Defining a 'sports' car is no easy task. I like the dual purpose idea. But there were a lot of road racing cars running under the 'sports' classification that never made it to general road use.
I'll always get a chuckle at the Dolly Sprint being considered a sports car. There's something just not right with the idea. And a Mustang as a sports car?? Surely both performance AND handling have to come into consideration. I'm sorry, that's one that doesn't sit well with me. Surely 'Muscle' is the classification for a Mustang, ie) brute strength over refined performance.
I suspect there is no precise definition but I wouldn't include saloon (touring) cars - e.g. Cortinas, Minis, Dolomites. Cars such as Mustangs are a bit of a grey area as i can think of where they have raced as saloons (60s British Saloon car championship) and others as sports/GT cars.
I suppose a rough categorisation is how many seats the car has - two seats sports, four seats saloon/touring. But even that's not watertight as a number of cars which one would regard as sports cars have four seats (although often only fit for dogs or small children e.g. Lotus Elan Plus 2).
On balance I think Peter's definition is about as precise as we can get.
O.K. I'm going to get this out of the way quickly.
AMERICAN SPORTS CARS THAT ARE SPORTS CARS
YES: Bill Thomas Cheetah, Nash-Healy's, Chevrolet Corvette's, Chaparrals, Shelby Cobras, Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupes, Kurtis's, Cunningham's, Scarab's, Ford GT's, Sadler's, Devin's, Kellison's, Howmet's, Shadow's, Ford Honker's, McKee's,
AMERICAN CARS THAT ARE NOT SPORTS CARS
No: Ford Mustang's, Plymouth Baracuda's, AMC Javelin's, Pontiac Grand Prix, Plymouth Road Runner's, Oldsmobile Cutlass 442's, Buick Grand National's, Ford Galaxie's, Pontiac Firebird's, Pontiac Fiero's, And any car that has a famous race name like Daytona, Monte Carlo, Sebing, Boneville, LeMans, Monza and any car that ran in NASCAR.
Looking at the Classic Slot Car Racing Association Sports/GT definitions in the UK, they say (and I quote):-
1/32 Scale Car Standards - For Hard Bodied Cars
SPORTS & GT CARS
Sports Car - An open top, or soft top, car with 2 seats and bodywork covering the wheels.
Competition Sports Car - An open top 2 seat car with bodywork covering the wheels built in very limited numbers to compete at events such as the Can-Am
Sports Prototype - An open or closed top 2 seat car, with bodywork covering the wheels, built in very limited numbers to compete at events such as the Le Mans 24hours
Production Sports Car - An open top, or soft top, car with 2 seats and bodywork covering the wheels, produced in significant quantities by manufacturers such as Alfa Romeo and MG. This description was also used for the 5 litre closed top cars such as the Ford GT40 and Porsche 917 which raced at Le Mans from 1968 to 1971.
GT Car - A closed, hard top car with 2 or 2+2 seats and bodywork covering the wheels. Cars in this class would normally be based on road going, hard top, 2 or 2+2 seat production cars.
NOTE: Prior to WWII there seems to have been no distinction between Sports, GT or Saloon cars in competitive events such as Le Mans
Not sure if this helps....but this is what we work to for our meetings.
Post by Peter Seager-Thomas on Sept 10, 2015 12:50:56 GMT
Most definitions really depend on the time period.
For Le Mans in the early years, all the larger cars had to have 4 seats.
Is an MGA roadster with a hard top then a coupe? I think Austin Healey had a problem on this issue with the Mille Miglia. Is the MGA Coupe really a GT? Not according to Le Mans who listed the MGA Coupe as 'Sports', even though the GT class existed at that time. I believe GT classes came in to being circa 1959.
I think this is a subject which has always required an open mind....