Technology and Design Behind the World’s Most Exciting Cars. Motorbooks. ISBN 978-0760362921.
"the outlandish Lamborghini Miura, which is widely considered to be the first car to legitimately deserve the title
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The term muscle car wasn't heard much hack when these vehicles were first hitting the market. In those days, the enthusiast magazines favored the term supercar.
- Severson, Aaron (27 July 2009). "Super-iority: Defining the Supercar and Muscle Car". www.ateupwithmotor.com. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
what we now think of as muscle cars were more commonly called “Supercars,” often (though not always) spelled with a capital S.
- "Rambler Scrambler". Car Life. 16: 33–36. 1969. Retrieved 11 September 2014.
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