Supercars are the cars that set the standards. Cars built as technological statements by their makers and often with the claim of being the best in the world. They're the cars of which dreams are made, passions are inflamed and imaginations fueled. They are what makes loving cars such an easy thing to do.
Here are the 100 greatest supercars of all time. And by all time we mean within the context of their time. After all, the Mercer Raceabout was a total terror back in 1910, but would have a hard time keeping up with a Nissan Versa today.
These aren't the most powerful cars or the most exotic. These are the cars that are super: beyond other cars in their conception and execution. Some are very, very fast and some are here simply because they're beautiful. If they were listed by date, they'd closely track the development of cars through the last 110 years.
Super may mean many things to many people. But super always means a lot.
100. 2000 Saleen S7 — Devastating looks and thoroughly fragile. Carbon-fiber body over a mid-mounted Ford 7.0-liter V8 making 550 horsepower. The twin-turbo version hit 750 horses.
99. 1963 Iso Grifo — An exotic Giugiaro-designed, Italian body stretched out over a gutsy American Corvette chassis.
98. 1990 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 — A DOHC V8 goes from 385 to 405 hp. Big rear flanks cover thick rear tires. It's still the only Corvette with an overhead cam engine.
97. 1957 BMW 507 — Only 252 of these roadsters were built, and BMW may have gone broke if it had built more. The 3.2-liter V8 only made 150 hp, but this is 1950s lust.
96. 1977 Aston Martin V8 Vantage — Fortified Aston Martin V8 that powered the company's survival through the 1970s and '80s. Early versions had 375 hp, while final cars had up to 450.
95. 1997 Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR — Midengine homologation special built to dominate Le Mans and the FIA GT championship, and it did. The 6.0-liter V12 made about 600 hp.
94. 2007 Ferrari 430 Scuderia — The ultimate F430 with more power (508 hp) and less weight (by about 220 pounds). Other F430s were great, but this one was the greatest.
93. 2003 Bentley Continental GT — Bentley's spectacular, all-wheel-drive coupe with a turbocharged, 6.0-liter W12 under its hood. The Supersports offers 621 hp.
92. 2011 Ariel Atom 500 — A skeletal midget packing a high-revving, 3.0-liter V8 whooping out 500 hp. It's the minimalist hyperspace machine. Terrible around town.
91. 2005 Porsche Carrera GT — A bold midengine roadster powered by a 5.7-liter V10 rated at 612 hp. Rewarded experts, punished poseurs.
90. 2012 Pagani Huayra — Put a Mercedes AMG 6.0-liter, twin-turbo V12 in a dinky midengine machine and give it an unpronounceable name. That's this car.
89. 1935 Auburn 851 Speedster — A supercharged, 150-hp, 4.6-liter Lycoming straight-8 under the most extravagant "boat tail" body ever conceived. Pure glamour.
88. 2004 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren — Corporate conspiracy produces a 617-hp thoroughbred that never quite got the respect it deserved.
87. 1999 Pagani Zonda — Totally unexpected excellence from a manufacturer that was completely unknown. Intoxicating mix of Italian midengine bodywork and Mercedes AMG power.
86. 2010 Noble M600 — A brute cleverly disguised as a monster. An evil Yamaha-designed, Volvo-based 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 knocks out up to 650 hp.
85. 1992 Bugatti EB110 — The thunder to the Veyron's lightning. It's a 553-hp snub-nosed missile with four turbos feeding its 3.5-liter V12.
84. 1993 Porsche 911 GT2 — The two-wheel-drive 911 Turbo in its most radical form. The 993-based original had 450 hp. The latest 997 model goes to 523 hp.
83. 1954 Bentley R-Type Continental — When gentlemen dream, this big coupe is the subject. It features Mulliner coachwork over a Rolls-Royce chassis. Fast? Fast enough.
82. 1920 Hispano-Suiza H6 — Full of tech swiped from aircraft and eerily stable at speed, the six-cylinder H6 was the car despots became despots in order to own.
81. 2004 Lamborghini Gallardo — The Gallardo finally made a small Lamborghini relevant with almost 500 horsepower, striking styling and all-wheel drive. It was good enough to make us forget the Jalpa.
80. 1975 Ferrari 308 GTB and GTS — Almost as practical as a Porsche, the 308 was the template for every midengine Ferrari to come. The original 308 only had 235 hp.
79. 1931 Hispano-Suiza J12 — V12 successor to the H6, the 9.4-liter V12 made 220 hp. A stroked 11.3-liter version made 250. Cloaked in amazing coachwork from various houses.
78. 1961 Jaguar E-Type — Beautiful like no other car before it and initially powered by a 265-hp, 3.8-liter straight-6. This is the magic Jaguar has never quite recaptured.
77. 1987 Ruf CTR Yellowbird — Ruf rebuilds the 911 into a 469-hp turbo screamer that resets the performance bar for even Porsche itself.
76. 2012 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta — A 730-hp declaration by Ferrari that its front-engine, V12 GTs can be intimidating again. It's a 6.3-liter can of whoop-ass.
75. 1994 Ferrari F355 — After the disappointing 348, Ferrari roars back with the F355 that uses five-valve cylinder heads on its 3.5-liter V8 to make 375 hp.
74. 1937 Cord 812 Supercharged — The front-drive, coffin-nosed icon at its most powerful. The 4.7-liter Lycoming V8 produced about 150 hp. But only about 3,000 of the 810 and 812 models were made.
73. 1964 Maserati Mistral — Big, bold GT with a glorious Fura body and a 3.5-liter six making 235 hp. The best Mistrals use a 4.0-liter V8 at 255 hp.
72. 2014 Lamborghini Veneno — Hideously ugly, but every supercar styling cliché is there and ready to impress. Sort of. Underneath it's an Aventador. Which is good enough.
71. 1957 Maserati 3500 GT — Maybe the most romantic of the big Italian coupes in the 1950s. Sophia Loren on four wheels with a 3.5-liter inline-6 at her bosom. Even better as an open Spyder.
70. 2007 Ferrari 599 Fiorano — It's a 612-hp, 6.0-liter V12 lashed to a Tuscan villa. Destined to be underrated by people who have never driven it.
69. 1931 Alfa Romeo 8C — A series of straight-8-powered road and race machines that were what Ferrari is now before Ferrari was around. Covered in some of the most beautiful coach-built bodies ever.
68. 1930 Bentley 8-Litre — A massive monster built around a huge 8.0-liter straight-six. It's a road-going locomotive with wheelbases stretching up to 156 inches.
67. 2010 Hennessey Venom GT — Texas' John Hennessey takes the Lotus Exige and transmogrifies it into a 1,244-hp terror with a twin-turbocharged, 7.0-liter V8.
66. 1973 Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer — Ferrari's first midengine road car (not counting the Dino). Started as the 365 GT4 BB with a 344-hp 4.4-liter flat-12 and devolved into the 512i with a 5.0-liter engine making up to 340 hp. Blame '70s emissions standards.
65. 1964 Ferrari 500 America Superfast — Long, tapered and filled with a 5.0-liter V12 making 395 hp. It's the big Ferrari that's, well, superfast.
64. 1967 Maserati Ghibli — A stiletto-shaped super-tourer packing 4.7 or 4.9 liters of V8 power. Styled by Giugiaro while he was at Ghia, and the best-looking Maserati of the 1960s.
63. 2009 Aston Martin V12 Vantage — It's an old formula: big engine in the smallest car that can take it. Originally 510 hp, up to 565 in the Vantage S.
62. 1996 Ferrari 550 Maranello and 575M Maranello — A big GT with a 485-hp 5.5-liter V12 heart. Succeeded by the 575M with a 5.7-liter V12 making 508 hp.
61. 2011 Koenigsegg Agera — Two turbos on a 5.0-liter V8 mean 927 hp in the Agera, 1,016 horses in the Agera S and 1,124 hp in the Agera R. Blistering in every way.
60. 2004 Maserati MC12 — A Ferrari Enzo in Maserati drag. Which is no bad thing. It's longer and wider than the Enzo, but the 6.0-liter V12 with 620 hp is there.
59. 1967 De Tomaso Mangusta — Argue with its pedigree — it used Ford small-block V8s — and deride its engineering, but the Mangusta is utterly gorgeous.
58. 1971 De Tomaso Pantera — There's a lot of Ford in the Pantera, but its primal appeal is undeniable. The Ford 5.8-liter Cleveland V8 aboard made 330 hp.
57. 1992 Jaguar XJ220 — Collaborating with Tom Walkinshaw Racing, Jag produces a stunner powered by a 540-hp, 3.5-liter, twin-turbocharged V6.
56. 1999 BMW Z8 — All-aluminum roadster styled after the 507 and packing the 400-hp, M-built, 5.0-liter V8 from the E39-series M5. It's beautiful in every way.
55. 2010 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Black Series — Take the SL65, drop about 550 pounds of weight out of it, thump the twin-turbo V12 up to 661 hp, add big flares and...evil!
54. 1910 Mercer 35R Raceabout — Bare-bones and built for speed, the American-made Raceabout was capable of over 90 mph and cruising at 70. The 4.8-liter four made around 55 hp.
53. 2008 Audi R8 — A midengine, all-wheel-drive car that's as easy to live with every day as a Porsche 911. The V10-powered cars are awesome, but the V8s are easier to love.
52. 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG — Modern interpretation of the 300SL with those doors and, better, the AMG 6.2-liter V8 rated up to 583 hp. An electric version is coming.
51. 1995 Ferrari F50 — Just 349 of these were made, each around an advanced carbon-fiber tub. The 4.7-liter V12 was derived from the 333SP racer and produced 513 hp.
50. 1990 Lamborghini Diablo — Somewhat tame successor to the Countach, but still blindingly fast with up to 595 hp from the SE30 Jota model's 5.7-liter V12.
49. 2001 Aston Martin V12 Vanquish — After the svelte DB7, the big-shouldered Vanquish appears a muscular beast with a 6.0-liter, 450-hp V12. Yeah, James Bond had one.
48. 1976 Lotus Esprit — When it entered production it had a 160-hp four. When it left production 28 years later, it was powered by a twin-turbo V8 making 350 hp.
47. 1989 Nissan Skyline GT-R (R32) — All-wheel drive, twin-turbocharged 2.6-liter six, enough computing power to run Denmark, and the ability to be tuned beyond 1,000 hp.
46. 1995 Nissan Skyline GT-R (R33) — The evolution of the GT-R continues. The best of the R33s was the Nismo 400R.
45. 1999 Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34) — The final version of the classic, RB26DETT-powered GT-Rs. A car worth risking prison to import — which some did.
44. 2010 Aston Martin Vanquish — The second Vanquish arrives bristling with 565 hp from its 6.0-liter V12. It's a beast in a silk suit.
43. 1984 Ferrari Testarossa and 512 TR and F512 M — Massive monster with a mid-mounted 4.9-liter flat-12 making 390 hp. Output grew to 428 horses in the 512 TR and 440 in the F512 M.
42. 1967 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale — A 2.0-liter V8 under Scaglione's masterpiece body. The midengine car as curvaceous object of desire and passion.
41. 2006 Ferrari P4/5 by Pininfarina — A glorious one-off by the legendary coachworks atop the bones of a Ferrari Enzo. It is unabashedly and spectacularly retro.
40. 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Roadster — It's a car that drapes down around its driver. The supercharger on the 5.4-liter straight-8 pushed output to 180 hp.
39. 1963 Aston Martin DB5 — If James Bond hadn't driven one, it might be forgotten. But he did. A perfectly proportioned coupe with a 4.0-liter six underhood.
38. 1967 Toyota 2000GT — Proof the Japanese could build great cars. Jewellike body swoops over a 2.0-liter, 150-hp six from Yamaha. Only 337 were built.
37. 1927 Bentley 4-1/2 Litre "Blower Bentley" — Supercharged, indomitable and built to race at Le Mans. Only 55 made, with roots blowers on the 4.5-liter fours making 130 hp.
36. 1959 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta SWB — Pure sex on a 94.5-inch wheelbase. Up to 276 hp from its 3.0-liter V12, it was the world GT constructor's champion in 1961.
35. 1957 Jaguar XKSS — The road-going version of the D-Type racing car. How cool? Steve McQueen owned one. Only 16 were made, all powered by the Jag inline-6.
34. 2010 Aston Martin One-77 — Still tailored, but heavily muscled. It's Aston's nastiest monster: 750 hp under a taut skin. Just 77 were made.
33. 2007 Nissan GT-R (R35) — It was a legend even before the first one was built. The 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 started at 485 hp and now it's at 545.
32. 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa — Sculpted like sin itself and fast enough to win Le Mans three times. Want one? Well, $10 million won't be enough.
31. 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 — A supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that makes — gack! — 638 hp. The most powerful Corvette ever and yet it's a pussycat in everyday driving.
30. 1984 Ferrari 288 GTO — Built for Group B racing, but never raced. A 308 amplified with a new tail and a twin-turbo 2.9-liter V8. It led directly to the F40.
29. 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 — Four cams and six carburetors elevate the 275 from merely awesome to brilliance. The 3.3-liter V12 was rated at 300 hp. Other changes to the structure improved handling.
28. 2011 Lamborghini Aventador — The big Lambo reinvented for the 21st century around an all-new 6.5-liter V12 making 690 hp and all-wheel drive. Looks astonishing, too.
27. 2001 Lamborghini Murcielago — Outrageous in the tradition of the Countach. With up to 661 hp from its V12 in the LP670-4 Super Veloce.
26. 2011 Lexus LFA — Toyota aims to build the world's best car and maybe succeeds. Every high-tech trick known to Japan with a 4.8-liter V10 that screams out 552 hp. Possibly the world's best engine note.
25. 1992 Dodge SRT Viper — Still outrageous, the latest incarnation of the Viper has 640 hp from its 8.4-liter V10. It's the most radical production car ever built in the city of Detroit.
24. 1979 BMW M1 — The first M car is the most cherished and BMW's only midengine car. Power comes from the brilliant 3.5-liter M88 inline-6 making 273 hp.
23. 2005 Ford GT — Reviving the GT40's looks in a car that's comfortable, handles and goes ridiculously fast. Supercharged 5.4-liter V8 rated at 550 hp.
22. 1976 Porsche 911 Turbo — One idea pursued with brilliance and daring for almost 38 years. So much racing success it has defined motorsports in its own image.
21. 1908 Rolls-Royce 40/50 Silver Ghost — The world gasped at its quality and beauty. It was the best car in the world, and Rolls-Royce's reputation has been that ever since.
20. 1912 Stutz Bearcat — When American cars were ox carts, the Bearcat was an adventure. Basically it was Stutz's Indy racer with road gear and a 5.8-liter, 16-valve four.
19. 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia — The 562-hp, 4.5-liter V8 that has recast the small Ferrari as the best Ferrari. Nimble, blindingly quick and mesmerizing.
18. 1990 Acura NSX — The all-aluminum midengine car that forced every other manufacturer to build better supercars. Never the quickest, it was nonetheless among the best.
17. 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 — Everything to excess except comfort and weather protection. It's a 425-hp stud so awesome that there are more replicas than real ones now.
16. 2011 McLaren MP4-12C — The second greatest constructor in racing builds a carbon-fiber stunner powered by a twin-turbo, 3.8-liter V8 making 592 hp.
15. 2014 Porsche 918 Spyder — Technological wonder stuffed full of hybrid bits and electronic bravado. It's easy to assume that it will be awesome.
14. 2014 McLaren P1 — Alongside the Porsche 918 and LaFerrari it will revolutionize sports cars with its hybrid powertrain. Includes a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8.
13. 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari — A 789-hp, 6.3-liter V12 augmented by a KERS system and everything Ferrari has ever learned. All in a stunning car with a stupid name.
12. 1932 Duesenberg SJ — The ultimate prewar American car: huge, supercharged, powerful and devastatingly beautiful no matter what body was atop it. The Mormon Meteor version topped 135 mph.
11. 2002 Ferrari Enzo — Carbon-fiber wonder car filled with Formula 1 technology. 6.0-liter V12 rated at 651 hp. Ferrari's next leap beyond the F40.
10. 1964 Ford GT40 — Four-time Le Mans winner. Isn't that enough?
9. 1962 Ferrari GTO — Only 39 of these V12 GTs were made, but it won three world championships. Billionaire Craig McCaw paid $35 million for the pale green one last year.
8. 1986 Porsche 959 — The car of tomorrow that actually got tomorrow right. Advanced in every way, from the materials in its body to the all-wheel-drive system and twin-turbo flat-6.
7. 1987 Ferrari F40 — Tube frame monster around a 308's cockpit, but equipped with a twin-turbo, 471-hp V8. It's exhilarating even if you only look at it.
6. 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL — Forget the doors and look at the big direct-injection six, the intricate chassis and the perfect body. It's the defining supercar of the 1950s.
5. 1974 Lamborghini Countach — Redefined the supercar through the force of its unmatched popularity. Stupid-fast too, with 5000QV's 5.2-liter V12 rated at 455 hp.
4. 1992 McLaren F1 — The greatest car of the 1990s. It's a 231-mph bullet that laid claim to all-time awesome with its BMW-built, 6.1-liter 618-hp V12.
3. 1969 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona — A sharp break from the older, voluptuous V12 Ferraris. It's pornographically provocative with its 352-hp, 4.4-liter V12.
2. 1967 Lamborghini Miura LP400 — The car that defined the supercar as a midengine exotic. Transverse-mounted, 350-hp 3.9-liter V12 in a body of shattering beauty.
1. 2005 Bugatti Veyron — Four turbos on an 8.0-liter W16 and it's the first car with a four-digit power rating and million-dollar price tag. So overwhelmingly ambitious and insanely equipped, it is the ultimate supercar to which all others must be compared.