“To start the ball rolling, I said that I thought a definition might be made out for a car in the building of which, as regards engine, chassis and bodywork, performance was the principal consideration,” wrote Twist.
“Someone asked how I would define performance. After some thought, I replied, ‘Good acceleration, maximum speed, roadholding, cornering and brakes’. It was suggested that such a car must also ‘hold its tune for a long period’.
“This was agreed to after some discussion, during which it was pointed out that some machines beloved by sporting enthusiasts needed frequent adjustments and were none the less beloved for that.
“There was, however, at all events, unanimity on the fact that a true sports car must necessarily be an open car, though the converse need not apply.
“If one accepted my original definition as a basis of argument, comfort could only be a very secondary consideration in the building of a sports car, and then allied only with the necessary comfort of the driver for the proper control of the car on long-distance journeys.
“A closed car definitely puts comfort first, for although some saloon models are said to be faster than their equivalent open models, that is only because of the design of the open cars in question.
“A friend suggested my definition came perilously close to describing a racing car. I amended it accordingly to ‘a car built for road purposes in which engine, chassis and bodywork were designed with performance as the primary consideration’.
“I opined that as a matter of fact no four-seater could be a sports car, since the mere fact that there were four seats brought in the consideration of carrying people, and any car should have a better performance if its bodywork had been designed as a two-seater. Single-seaters were ineligible for the argument, as constituting racing cars.
“It was now getting late and, knocking out his pipe, ‘I’m for bed’ said one of the party. A few minutes later a terrific noise outside heralded his departure, in a much-cherishedmachine certainly of sporting tendencies, but not a real sports car in the light of our argument.
“So the discussion ended, with no final decision. Is there any such thing as a real sports car? My original definition was accepted with certain amendments and limitations, merely from lack of a better one.”
Previous Throwback Thursdays
4 March 1899 - Steam, electric or combustion engine?
26 June 1906 - The first French Grand Prix
9 July 1907 - The beginning of Brooklands
14 February 1913 - 100 miles in one hour
8 April 1916 - Making post-war predictions
25 March 1922 - Caterpillar tracks are the future
4 July 1925 - Citroën lights up the Eiffel Tower
28 September 1928 - Engine tech takes a great leap forwards
2 February 1934 - The ethics of skidding
6 July 1934 - A tour of Cowley
1 June 1935 - Introduction of the driving test
22 June 1945 - Driving through post-WW2 Europe
21 January 1949 - Tidier tails
25 August 1950 - The evolution of transmissions
27 April 1951 - Frankfurt hosts its first motor show
24 April 1959 - Aston Martin enters Formula 1
16 September 1960 - The beginning of MOT tests
28 October 1960 - Economy driving 1960s style
27 January 1961 - Ford Thunderbird road test
17 November 1961 - TVR Grantura road test
10 September 1965 - The birth of modern Audi
19 August 1966 - Four-wheel drive on test
6 May 1971 - Driving Ford's Supervan
12 June 1976 - Cars for under £100
10 July 1976 - Land's End to John O'Groats on one tank
8 October 1977 - Music on the move
13 May 1978 - Ferrari 512 BB road test
19 January 1980 - Talbot Horizon road test
13 February 1982 - 4x4s tested on the farm
17 April 1985 - Secrets of a lost British supercar
4 September 1985 - Ford's electronic test bed
15 August 1990 - Giugiaro's vision of a 1990s Jaguar
28 April 1993 - BL's unseen concepts
16 March 1994 - Bentley's Concept Java
16 April 1997 - When Bugatti bit the dust
11 October 2000 - BMW X5 Le Mans
4 April 2001 - 0-260mph in 6.0 seconds
25 July 2001 - 180mph in a Chevrolet Corvette
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