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The Fate of Sports Cars

Up until a few days ago, when it came to the future of sports cars - and the future of cars altogether - I was probably one of the most pessimistic persons in the world. I had this idea in my head that real car enthusiasts are a dying breed and that sports cars will probably disappear completely this century, sometime after the electrification and over gadgetization that is starting to happen on a large scale right about now.

The oil wells are drying out, every car maker in the top five is forced to build heavier and uglier cars thanks to safety legislation and studies conducted on the general population say that most people are no longer having fun driving and could care less about their cars' sporty credentials when sitting in traffic jam. There was simply no reason for me to think that something other than a funeral march was starting to fade in for the supercar.

It all changed a couple of days ago though, when I had what some might call an epiphany. From my pseudo-Eureka moment I learned that the sports car is not dead and it will never be! How did I arrive at this somewhat optimistic and highly unsubstantiated conclusion, you ask? Well, let me extrapolate.

In the beginning, there was the horse. Technically, there was also the donkey, the camel and even ostriches, but for the sake of the following rant having an actual meaning let's just go with the horse.

At first, the horse was mainly used as a working animal and a means of transportation – and in some parts of the world it still is - but over time its working duties were slowly replaced by engined vehicles in various forms - car, truck, bus and so on. In other words, at least in the beginning, cars were just a means of transportation. Or so they say.

"Problem" is that, according to my newly discovered logic, they weren't just a means of transportation more efficient that a horse-drawn wagon. Cars had "souls" from the very beginning and I have proof. Or sort of.

You see, during my sports cars revelation moment I was actually reading an interview with Michael Mauer, ex-Mercedes-Benz and Saab and the current design director at Porsche. At one point during that interview, Mr. Mauer offered a quote by none other than Ferdinand "Car engineer of the Century" Porsche, in which the sports car's fate was miraculously laid out in just a couple of phrases.

Discussing the most basic similarity between cars and horses, Professor Porsche had once said that just like the horse – which in most well-developed countries is no longer used as a working animal but mostly in the field of leisure and sport – so will the car evolve up to a point where it will disappear and be replaced with something else (a highly efficient public transportation system or heck, even teleportation). The "sport and leisure" part of cars will forever remain though, whether in one form or another, because it is part of human nature.

There will always be a distinct part of the human population who needs the soul stirring and excitement brought by driving a beautiful and fast car through a winding road. OK, some of you might quote Dr. Emmet Brown and say that in the future we won't even have roads, but the fun provided by a snappy little flying sports car is probably equally as big, if not bigger, than the one provided by a "land car" on the Col de Turini.

As for the disappearance of car enthusiasts, well, let's just say that our strength will no longer sit in numbers but in quality, and maybe someday we will grow in size once again. All we need are less traffic jams, better roads and cars that are fun to drive. If society evolves the right way, our future is set.

 
 
 
 
 

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