Cars are crucial in our everyday lives. They get us where we need to go for work, play, and travel. However, as with any necessity, there are high-end, luxury versions available for sale.
Enter the sports car. These mean machines feature flashy colors, sleek designs, and powerful engines. Sports cars are built to be a cut above the average family vehicle as they are usually built to be smaller, more aerodynamic, and feature drastically enhanced performance. Some sports cars can even approach race car speeds.
While there’s no practical reason for this, these cars appeal to those with the excess cash to pay for them as a showing of wealth and social status. What exactly is under the hood of these classy cars? Here are ten things you didn’t know about sports car engines.
10 The Sports Car Stereotype Doesn’t Hold True
Everyone who has heard the roar of an engine or the squealing of tires has then rolled their eyes at what they believe to be snob showing off their fancy sports car. However, this isn't entirely the case. Any engine has the capacity to produce a huge, thunderous sound, even the family sedan.
In fact, quality sports cars have more soft-spoken engines that purr more than yowl. They still have plenty of power, but one feels it in the rumble of the vehicle rather than in a loud, obnoxious sound. The classic stereotype is perpetuated by novice drivers who have been watching too many racing movies.
9 The Majority of Engines Are In The Same Place
Sports cars are often creatively designed with interesting door mechanics, interiors, and exteriors. As companies strive to innovate and make themselves stand out, there is one detail that remains relatively consistent: The placement of the engine.
Due to the fact that sports cars are made to drive faster than the average car, the vast majority of these vehicles have their engine placed somewhere in the front half of the car, which then connects to the rear wheels instead of the front, as most cars usually do. This provides the car with balance during high-speed joy rides. Other sports cars have their engines in the center or in the rear half of the vehicle for the same purpose.
8 Early Sports Cars Struggled
It might surprise people to know that, even though sports cars are popular and sought after now, their powerful engines—when taken in comparison to other engines of the period—have actually served to make them unpopular with the general public or illegal to drive on the streets.
For instance, in 1936, the T-type MG Midget was released with a new and improved engine that allowed it to go over 100-miles per hour, which was extremely fast for the time, and yet was quieter than other cars on the market. Despite not being popular for a large portion of their history, the people who are dedicated to making these cars have persisted until their product eventually found its place in the market.
7 Engines Aren’t Always Anti-Environment
When people hear the stereotypical roar of a revving sports car engine, another assumption that is often made is that the car is burning tons of gas and emitting extra fumes into our air.
While this may be the case for some, the modern era has brought us cleaner, more advanced cars. Nowadays, even the most powerful of engines can be run on electricity, cleaner fuels, or a mixture of the two. These green and hybrid cars are still just as fast and sleek as their less eco-friendly counterparts. Drivers can have their over-the-top cars and sleep well knowing they’re doing their part to help reduce air pollution.
6 The Bugatti Veyron Has a Super Hot Engine!
The Bugatti Veyron is a powerful car sporting a quad-turbo engine with an astonishing sixteen cylinders. This not only makes for a fast car, but it also makes for a hot one as well. Running the engine at full tilt pushes it to dangerous limits, almost enough to begin melting the car around it.
To prevent this and prolong the engine’s life, there are not one, not two, but twelve radiators installed in the car! Normal cars only have a single radiator to cool their engines. These more common set-ups have the radiator situated next to the engine but the heat is so intense in the Bugatti Veyron, its radiators are placed around the engine and around the rest of the car to properly disperse and cool the massive amounts of hot air.
5 The 2nd Most Powerful Engine in the World
The Bugatti Veyron is a shoo-in for what people would consider to be one of the most powerful engines. After all, any engine that requires twelve radiators has to be the best, right?
Well, you might be surprised to learn that Bugatti is only in third place for the most powerful engine. In fact, none of the other big brands that you might think are in the second spot. The holder of this honor is a small company from Sweden. Their car, the Koenigsegg One:1, has the second best sports car engine in the world. The car boasts a whopping 1,341 horsepower, an unprecedented number that allows for incredible speed.
4 The Most Powerful Engine in the World
The most powerful engine in the world to date is a sleek looking machine known as the Venom F5. The Venom F5 can reach speeds of just over 300 miles per hour, getting up to 239 mph in less than thirty seconds. How does it do this?
This car has a Hennessey brand twin Turbo V8 engine that gets 1,600 horsepower. As the name of the engine might suggest, the car was made by Hennessy Special Vehicles. This company is known for trying to push the limits of what cars are capable of, including creating a new class of sports cars known as “Hyper Cars” that the Venom F5 is a proud member of.
3 Hennessey Special Vehicles
If you buy a sports car and it's not exactly how you pictured it, you don’t have to settle for your car in the condition that it is in. There is a company known as Hennessey Special Vehicles based in Texas who makes it their business to build and modify high-powered cars.
They can take your ordinary sports car and upgrade it to a Super Car or even a Hyper Car. This company will modify your engine to perform at its very best and possibly even beyond. Or, if you want to skip the middleman, you can purchase one of their already modified cars or their custom-built Hyper Cars.
2 Tiny But Speedy
Reintroducing the itty bitty Honda S500, released in 1963. This little car was a two-seater sports car that was actually the first car Honda made as they tried to expand from just producing motorcycles. It had a minuscule 531cc engine but that by no means makes it a pushover. This machine was capable of putting out 44 bhp at 8,000 rpm and that wasn’t even at its max of 9,500 rpm.
A true classic, this car was a risk for Honda at the time as they were only making motorcycles. Perhaps this helped them create such a small engine that was still capable of the speed one expects of a sports car.
1 Sports Car Engines Are Built With Safety In Mind
Sports cars have an inherent legacy for being dangerous. From the high speeds to representation in movies, to the crashes seen on NASCAR; if it goes fast, it's not safe. Sports cars are often built differently than normal cars. This means the car will handle differently than one an average person would be used to driving.
While this could be a contributor to inexperienced drivers crashing, there is an important safety feature built into the engines of sports cars. Their fuel tanks expose the gasoline inside to as little air as possible on its way to the engine. This one simple fact means that the engine is far less likely to explode in a crash; thus, safer than a normal car in the same scenario.