1 2 3 4
Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
2/16/21 6:57 a.m.
Radardgo98 said:

 No convertible is a sports car. They're for people that like to use clay bars, and not drive...

No convertible is a sports car? Are you kidding me? Look at all these non-sports cars racing in what used to be a typical SCCA (that's SPORTS CAR Club of America) event:

It's obvious that none of these people like to drive... frown

That's like saying a pickup truck isn't a pickup truck because the commonly held definition doesn't apply to you.

Words have meanings. It's how we are able to communicate at all. You know what a banana or window is because we all know the meaning. Sports cars have been defined at least since the MG TC arrived on our shores (if not earlier, going back to the Stutz Bearcat).That it's not fast enough for you or rigid enough for you, or reliable enough for you DOESN'T berkeleyING MATTER! As has been mentioned, RWD vs FWD really doesn't matter, either, ever since the Mini Cooper arrived on the scene (or even the Miller Indy cars...). GT cars also exist for those that remember when GT cars were simply sports car with a roof. It's why Porsches and Ferraris with fixed roofs were in the GT classes and had/have GT right in the name. Manufacturers that made their names in sports car racing know the difference even if latecomer mass market manufacturers don't (looking at you Hyundai Elantra GT).

Traditional sports cars haven't stopped being sports cars just because they aren't fast enough or you dislike working on them... Yes, the lines blur these days, with GTs and Sports Cars and Sport Sedans and Sport Coupes. Hell, even my MINI Cooper JCW Roadster (a misnomer in itself, roadsters don't have roll up side windows) falls into the modern sports car category:

350z247
350z247 Reader
2/16/21 7:22 a.m.

In reply to Chris_V :

What I think he means is no convertible version of a car designed as a coupe. The AC Cobra was never designed with a fixed top roof for rigidity; it was always topless. The same goes for many early sports cars. However, mostly cloudy and I would be much less inclined to include a convertible 350Z, Corvette, or 911s. The added weight and lost rigidity don't really scream sports car.

Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
2/16/21 8:02 a.m.
350z247 said:

In reply to Chris_V :

What I think he means is no convertible version of a car designed as a coupe. The AC Cobra was never designed with a fixed top roof for rigidity; it was always topless. The same goes for many early sports cars. However, mostly cloudy and I would be much less inclined to include a convertible 350Z, Corvette, or 911s. The added weight and lost rigidity don't really scream sports car.

So the added weight of the Corvette or 350Z coupe vs a Miata or MGB doesn't render the car not a sports car, but the convertible versions of those can't be a sports car because there is a SLIGHT weight penalty? Give me a break.

He specifically said a convertible cannot be a sports car. Miatas are definitely convertibles and definitely sports cars (and Sports Car Magazine called it the "quintessential sports car" when it came out). So is an S2000. (So is the original S500/S600/S800 of the '60s, even though there was a coupe version of them, too). Sports cars have been traditionally convertibles, and fixed roof versions have traditionally been GTs. An example:

Like I said, the lines blur in modern times, often because raw ability is so much greater for many cars. But to say that convertibles cannot be sports cars is simply untrue. Not all convertibles are sports cars, of course (thinking of full size and intermediate convertibles of the '50s and '60s mostly), but most sports cars over the decades have, in fact, been convertibles.

350z247
350z247 Reader
2/16/21 8:32 a.m.

In reply to Chris_V :

The 350Z and Corvettes are designed from the ground up to be a coupe. They also have the power and suspension to handle their weight. When you chop the roof off then add 200 pounds of braces/folding top, it's far more than a slight penalty. If the car is designed from day one as a convertible, it's different. The 350Z roadster is a dog; the S2000 is a modern classic.

The people who make the conscious decision to buy the convertible version of a coupe are usually more "cars and coffee" than "track day". That was his point.

Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
2/16/21 8:52 a.m.
350z247 said:

In reply to Chris_V :

The 350Z and Corvettes are designed from the ground up to be a coupe. They also have the power and suspension to handle their weight. When you chop the roof off then add 200 pounds of braces/folding top, it's far more than a slight penalty. If the car is designed from day one as a convertible, it's different. The 350Z roadster is a dog; the S2000 is a modern classic.

The people who make the conscious decision to buy the convertible version of a coupe are usually more "cars and coffee" than "track day". That was his point.

I'm one of those that tend to buy the convertible version of a car if it's available, I've had many. The Mustang GT, my MINI Cooper, my Daytona Spyder replica, and many, many more. And I think even your characterization of my motives is bullE36 M3. And yes, 200 lbs vs the same model say, 350z coupe is slight compared to the 1000 lbs the coupe has over a Miata or MGB.

 

Listen. As I said, words have meaning. We agree to the definitions of words in order to communicate, even with technical terms, like, say, roll center. If word definitions were just opinions, I could say to you "may I mambo dog face to the banana patch?" And since the definitions are my own opinion, you wouldn't know I just asked you "would you please get me a beer?" Even here on this board we have shared definitions for words, knowing exactly what someone means when they say "berkeley off."

350z247
350z247 Reader
2/16/21 9:01 a.m.

In reply to Chris_V :

Someone's a little touchy this morning...

Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
2/16/21 10:05 a.m.

Yeah, I'm tired of people thinking opinions of definitions are more important that actual definitions. This subject has been hashed to death and people still come in and say that the definitions are subject to opinion just because cars have gotten better now. And someone always comes in with some off the wall opinion as though it's somehow factual, and often diametrically opposed to the traditional definition. As for what I responded to originally, I'll repeat it: "Like I said, the lines blur in modern times, often because raw ability is so much greater for many cars. But to say that convertibles cannot be sports cars is simply untrue. Not all convertibles are sports cars, of course (thinking of full size and intermediate convertibles of the '50s and '60s mostly), but most sports cars over the decades have, in fact, been convertibles."

Many were unreliable, many were fairly slow, many were a bear to work on, and many (even those that were designed from the ground up as convertibles/roadsters) were floppy noodles. BUT... they were still sports cars. And will always be sports cars even if modern ones are better in every way.

 

 

350z247
350z247 Reader
2/16/21 10:22 a.m.

In reply to Chris_V :

Yet you include your convertible MCS in the category? I have an R53 MCS as a winter car, and though fun, it's not a sports car to me. Sports car isn't some iron clad word; it's a colloquialism used for mainly marketing. If you want to call something a sports car, be my guest, but someone else's definition can be different from yours no matter how much it makes you want to use fake swear words on a message board.

APEowner
APEowner Dork
2/16/21 10:33 a.m.
Chris_V said:

Yeah, I'm tired of people thinking opinions of definitions are more important that actual definitions. This subject has been hashed to death and people still come in and say that the definitions are subject to opinion just because cars have gotten better now. And someone always comes in with some off the wall opinion as though it's somehow factual, and often diametrically opposed to the traditional definition. As for what I responded to originally, I'll repeat it: "Like I said, the lines blur in modern times, often because raw ability is so much greater for many cars. But to say that convertibles cannot be sports cars is simply untrue. Not all convertibles are sports cars, of course (thinking of full size and intermediate convertibles of the '50s and '60s mostly), but most sports cars over the decades have, in fact, been convertibles."

Many were unreliable, many were fairly slow, many were a bear to work on, and many (even those that were designed from the ground up as convertibles/roadsters) were floppy noodles. BUT... they were still sports cars. And will always be sports cars even if modern ones are better in every way.

 

 

This^ In fact many moderns mini vans are better performers than some vintage sports cars.  That doesn't make the min vans sports cars or the sports cars not, well sports cars.  One could argue that a great sports car has a ridged chassis.  They could even argue that they prefer hot hatches because they tend to be inherently more ridged than convertibles but that doesn't make a hot hatch a sports car.  They could even argue that they prefer minivans because they tend to be inherently more ridged that convertibles and they can haul 4'x8' sheet goods but sitll, a minivan is not a sports car.

Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
2/16/21 11:52 a.m.
350z247 said:

In reply to Chris_V :

Yet you include your convertible MCS in the category?

As a modern sports car, yes, It's a 2 seat convertible with an uprated turbo engine from the S (JCWs had more power than the S). Other than being FWD, it meets the traditional definition exactly.

 

I have an R53 MCS as a winter car, and though fun, it's not a sports car to me.

Again, we come to the "to me" portion of opinion being sacrosanct and knowing what you're talking about not so important. But, yeah, you may be right about the hatchback Mini. The hatch version of the MINI Cooper follows in the footsteps of the original Mini, as being really a FWD sport sedan. Your car is a closed roof, four seater, which is NOT the traditional definition of a sports car. Mine, however is.

Sports car isn't some iron clad word; it's a colloquialism used for mainly marketing. If you want to call something a sports car, be my guest, but someone else's definition can be different from yours no matter how much it makes you want to use fake swear words on a message board.

Again, definitions cannot be subject to personal definition, other wise we cannot communicate. It was never a marketing colloquialism. It was a defined category much like station wagon and pickup truck. Or cabriolet vs roadster. Or landaulet vs sedan. You know what I mean when I say pickup truck because the words. mean. something. And I wasn't cussing you out. I was showing you how a shared definition allows communication between members of a society.

 

Which one is a sports car and which is a pickup truck? GO through the stages of the definitions:

 

We know because of precise definitions. Otherwise both are 2 seat, 2 door, manual transmission, front engine, RWD, performance vehicles (and one even handles better than the other... guess which). Both are body on frame, too. One however, we know as a truck by definition, and one we know as a sports car. And never the twain shall be confused.

 

wspohn
wspohn SuperDork
2/16/21 11:56 a.m.

Interesting debate as to whether  convertible is, or isn't a necessary element of a sports car.

The vast majority of the cars I have owned in my life (80+) have been sports cars, both convertibles and coupes.  The way the debate usually goes is that a car must be a convertible to be called a sports car. I disagree with that and the  example Chris posted of the MGB and MGB GT is a good one.  Both models are equally sports cars and saying otherwise is nonsense and would certainly have surprised the people that built them in the first place.

Every time we get into hard definitions we get into trouble.  I don't know if everyone is aware that the Porsche 911 was categorized as a sedan early on because it had a vestigial jump seat in the rear. Porsche even argued at one point that it was a sedan so they could run in Transam, though it wound up as a sports car as well.. American Motors took advantage of the distinction by removing the rear seats making the AMX a 2 seater only, and were able to get it into B production. alongside the similar Mustang GT 350.

Heck, I am still mentally struggling with why the 911s (in modern versions) are sports cars and the BRZ/Toyota 88 aren't sports cars but the 911 were.   They were no more suited to carrying four people than my Jensen Interceptor is (unless the rear passengers are double amputees, and small ones at that).  But I'm betting that if they ever get around to producing a convertible version (there have been many prototypes made) the argument against them being sports cars would largely disappear.

 

PS - when MG put a fixed roof and roll up windows on my MGA, it was still a sports car!

And to further confuse things, in the pic below, the car on the left (mine) is an MGA convertible with custom body while the one on the right (not mine) is a factory coupe. In my submission, both are sports cars.

Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
2/16/21 12:10 p.m.
wspohn said:

Interesting debate as to whether  convertible is, or isn't a necessary element of a sports car.

The vast majority of the cars I have owned in my life (80+) have been sports cars, both convertibles and coupes.  The way the debate usually goes is that a car must be a convertible to be called a sports car. I disagree with that and the  example Chris posted of the MGB and MGB GT is a good one.  Both models are equally sports cars and saying otherwise is nonsense and would certainly have surprised the people that built them in the first place.

As I said, GTs are basically sports cars with roofs, and tradition sports car manufacturers know this, which is why they use GT in the names. Ferrari 250 GTO (Ferrari was such a purist that even if the convertible version had back seats it was a GT),  911 GT2 and GT3, MGB GT. Spitfire GT6, etc. But here's the deal, calling a car a GT is not an insult and most were faster than their pure sports car sisters due to better aerodynamics. But it IS different than a sports car, the same way a sports car is different than a sports sedan, like the Lancia Fulvia and BMW M5.

 

BTW, the Jamaican is a beautiful car and you did a wonderful job on it. But even Fiberfab called it a GT:

350z247
350z247 Reader
2/16/21 12:32 p.m.

In reply to Chris_V :

Definitions adapt and change with time which is clearly something you are unable to do. The rules and regulations used to class cars 50 or 60 years ago are not relevant when comparing cars from 20-30 years ago or cars today. A 911 is most definitely a sports car despite having 4 seats; and you JCW is not a sports car just because it only has 2. You can write novels about how classic cars are categorized, but that's not the point I'm contending. I'm not trying to strip past cars of their titles, but I am arguing that the word does not have to have the same exact definition for everyone. Feel free to keeping living in the past with your outdated definition, but there's a reason Merriam-Webester releases new editions of the dictionary: new words and changing definitions.

My 350Z, S550 GT350, and Boxster GTS are all sports cars TO ME. My M5, MCS, and wife's X5M are not. That's all that matters. You opinion (which is in fact not dogma) does not change mine.

Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
2/16/21 1:12 p.m.
350z247 said:

In reply to Chris_V :

Definitions adapt and change with time which is clearly something you are unable to do. The rules and regulations used to class cars 50 or 60 years ago are not relevant when comparing cars from 20-30 years ago or cars today.

That would be fine if those cars didn't exist anymore. But they do. And modern ones have simply gotten more capable. But they are the same class of cars as always. You want to start calling them pickup trucks because you want the language to evolve? Fine, But don't be surprised when your opinion of definitions leads you to not being able to have communication. Again, May I mambo dogface to the banana patch? I think language should evolve so that that statement means, Would you drive me to the store. Would that "opinion" fly? I don't think so. Sedans are still sedans, station wagons are still station wagons (the ones that remain, that is) and pickup trucks are still pickup trucks, Just because the ones that are from the era when those definitions were created are not as capable as modern ones doesn't change the definition.

Just because a modern Ram Cummins dually can tow vastly more than a '50 Ford F1 doesn't make the new one the only one that is a pickup, or the old one not a pickup anymore. The definition of both is the same, which is why we know what they are and can communicate. Same with sports cars. The new ones are more capable, but the old ones are still relevant and provide the definition.

 

"To ME." Yeah you're stuck on opinion being more important than knowing what the hell you're talking about. Change all the definitions of the car world and see how well you get along. What's bump steer mean? Is it when you nudge the steering wheel sideways with your palm and the car changes direction? Could be, as both the words can mean that. But no. We have an agreed definition and can communicate. There is no berkeleying "to me" about it.

350z247
350z247 Reader
2/16/21 1:29 p.m.

In reply to Chris_V :

You keep arguing with yourself. I am not trying to completely re-write the entire car dictionary; I'm conforming with the modern definition of a word which now includes more cars as the industry changes. I'm not trying to say that an MG or a Spitfire aren't sport cars anymore; they are. However, a 911 is not a sedan because it has 4 seats. A GT-R isn't excluded just because it has AWD. A Corvette isn't a grand tourer just because it has a roof. A hot hatch isn't a sports car just because it's quick and nimble. A McLaren 570S isn't excluded just because it has a DCT.

Sports car: good handling, exciting engine, fast transmission, excellent brakes, RWD/AWD, relatively light, and two doors. That's really it. DCTs and modern autos are included now. Small back seats are included now. Roofs are included now. AWD is included now. EV power trains are included now. Due to safety and luxury, heavier cars can be included now. R35 GTR, Mark V Supra, S550 GT350, Alfa 4C, Tesla Roadster, 991.1 911 GT3...all sports cars. You clearly don't like it, and honestly, I'm starting to enjoy that.

MrFancypants
MrFancypants Reader
2/16/21 3:50 p.m.

In reply to Chris_V :

Definitions of words and phrases in the English language are based on popular use. If enough people say "to me" and they're all aligned, then that's the definition. If we want to be super duper pedantic here we'd simply consult a dictionary, but then you'd have to choose one dictionary over another as different dictionaries tend to offer slight differences. Having checked two, one requires "high power" and the other focuses on handling. Both say "usually two seats" and neither say anything about fixed roof or not, drivetrain location, or driven wheels.

So really, there's always going to be a strong "to me" element to these conversations because there is no singularly accepted, precise definition of what a "sports car" is.

MrFancypants
MrFancypants Reader
2/16/21 3:55 p.m.

Also, we enthusiasts are not the ones who get to set these definitions. So when your Aunt Gertrude shows up to Thanksgiving in her yellow four cylinder slushbox convertible Mustang, calls it a sports car, and the rest of your family agrees, then it's a sports car even if that thought offends your enthusiast sensibilities.

Alfaromeoguy
Alfaromeoguy HalfDork
2/26/21 9:35 p.m.

2580 lbs for a spider???????? what year??? my 1984 spider weighs in  ' wet ; at 2361 pounds.. lighter now.. s2 fiberglass hood and boot lid.. took about 60 pounds off the car

sir_mike
sir_mike New Reader
6/9/21 10:09 a.m.

Whatever makes you happy.Be it a tin top...like me...or a conv.or kit car.

youcanrunnaked
youcanrunnaked New Reader
6/9/21 6:10 p.m.

In reply to 350z247 :

I'm with the author... and Chris_V.  GT's are GT's; mucle cars are muscle cars; hot hatches are hot hatches; etc.  None of them are sports cars.  "Sporty?"  Yes.  "Sports car?"  No.  They each have their own category and accurate definitions, so why pollute the meaning of "sports car" by trying to shoehorn them into an additional category -- one in which they do not fit?  Because it's popular?  Ha!  Once that happens, confusion and misunderstanding is bound to follow...not to mention, contempt.  Democracy in definitions leads to absurdities such as  the word "literally" now meaning "figuratively." No, it doesn't.  As someone who has an affinity for the English language, if I hear someone using the word "literally" when they mean figuratively, even if I can get the meaning with context clues, the value of whatever they are communicating, and my interest in it, drops.  A Mustang owner is of course free to refer to their car as a "sports car"... and mark themselves as an automotive ignoramus.

350z247
350z247 Reader
6/9/21 9:15 p.m.

In reply to youcanrunnaked :

Whatever makes you feel better. I honestly don't care.

Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
6/10/21 6:54 a.m.
350z247 said:

In reply to youcanrunnaked :

Whatever makes you feel better. I honestly don't care.

Sure you care. You want your opinion to be fact, which is why you posted so many times. And every time you avoided the examples and apparently my exact words. Maybe because you don't seem to understand "definitions" as a word, itself. Remember, I was originally responding to someone who said "convertibles can't be sports cars." Which is utter horseE36 M3e. But now YOU are saying GT cars can't be GT cars because you want them to be sports cars, too. How about that 300 hp minivan? You want that to be a sports car too? I mean, it's faster than an MGB or Miata...

350z247
350z247 Reader
6/10/21 7:19 a.m.

That was 4 months ago. Get over it. A Miata, GT350R, and GT3 are all sports cars to me. Your thoughts on the matter don't change mine. That's all there is to it. I'm done arguing about something that doesn't matter with a stranger on the internet. It. Does. Not. Matter.

wspohn
wspohn SuperDork
6/10/21 9:50 a.m.
350z247 said:

 A Miata, GT350R, and GT3 are all sports cars to me. 

I tend to agree with you but would ask about the situation where the GT350R has a rear seat - does that change this.  They were initially a 2 seat car but Ford made available a rear seat later on, so.....

Personally I don't get too fussed about hard top vs. soft top (I haven't heard anyone say that my Solstice coupe can't be a sports car because it has a fixed top).  And I used to race an early TVR which only came with a hard roof (well, flexible fiberglass, anyway) and no one ever said it wasn't a real sports car because of that.

youcanrunnaked
youcanrunnaked New Reader
6/10/21 12:48 p.m.

In reply to 350z247 :   Why it matters:

What's the harm in calling a Mustang a sports car? Why, Sir, the evidence is all around you. True sports cars are almost gone from showrooms nowadays, simply because we've used the phrase and its attendant social baggage so carelessly. If everything is a sports car, then nothing is a sports car. If people who are not self-taught car experts decide in middle age or retirement that they've finally earned the right to have a "sports car," and that search leads them to an Audi SQ5 or Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro because nobody is willing to draw that line in the sand between things that are sports cars and things that are not, then why would any automaker bother to build a sports car? 

https://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/a28225/sports-car-definition/

1 2 3 4
Our Preferred Partners
S334ONxS55grLfzxNOmdhnxhos0GqwyHs9x7jn0w1hjXC4nz8sF2ySpZh9wIQqS9