June 22, 2024

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What’s the Super in Supercars?

The Audrain Automobile Museum’s latest exhibit, running through May 29, 2022, poses the question of “What’s The Super In Supercars?”

Since the first widespread use of the term “Supercar,” referencing the Lamborghini Miura in 1966, manufacturers have continued to challenge performance limits in their road cars. The Ferrari F40 and Porsche 959 represented two wildly divergent solutions of significant progression in the 1980s, bringing turbocharger technology to the forefront. Many consider the 1995 McLaren F1 the greatest street car of all time, and a lot of important cars have followed in the 27 years since — most recently the 1000 horsepower all electric Tesla Model S Plaid.

On display in the museum’s gallery will be 16 Supercars, all considered to be among the finest examples of the classification. The exhibit will include one of the most radically designed supercars of all-time, a 1992 Vector W8, claimed to have 600 horsepower and a 200+ mph top speed. 

No exhibit on Supercars would be complete without a McLaren from the 1990s. The McLaren F1 was the ultimate street car of the 20th century. That was the consensus of the motoring press, and certainly McLaren’s intent. Who better to unseat Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti, and Jaguar than the factory that had accumulated five consecutive Group 7 (Can Am) world championships, three Indy 500 victories and six Formula One titles?

Also worthy of note is the collection’s 1992 Ferrari F40, which back in 1987 was one of the most raw and extreme road cars ever produced.  So much so, the F40 was devoid of anything that wasn’t directly involved in the driving experience; a radio was never an option, interior door handles were substituted for thin cords and air conditioning was only available as an option of U.S.-spec cars. 

Is a 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid a supercar? Upon first glance, it’s a four-door passenger car — but the numbers don’t lie. The Model S Plaid makes 1,020 hp and 1,050 lb-ft of torque, sent to all four wheels with a little tap of the gas pedal. That power makes the Plaid the fastest 0-60 mph production car at 1.99 seconds. It’ll do 50-70 mph in 1 second, while the Bugatti Chiron does that in 2.2 seconds. The battery’s low position gives the Plaid the lowest center of gravity of any production car. Straight line speed isn’t it’s only party trick, either. The Plaid achieved a 7:35.759 lap time at the Nürburgring, and Car and Driver states that the car achieved 1g on their skid pad test.

These are only a few of the cars that will be on display.  Click HERE for a full listing of what’s included.

“All the vehicles here in the gallery show great advancements in design, technology, and performance,” said Donald Osborne, Audrain’s CEO.  “Are they Super? If so, what makes them Super? We are not here to tell you; we want you to decide and in making that decision, let us know what’s super in YOU too by tagging us on social media using #WhatsTheSuperInYou?”   

About the Audrain Automobile Museum 

The Audrain Automobile Museum has 7,500 square feet of gallery space at 222 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, Rhode Island.  The Museum annually produces four (4) curated exhibits, typically displaying 12-20 vehicles cars of a particular period, genre or theme in a non-touch, self-guided experience.  These exhibits attract more than 30,000 visitors per year. 

Audrain Automobile Museum, Inc., is an IRS approved 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization. For more information regarding the Museum, please visit, www.AudrainAutoMuseum.org.