The Petersen Automotive Museum is constantly updating its offerings, adding wonderfully curated exhibits every few months that cater to a wide range of enthusiasts. While it recently added an off-road-themed display that highlights desert racing and exploration, the museum also built a self-guided, socially-distant tour through the history of some well-known road-going beasts. Supercars: A Century of Spectacle and Speed tells the story of street-legal performance cars. We got to preview the exhibit just before it opened, so you may notice that some displays plaques aren’t yet installed in these photos. Rest assured that they’re in place now.
While each of the 20+ cars in the exhibit was selected by the Petersen for its performance, its style, and its impact on the automotive industry, we couldn’t help but pick 13 of our favorites to highlight. Here they are, in chronological order:
In terms of driving experience, I would take the Testarossa, but I love the looks of old classics and if I was selecting a long term one to drive about, that Duesenberg just wins my heart.
Once again Hagerty's editors have their eyes blindfolded!
I would have chosen the 1964 Studebaker Avanti R-3...
170 MPH + right out of the factory in the fall of 1963!!!
When I read this article headline...
I was hoping De tomaso Pantera made the list...
As one of the first mass produced cars with a mid engine design and at a "affordable" price from the dealership...
In some ways it's the most "pedestrian" of the cars on this list, but none loom larger for me than the GT40. It seems so hard to believe in retrospect that Ford struggled to find buyers for it back then. In most of these cars I'd feel like a poseur -- even as fantastic as they are and how much I love them. But I'd feel like a legend stepping into the GT40.
I think you need to define what a supercar is. Some of these cars are absolutely wonderful, but there's only a few that I would call a supercar. My definition being a ridiculously over-powered, impractical and usually rather unattractive car that looks more at home on the race track than on the street. A definition which now that I think about it, could be simply shortened to " Mc Laren."
Give me the SJ. It's the first car I recall lusting for as a child. The Caddy dealer across from my school had an apple green Murphy SJ roadster in the their showroom, and no-one seemed to mind the times I would stop in to drool over it after school. It was so much taller than me, and just big in an imposing way. Those giant wheels, Chrome exhaust pipes, and mysterious things glinting through the mesh grills on the side of the hood. Nothing I had seen before that looked so fascinating. Suffice to say it made a lasting impression. Shortly after it was sold, I saw the Muira on the cover of Car and Driver, when the Muira first came out. That was my second car lust, but the first is always the best.
the Duesy exudes class, opulence, and pure "gonads". the Delahaye curvy, almost sexy. but..... it has to be the Duesenberg. the first car i can say i lusted after, followed by a hearse. as for the "modern" stuff, meh, any dot com clown could buy one and not appreciate them for what they are. my choice, is of course, dictated by a love of simpler times and technology. you cannot have what we have today without the iterative process of design and materials evolution. oh well, champagne love on a Plymouth budget.
Normally the GT40 would get my vote, but chrome just doesn't belong on a supercar. When i was a teenager the countach was the standard for the modern supercar and it still holds up
The Model J would be the one I'd really like to own, though assuming I'd be driving it I'd never see much over 70. Brakes just weren't up to the power back then! I can't see taking that thing up to it's over 100 mph top speed! Speed isn't everything, presentation is a lot... and the Duesy has that in spades!!
That said, the Gull Wing is probably the most practical of the lot. Roomy and comfortable interior (compared to the other 19th-21st century cars), plenty fast, and great curb appeal.
Of the low slung, cramped (but fast!) cars I'd have to take the GT40. But if one of the Ferraris or the S7 were given to me, I'd be happy...
The Porsche 959. I had a dealer brochure from local dealership as a kid and that was in it. Loved it ever since. #2 would be the gullwing. I've always loved them.
From these examples, for me it’s a tie between the Duesenberg and the Saleen.
Yes, opposite ends of the scale, but this comes from a guy that owns both a ‘31 Model A and an ‘06 Corvette.