The Best Supercars of All Time

The world's most famous supercars have represented the pinnacle of automotive craftsmanship, pushing the boundaries of speed, design, and technological innovation. But what are the greatest supercars ever and the best looking supercars of all time? Read on to find out about the most astonishing automotive apex predators.

Automotive History
13 September 2023

At the meeting point of tradition and technology, the best supercars of all time evoke an unmatched sense of wonder and desire. Born from racing circuits and envisioned by masterminds who dared to challenge conventions, famous supercars have always stood as testament to the ambition of the motoring world.

Whether it was the raw power of the 1960s, the quest for aerodynamic supremacy in the 1980s, or the integration of twenty-first century cutting-edge technology, every supercar tells a story of innovation and passion.

But what are the greatest supercars ever? Should they be the fastest? The prettiest? The most expensive? Ask a hundred car enthusiasts and you’ll probably get a hundred answers. Here, we’ve picked out a small selection of truly ground-breaking cars which are memorable not just for what they look or sound like, but how they made the world of motoring sit up and take notice.

A Short History of Supercars

The timeline of these astonishing automotive titans is as much about innovation as it is about sheer power and aesthetic brilliance.

Many aficionados argue that the birth of the supercar era began in the late 1960s with the paradigm-shifting Lamborghini Miura, one of the best supercars of all time. Unveiled at the 1966 Geneva Motor Show, the Miura was a revelation. Indeed no list of the best looking supercars of all time is complete without the Miura.

Through the 1970s and 1980s, the race for supremacy led to the birth of legends from Ferrari and Jaguar, while in the 1990s McLaren debuted their own record-breaker. These cars pushed boundaries in aerodynamics, lightweight materials, and sheer power, striving for dominance in an increasingly congested market.

The 2000s and beyond brought technological innovation to the forefront. Supercars began to incorporate hybrid technology. Alongside speed and movie-star good looks, the emphasis also shifted towards sustainability, user-centric designs, and the integration of digital technology.

Buckle up and start your engines. Here, in no particular order, are some of the greatest supercars of all time.

Lamborghini Miura

Lamborghini Miura (Photo by National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

Remarkably, the Miura, not only one of the best supercars of all time but arguably the most important, was designed after hours, against the wishes of Ferruccio Lamborghini. He preferred luxurious front-engined grand tourers over the racing cars built by his nemesis Enzo Ferrari, however he finally relented. Not only was the Marcello Gandini-designed car eye-wateringly beautiful, the outrageously brave decision to mount the 3.9-litre V12 block in the middle behind the driver caught the car world napping. Named after breeder Don Eduardo Miura’s fighting bulls, he also bred two bulls by the name of Murcielago and Reventon, future Lamborghinis and themselves worthy of places on the list of the greatest supercars ever.

Jaguar XJ220

1993 Jaguar XJ220, 2000. (Credit: National Motor Museum/Heritage Images via Getty Images)

Launching the incredibly thirsty 5.3-litre V12 XJ-S in 1973 as a global oil crisis was about to hit was bad luck, but surely that was just a one-off? Unfortunately not. The jaw-droppingly beautiful XJ220 was launched in 1992 as a worldwide recession loomed large. The original car, an all-wheel drive V12, prompted customers to queue up to give Jaguar £50,000 deposits at the 1988 British International Motor Show. However the car they received four years later was – purely in the pursuit of optimum performance – a rear-wheel drive 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V6.

What was – and remains – one of the greatest supercars ever, became an increasingly heavy millstone around Jaguar’s neck. Orders were cancelled and deposits returned. Of an intended production run of 350, only around 280 were built and most were sold at way below the original asking price of £470,000. It was reported the last one sold for £140,000, just to see it off the forecourt.

Despite the decisions made by Jaguar’s suits, the XJ220 was a formidable car with a brutal soundtrack and blistering pace, and rightly takes its place on this list of the world’s most famous supercars.

Bugatti Veyron

2009 Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport. (Photo by National Motor Museum/Heritage Images via Getty Images)

For many, perhaps the most technologically-advanced car ever made, was all about the numbers. It was powered by an eight-litre W16 (two V8s bolted together), it had four turbochargers, ten radiators and it generated a near-mythical 1001 horsepower. The top speed of the original incarnation of the Veyron was a reported 246 mph. With the pedal to the metal, a full petrol tank would empty in a little over ten minutes.

But despite the success of the technical exercise, the Veyron was a financial disaster. The intricate design, extensive R&D, bespoke materials, and the limited production run drove costs to staggering heights. Some sources suggest owners Volkswagen lost around £5 million on every car sold. However its legacy as an engineering marvel and one of the best looking supercars of all time will endure.

Ferrari F40

Ferrari F40 (Credit: Martyn Lucy via Getty Images)

One of the greatest of all 1980s Ferraris, the F40 was built to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the marque, and was the last car personally approved by Enzo Ferrari himself. The Pininfarina-designed 2.9-litre, twin-turbocharged 478 hp V8 was one of the first production cars to hit 200 mph. When it was launched in 1987, it was the most powerful, fastest and most expensive production car ever built.

Alongside the classic white Lambirghini Countach, the F40 was the bedroom poster of choice for many 80s dreamers. If the job of the world’s most famous supercars is to make you stop in your tracks and stare goggle-eyed, the Ferrari F40 hits the brief perfectly.

McLaren F1

1995 McLaren F1 Road Car (Credit: Heritage Images via Getty Images)

Launched in 1992, the naturally-aspirated 6.1-litre, 618 hp V12 masterpiece was not only one of the very best looking supercars of all time, it was so astonishingly good it was hailed as ‘the greatest automobile ever created’. Designed by Gordon Murray, Peter Stevens and legendary BMW M engineer Paul Rosche, the F1 pushed the boundaries of technological innovation as far as they could possibly go.

The central driving position and carbon fibre monocoque chassis were felt by many to be a work of genius. In 1998, a prototype with a modified rev limiter set the record for the world’s fastest production car at an eye-watering 240.1 mph (386.4 km/h). It is without fear of contradiction one of the most iconic cars of all time.

Runners and Riders

Ford GT40 (Credit: Michael Cole/Corbis via Getty Images)

But what of the other famous supercars that can rightly claim a place on our starting grid?

There’s no room for them all so we tip our hats to the Ford GT40, Lamborghini Countach, Porsche 959, Ferrari 288 GTO, Audi R8, Maserati MC12, Aston Martin DB9 and the Noble M600.

There are others, and there will be more, and each one is a testament to the unwavering pursuit of automotive perfection.

The Future of Supercars

The new Lamborghini Countach (Credit: Martyn Lucy/Getty Images)

Today, the supercar narrative continues, with manufacturers exploring electric propulsion and autonomous driving capabilities, all while adhering to the legacy set in motion by the Miura over half a century ago.

The fusion of tradition and technological evolution ensures that the story of the best supercars of all time is one that will keep hearts racing and pulses pounding for decades to come.


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