Fastest Sports Cars: Some of the Quickest in History by Decade

Vehicles like the Nissan Z Performance and Toyota GR Supra add a little spice to life where a more mundane vehicle might fail to thrill. Although the popularity of the modern sports car like the BMW Z4 has given way to more practical commuters, you still have options from nearly every decade. Here are a couple of the finest, fastest sports cars in history by decade, like the venerable 1970s Porsche 911 Turbo. 

The 1950s made some sports car gems like the Ferrari 250GT Europa

Ferrari’s 250GT Europa marries all of the finest qualities that enthusiasts enjoy in classic performers. It showcases sweeping lines, the immortal prancing horse badge, and deliciously classic spoked wheels. Better yet, Car and Driver says this beautiful Ferrari could blast to sixty in just 5.9 seconds. Of course, no 1950s list is complete without mentioning the 141-mph Aston Martin DB4.

A Ferrari 250GT at a specialty show
Ferrari 250GT | Martyn Lucy, Getty Images

If you want one of the wildest sports cars from the 1960s, one name reigns supreme: Shelby

Carroll Shelby left his impact on the motoring world in more than a few ways. However, one of the most iconic had to be his 427 Cobra, a roadster concealing a leviathan Ford V8. According to Road & Track, his two “Super Snake” dual-supercharged versions packed around 800 horsepower. 

The 1978 Porsche 911 Turbo was a rocket with a familiar face

The 1978 Porsche 911 Turbo took the 911’s sports car performance credentials and ran with them. Car and Driver called the 911 Turbo “a full-throttle fiend” in 1978, and it’s difficult to disagree. Frankly, with one of the most recognizable and collectible shapes in modern automotive history, it’s hard not to want one. If it’s not desirable enough on aesthetics alone, the 1978 Porsche 911 Turbo could hit 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds. 

The Porsche 911 Turbo is one of the fastest sports cars of the decade.
Porsche 911 Turbo | National Motor Museum, Heritage Images, Getty Images

How fast is the 1989 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1?

The 1989 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 was a quantum leap for the C4 generation plastic fantastic. Still, fantastic doesn’t quite cover it. The Corvette ZR-1 could blast to sixty in just 4.5 seconds, making it a Ferrari-fighting, Porsche 911 Turbo-trouncing weapon of a sports car. 

The Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 is one of the fastest sports cars from the decade.
Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 | National Motor Museum, Heritage Images, Getty Images

Is the 1994 Porsche 911 Turbo one of the fastest sports cars of the 1990s?

Yet again, the venerable Porsche 911 Turbo makes the list. This time the 1994 Porsche 911 Turbo could smash a 60 mph sprint in just 4.0 seconds with its 355 horsepower. However, the succeeding 911s evolved into top-tier performance vehicles, leaving some of the sports car credentials behind. 

The fastest sports cars of the new millennium are even quicker

The sports cars of the 2000s, 2010s, and now 2020s sometimes blur the lines between daily driver credentials and world-class supercars. An argument can be made that the later model 911 Turbos, Dodge Vipers, and latest Corvettes have crossed that line. However, the C6 Corvette Z06 could sprint to 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds with the most simple of formulas: big engine, stout manual transmission, and cheap plastics. Beyond those figures, many modern examples like the Toyota GR Supra 3.0 can sprint to sixty in less than 4.0 seconds without sacrificing practicality. 

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