1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake
One of the most iconic American cars of all time, the Shelby Cobra, came to be in 1962 when Carroll Shelby combined Ford-made V-8 engines with British-designed AC Ace bodies. Although the Ace was fairly old and close to discontinuation in 1962, it’s lightweight structure helped Shelby create one of the greatest American sports cars. Built until 1968 in various road-legal and race-spec configurations, the Cobra reached its performance peak when the Super Snake was launched in 1966. Called the "Cobra to end all Cobras," the Super Snake is the rarest of the bunch, and it still holds the title for the most expensive American car sold at auction.
"When I built this dual supercharged 427 Cobra in 1966, I wanted it to be the fastest, meanest car on the road," Shelby told Barrett-Jackson in 2007 when the roadster was auctioned for its record price. "Forty years later, it will still kick the tail of just about anything in the world. It’s the fastest street legal Cobra I’ve ever owned."
Let’s find out more about this tremendous classic in the review below.
Continue reading to learn more about the Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake.
2020 Tesla Roadster
Back in 2008, a little upstart EV company named Tesla threw a lithium-ion battery pack and electric motor into a Lotus Elise and called it the Roadster. It was the very first model to bear the Tesla badge, and it was the first highway-legal series production all-electric car to travel more than 200 miles in a single charge. Now, nearly 10 years and several remarkable models later, Tesla is at it again, revealing a second-generation Roadster in a surprise debut alongside its new all-electric semi truck. While it’s still several years away from hitting public roads, Tesla dropped a variety of specs and numbers for the Roadster 2.0, and long story short, this thing is shaping up to be an absolute monster. If it really can do everything that Tesla CEO Elon Musk claims it can, the second-gen Roadster will set numerous performance records, including quickest to 60 mph, quickest to 100 mph, and quickest in the quarter mile. And that includes internal combustion-based production vehicles, by the way. It’ll also set new standards for EVs in the realms of range per charge and top speed. This is faster than Insane Mode. This is faster than Ludicrous Mode. This, dear readers, is straight up Plaid.
While we knew Tesla had a new Roadster coming down the pipeline, few would have guessed what it might be capable of. We even put together a speculative piece about a potential Tesla supercar a while back, but it turns out the California automaker combined the two ideas into one incredible world-beater. “The point of doing this is to just give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars,” says Musk. “Driving a gasoline sports car is gonna feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche.” Indeed, the Tesla Roadster 2.0 is framed as a bona fide halo car, an ultra-quick speed machine that’ll show Tesla’s true performance potential. Read on for the details.
Updated 11/17/2017: Tesla just revealed the new Roadster!
Continue reading to learn more about the 2020 Tesla Roadster.
2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Convertible
Chevy just released its new Corvette ZR1, and the spec sheet is just this side of insane. All told, this thing is the fastest, most powerful production Corvette ever created, with a thumping supercharged V-8 under the hood, advanced adaptive suspension components and tuning, and more wing than an international airport. All good stuff, no doubt, but what happens when you take off the roof? To find out, X-Tomi Design put together a rendering, and long story short, we approve.
The ZR1 convertible bears the same upgraded front fascia as its hardtop sibling, with aggressive, angular front intakes, a large splitter, and a taller hood to accommodate the bigger blower underneath. The wheels, fender vents, and enormous rear wing are also a carryover. Up top, though, you’ll notice the expanded headroom. If we’ve got your attention, then you’re in luck, because word has it a factory-made ZR1 convertible will break cover soon, possibly alongside the coupe version later this month at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Read on for the details.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2019 Corvette ZR1 Convertible by X-Tomi Design.
2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Speedster
Introduced in 2012, the second-generation Vanquish isn’t yet as old as the model it replaced, but it won’t be long until Aston Martin unleashes the third-generation car. And it seems that the grand tourer is getting a proper send off with several special-edition models up for grabs. Arguably the most spectacular of them all is the Zagato, which was built in both coupe and Volante body styles. Limited to only 99 units each, the Zagatos are long gone as of 2017, but if you’re still looking to get one, Aston Martin just unveiled two new version wearing the Zagato badge. One of them is the Vanquish Zagato Speedster, a two-seat drop-top that steps away from the usual convertible configuration.
The Speedster’s arrival is far from surprising, because we’ve already seen a camo-free example being driver near the Nurburgring track earlier this summer. However, it is a bit surprising that it was designed as a two-seater, as is the fact that Aston Martin expanded the current Vanquish Zagato range to no fewer than four models, including a shooting brake. Find out more about the Zagato Speedster and what makes it stands out compared to other models in the review below.
Continue reading to learn more about the Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Speedster.
2017 Mazda Miata RF – Driven
Needing no introduction, the Mazda Miata RF is well into its first year of production. This retractable fastback version of Mazda’s insanely popular two-seat sports car not only adds a level of interior comfort with lower noise levels and better insulation against extreme temperatures, but also adds some beautiful aesthetics to the MX-5’s Kodo Design language. Coated in the gorgeous Machine Gray metallic paint, out recent test car proved the Miata RF is more than a mere replacement for the last-generation power-retractable hardtop.
The Miata RF is a looker. Its styling flows with more grace and elegance than the ragtop convertible. Crisp edges meet with curved fenders and voluptuous haunches. Mazda’s attention to detail moves the Miata further up-market, while its price and fun-loving nature remain firmly planted in the obtainable sports car category. Aside from the roof, the Miata RF changes little from its roadster counterpart. An extra 113 pounds, a slightly revised steering calibration, and modestly retuned suspension comprise the most notable differences. But how does this affect the drive? To find out, I spent a week with the Miata RF, flogging it over familiar roads around Central Florida, all the while enjoying the springtime air flowing through the open cockpit.
Continue reading for the full driven review.
Polaris Slingshot SL Limited Edition Midnight Cherry
Originally launched in 2014, the Polaris Sligshot is an open-top three-wheeler joy rider that seeks to find a happy middle ground between street bike exhilaration and roadster-esquecomfort. It’s an interesting proposition for anyone unwilling to go full-on moto style, but still craving a bit of that in-the-elements thrill. As such, there are twin wheels up front for stops and turns, plus a single, larger wheel in the rear providing the motivation, plus a dearth of body panels for maximum exposure in the double seats. Three trim levels are offered, and now, Polaris has announced a new special edition iteration of the mid-grade SL line. It’s called the SL LE Midnight Cherry, and it’s packing new paint, upgraded “touring” graphics, and specially padded foam bucket seats.
“This limited edition model was created for riders to discover the exhilaration and adventure of the open road in the most luxurious and stylish SL available, while not compromising comfort.”
So then in one sense, the Slingshot SL LE Midnight Cherry is like a trike grand tourer. Complementing this perspective is a plethora of options, such as abundant side storage, overnight bags for the driver and passenger, upgradeable interior trim, and available all-weather covers.
The Slingshot SL Limited Edition Midnight Cherry will hit dealers this month. Pricing is set at $26,999 across the nation and $27,299 in California, which is $1,500 more than the standard Sligshot SL model.
Read on for further details.
Continue reading to learn more about the Slingshot SL Limited Edition Midnight Cherry.
2018 Pagani Huayra Roadster
Pagani debuted the Huayra in 2012 as the replacement for the aging Zonda, despite the fact that the manufacturer continued to roll out special edition Zondas through 2014. The Huayra name may sound odd at first, but it is based on the God of the wind, Wayra Tata, from the era of the Inca empire. The Huayra coupe was limited to only 100 units and has been sold out since 2015, but since then, Pagani has launched the hardcore BC version and a handful of unique, bespoke models. In 2017, Pagani introduced the Huayra Roadster, a drop-top with bespoke chassis and features.
Reports of a roadster version started circulating shortly after the coupe debuted, with initial reports claiming a release was planned for 2016. That obviously didn’t happen, but the Italian firm confirmed that the open-top supercar will make its global debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show in March. Come February and the Huayra Roadster unveiled itself to the world.
Unlike other supercars in this expensive niche, the Huayra Roadster isn’t just a hacked-up coupe. Instead, the Italian manufacturer prepared a healthy power increase, made it lighter than the coupe, and gave it a revised chassis with bespoke settings. Granted, the Huayra is already expensive, so it’s only natural to ask yourself whether the Roadster is awesome enough to warrant its massive price tag? Find out more about that in the review below.
Keep reading to learn more about the 2018 Pagani Huayra Roadster.
1998 - 2002 BMW M Coupe
It’s been called the “clown shoe” on more than one occasion. Personally, I think it looks like a Dutch clog, but that’s just me. Whatever you want to call it, the BMW M Coupe is undeniably unique, and the individuality runs much deeper than simple aesthetics. From a numbers standpoint, it’s one of the lowest production BMWs ever made. Philosophically, the M Coupe was built by engineers for people who want to go fast, completely removed from the velocity-killing forces of branding and marketing. Rather, the approach taken here was more backyard-special than high-gloss advertisement – low weight, high horsepower, lots of rubber, and let the public think whatever it wants.
While at times unbridled and unforgiving, the M Coupe is still whip-smart, with handling that takes finesse and patience to master. A true enthusiast’s vehicle, Car and Driver called it “nerd chic,” while U.S. owners gather every year to share their passion at an event called Dorkfest. Let’s just say appeal is limited, at best.
While rarity and explicit weirdness have pushed the M Coupe into obscurity, car lovers of every stripe would do well to regard it as the fast, unhinged shooting-brake challenge that was never truly answered.
Continue reading to learn more about the 1998 – 2002 BMW M Coupe.
1964 - 1967 Sunbeam Tiger
The Sunbeam Tiger was a two-seat sports roadster built between 1964 to 1967 by British manufacturer Rootes Group, who had purchased the Sunbeam and Talbot brands in 1935. Essentially a more powerful version of the second-generation Sunbeam Alpine (1959-1968), the Tiger went on to become of the most iconic British sports cars.
The project began in 1962, when racing driver and Formula One champion Jack Brabham went to Rootes competition manager with the idea of fitting the Alpine, which was normally powered by small-displacement four-cylinder engines, with a larger Ford V-8 powerplant. Realizing that the Alpine needed more power to compete successfully in the U.S., Rootes approved the conversion, which was designed in part by Carroll Shelby, who had carried out a similar V8 conversion on the AC Cobra.
Although Shelby hoped to be given a contract to produce the Tiger in America, Rootes was unhappy about Carroll’s close relationship with Ford, so final assembly was done at Jensen’s West Bromwich plant in England. Carroll was paid an undisclosed royalty for every Tiger built.
The first prototype was completed in 1963 and the Tiger went into production a year later with a 4.3-liter V-8 engine under the hood. Nearly 7,100 units were built until 1967, when Chrysler purchased a majority stake in Rootes. The Detroit-based company didn’t want rival Ford’s V-8 in the Tiger, and being unable to supply a V-8 that would fit in the roadster’s engine bay, decided to axe the car.
The roadster wasn’t the first Sunbeam to feature the Tiger name. The British firm built the first Tiger in 1925. Developed strictly for racing, the original Tiger set many land speed records and was the last car to be competitive both as a land speed record holder and as a track car.
The Tiger name was resurrected in 1972 when Chrysler introduced the Avenger Tiger, a limited-edition, performance-oriented version of the Hillman Avenger, the first car developed by Rootes after its takeover in 1967.
Continue reading to learn more about the Sunbeam Tiger.
1962 Shelby 260 Cobra "CSX 2000"
If you ask any car enthusiast the name of the person who has been the most influential to the automotive world, nine times out of ten you’ll get the answer “Carroll Shelby.” And, rightfully so – Carroll Shelby had an amazing automotive legacy. And, that legacy all started out with the car you see here: a 1962 Shelby Cobra CSX 2000. While all early Cobras are special in their own right, this one is excessively special because it was the first Cobra built. Ever. It came to be at the hands of Carroll Shelby and a few other people in a small garage in California.
There’s a lot more to this specific Cobra, though. See, this Cobra was built by Carroll Shelby and was owned solely by him. Furthermore, there is a funny story behind it. When the car was complete, it was shown at a number of different venues used by the motoring press and used for testing and development. The funny part is that Shelby had the world convinced that Cobra production was running at full force when in fact the CSX 2000 was the only Cobra at the time. To pull this off, the car was repainted prior to most appearances to give the illusion that there was more than just one for the first seven months of its existence.
With that said, this specific Cobra is ready to go home with a new owner and is being auctioned off by RM Sotheby’s in Monterey in August of 2016. It is being offered by the Carroll Hall Shelby Trust and, as such, should come with proof of authenticity. The car isn’t exactly in the best condition it has ever been in – there is definitely wear here and there. But, that is a part of the car’s history. So, let’s take a good look at it before it goes under the hammer in a couple of months.
Update 08-21-2016: This gorgeous car just broke the record for an American car sold at Auction. Check out the Prices section below for all the details.
Keep reading for our full review of this very special Cobra
In terms of desirability, not much on four wheels can top the Ferrari 250 GT California Spider SWB. So when it came time forFerrari to build a follow up, it had its work cut out for it. The car that resulted was the 275 GTS, a convertible for the American market, despite the word “California” being left out of the name. And in pretty typical Ferrari fashion for the day, the GTS is a different vehicle from anything else with a 275 name, with differences going beyond the fact that the roof comes down.
The 275 GTS is based on the 275 GTB, which is about as close to standard as Ferrari nomenclature gets. But not only do the cars appear to be completely different models, they were built for different purposes. The GTB is a sports car, and so was the 275 GTB/4 that followed it, but the GTS was treated more as a grand tourer. And like a strangely large number of Ferrari convertibles from the era, it was also treated almost as more of a limited production special edition than a full-on production model. Odd when you consider how popular roofless Ferraris would turn out to be later.
Continue reading to learn more about the Ferrari 275 GTS.
2017 Caterham Seven 310
Introduced in 1973, when Caterham bought the rights to the design from Lotus, who had produced the sports car since 1957, the Caterham Seven soldiered on mostly unchanged until the 21st century. Of course, Caterham refined the design, introduced new materials, and better engines, but overall, the Seven is being built on the same recipe that Colin Chapman outlined 60 years ago.
Caterham indeed made an important change recently, but it has nothing to do with the lightweight architecture or its classic styling. The Brits turned the Seven into a proper family of sports cars, adding numerous street and track-only versions. The Seven 310 is the latest to join the lineup and expands the number of road-legal offerings to no fewer than six.
Described as a "perfect balance of power and confidence-inspiring handling characteristics" that harken back to the Superlight R300 model, the Seven 310 is heavily based on the 270 model. And by "heavily based" I mean that it is essentially a 270 with an upgraded engine. Caterham says the 310 was born out of a "happy accident" when the company took the upgrade engine, which was destined to be an aftermarket option, to the streets, realizing that it would make for a great production model.
“It’s entirely fitting that the Seven 310, which we feel perfectly synchronizes power and handling, has come out of the motorsport engineering process. This car will be loved by Caterham enthusiasts but will also convert car fans in general who understand that creating a genuinely fun driving experience is not about simply adding more and more power; that often, less is more," said Simon Lambert, chief of motorsport and technical officer for Caterham.
Keep reading to learn all about the Caterham Seven 310
2017 - 2018 Audi R8 Spyder
Launched in 2007, the first-generation Audi R8 was so successful that the German brand decided to keep it around for no fewer than eight model years. The Spyder, on the other hand, is a bit younger than that, having been unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show for the 2010 model year.
At first only available with the 5.2-liter V-10, the convertible also received the 4.2-liter V-8 for 2011, and a limited-edition GT model for 2012. With the second-generation R8 already in dealerships, Audi introduced the redesigned Spyder version at the 2016 New York Auto Show.
Much like its predecessor, the second-generation R8 Spyder is essentially a topless version of the R8 Coupe,using a soft-top instead of metal roof. Specs are obviously identical, meaning there’s no longer a V-8 engine and a manual transmission. Audi has yet to confirm whether the R8 Spyder will also get an e-tron version, but an all-electric drop-top is very likely to arrive by the end of 2016.
Audi’s new angular design works well with the R8 Spyder’s convertible layout and the performance is definitely strong, but does it have what it takes to compete against the bonkers Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet and McLaren’s upcoming 570S Spider? Keep reading to find out.
Update 7-29-2016: Audi has announced that the R8 Spyder will be priced from £129,990 (including destination fees) in the U.K. That translates to nearly $172,000 at current exchange rates. Check out the details as well as the options available in the Prices section below.
Continue reading for the full review.
When Porsche unveiled the 918 Spyder concept at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show we were all in amazement. Within that amazement was a sense of a sense of pessimism, as we were unsure exactly how this future successor to the Carrera GT would look and run in the real world. We all know that manufacturers have a habit of “overestimating” its cars at these shows, to put it nicely.
After more than three years, the 918 Spyder ended its testing phase and is ready for its world debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. The 918 has made many passes around the “Green Hell,” thrashing its predecessor’s time in the process. All of these laps around the famed Nürburgring and at Porsche’s test facilities have given the automaker enough details to allow it to piece together all of its specs.
So, is the 918 Spyder everything it has been hyped up to be?
Updated 07/07/2016: Porsche dropped a new video of the 918 Spyder showing the hybrid supercar in action at the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed. Hit "play" to watch it!
Click past the jump to read our review and find out.
2009 - 2017 Nissan 370Z
When it comes to sports cars from the Land of the Rising Sun, the Nissan Z is one of the best. As far back as the ‘60s, the Z has captured the hearts and minds of enthusiasts worldwide thanks to its timeless good looks, traditional drivetrain layout, sonorous six-cylinder exhaust note, and giant-slaying performance potential, all of which is offered at an affordable price point. The latest iteration is the Z34, a.k.a. the 370Z, which bears the same attributes as its predecessors, but with modernized packaging. Summed up, the 370Z gets slick styling, updated cabin tech, RWD handling, and a solid amount of thrust, making it a 21st-century performance-machine worthy of the letter Z.
Unlike most manufacturers, Nissan did it right when designing its next-gen sports car. Compared to the previous generation (the 350Z), the 370Z gets smaller dimensions and lower weight, plus increased chassis rigidity and higher engine output – exactly the right combo when aiming to please throngs of enthusiasts. Over time, Nissan added new features and trim levels to broaden the Z’s appeal, but kept the original’s hardcore attitude for customers who demanded it. These days, the Z needs to evolve, which is a tricky proposition for a model bearing nearly five decades of history. For now, though, read on for a look at the newest version of Nissan’s classic two-door.
Updated 07/10/2017: Nissan announced minor equipment and pricing updates for the 2018 model year 370Z.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2009 – 2018 Nissan 370Z.