Many of us are passionate about cars. Ever since the invention of the internal combustion engine, mankind has been focused on designing and building safer, faster and more powerful cars. This desire resulted in the creation of an automobile category known as the performance car. This is a motor vehicle which is designed and built specifically to drive as fast as possible. The design, materials and construction of a performance car involves a powerful engine, aerodynamic body, improved transmission, crisp handling and advanced braking systems. In the history of automobiles, quite a number of high performance cars were manufactured. Here is more on the history of high performance cars.

Earliest High Performance Car

The earliest performance car ever made was the Ford 999. It was designed and built by Henry Ford in 1902. Interestingly, he created two identical race cars. One was painted red and the other was painted yellow. The more famous of the two was the 999.  It was named after the fastest steam locomotive of the era. The other one was simply named the ‘Arrow’. Henry Ford built the 999 with help from famous bicycle racer Tom Cooper. It was a monster of a race car. It had an 18.9 liter engine set on a steel chassis with no bodywork at all. It averaged a top speed of 140km/h or 91 mph. This was the first ever attempt to create a car purposely for racing.

Public Enthusiasm for Speed

Ever since automobile manufacturers such as Henry Ford started building race cars, people have had a need for speed. This resulted in the formation and recognition of motorsports. Over the years, there have been various championship competitions where drivers race with each other in highly engineered machines for glory and bragging rights. Examples of such competitions are Le Mans, the World Rally Championship, Formula One Circuit, Dakar Rally, NASCAR and Indycar racing. These motorsport competitions have brought together car companies such as Mercedes Benz, Ferrari, Audi, Porsche, Ford, Aston Martin, McLaren and Mazda in competition for top honors.

Some Examples of Early Production Cars Built for Performance

There are a number of cars which were produced over the years for performance. They went on to win races in various championships around the world. An example is the 1959 Corvette C2. It won the Monterey, Rolex and Choppard race competition held that year. Another example is the 1971 Lotus 61. It was notably built with the assistance of Ford Motor Company and was the last Lotus ever produced for racing. Other famous classic cars built for racing include the 1963 Jaguar E-Type racer, the 1967 Ferrari 3340 P4 and the 1953 Maserati Spider.

Hot Rod Type Cars

Conceived and built extensively in America, hot rods are generally classic cars which are fitted with large, powerful engines so as to drive extremely fast in a straight line. The practice of modifying cars for racing in America began in the 1920s. Young people would take cheap Ford Model T’s and adjust them for racing. They would then head off to California’s dry lake beds and compete. Examples of these were the El Mirage and the Harper lakes. Over time, they switched to buying Ford model A’s or simply roadsters. These were modified to remove any unnecessary parts such as the fenders, hood, top and headlights. They also received some tuning where the ignition was timed better, carburetors were added and the compression rates were increased. These adjustments were made in home garages or dedicated auto shops. Once the car was sufficiently tuned, it was time to race the hot rod.


There are very many types of automobiles. None are quite as exciting as high performance cars. These ones can take you from 0 to 60 mph (miles per hour) in seconds. Manufacturers have made these cars for decades. High performance cars make the motorsport industry much more exciting to follow and hold massive potential in the future. Please comment like or share!