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Will Sports Cars Disappear

Sports cars are widely loved, but a quick survey of one’s morning commute will show they are not the most popular vehicle type on the road. Four door sedans, SUV’s, practical pickup trucks, and small economy cars dominate the automotive landscape. Sports cars seem to be an increasingly rare commodity. This is because other types of automobiles are increasingly able to take the best aspects of the sports car experience while avoiding some pitfalls inherent to the smaller speedsters.

For a long time, high performance was ruled by sports cars. Manufacturers used their sports car line to showcase new developments and design elements. Today, however, it appears many of these great qualities can be easily adapted to other car types.

The lighter construction of today’s cars, coupled with improvements in technology, has allowed family sedans to perform almost on par with sports cars. In fact, many of today’s “standard” offerings outperform the higher end sports cars of only a few years ago. Even SUV and trucks boast technology and performance that were unthinkable only a short while ago.

The automobile has evolved to a point where virtually any type of car can capture sports car technology. Regular production cars handle better than ever before and the only performance advantages to sports cars can only be realized under extreme driving conditions few will ever encounter. A sports car may hug a lynchpin turn at high speeds, for instance, better than the family sedan, but one must wonder how often any family will be trying to set speed records on mountain roads.

While today’s regular production models can steal some of the sports cars’ thunder, they can also offer some unique advantages over their smaller counterparts. Sports cars are notorious for their small size. Although this helps in handling and speed, it makes longer drives less comfortable while making every day use less practical. Larger cars have a utilitarian advantage that sports cars simply cannot match.

It was once sensible to trade some comfort for superior performance, but with modern standard autos now performing so well, the tradeoff seems less and less sensible. This seems apparent when one looks at the kind of cars people are buying: larger vehicles with greater seating capacity.

Additionally, the limited utility of sports cars makes them increasingly rare due to economic considerations. Few families today can afford to purchase and maintain a hobby car. By and large, people expect to use the vehicles they purchase on an every day basis. The old days of having a little convertible in the garage to use for occasional bursts of summer fun no longer seems like an economically feasible diversion for most people.

Originally, sports cars were designed specifically with rallies and contests in mind. Auto producers tested their design and mechanical skills against one another as they sought out ways to increase automobile performance. Later, sports cars became popular for mainstream drivers who were seeking greater performance from their vehicles. Lately, however, regular production cars have evolved and now come with the higher performance parts and construction once reserved for sports cars.

This may spell the eventual end for traditional sports cars, although producers are sure to maintain a small fleet of developmental performance cars with which to test new ideas. In the end, we may see a return to the sports cars of yesterday—cars designed specifically and almost exclusively to test new ideas, as opposed to popular cars for the larger public.

With each passing year, it seems, one notices fewer and fewer true sports cars on the road. This trend is not likely to be reversed any time soon, as more practical alternatives exist and the performance gap is shortened. Although the true sports car will probably never completely disappear, it is likely to become increasingly less visible to the public.

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