Freedom, the ability to express yourself unreservedly, an attention-seeking complex on a truly epic scale and a blatant disregard for practicality and common sense. I love supercars and everything that they stand for. Sadly, they may soon become a dying breed; extinct in a world that only accommodates the hybrid eco-car. Just to be clear, this is not going to be me bashing eco cars. Instead it is going to be me explaining why the world needs the supercar.
As I hinted in my introduction, the supercar represents the desire to unleash our inner self. They are what, if we had the chance to design a car as a six year old, we would all be driving. Nice as your Ford Mondeo is, it doesn't really grab you by the nuts and throw you head first into the nearest tree/rock/immovable object at warp-speed, does it? It doesn't breath fire. It doesn't have a three-figure top speed that begins with a 2 and a single-figure mpg. It doesn't have wings akin to an aircraft. It doesn't have an orange interior. It doesn't have scissor-doors and it can get over speed bumps. It will start every time, when you want it to and it won't try to kill you. You can take your four kids to school in your Mondeo while carrying a dead body in the boot, and a canoe on the roof. It is comfortable and usable and it fits into your life. A supercar is the very antithesis of this, so why on God's green Earth would you want one?
The difference is this. A normal car, by which I mean your average family saloon, fits into your life. It is a tool there to help you. And this is good. But with a supercar, you don't buy it because it will in any way help you. It will invariably cost you untold misery when you try to park it. You will be abused for owning it. People will mock the size of your manhood. It will cost you a fortune to own and if you get even the tinniest of stone chips, you will cry. But you won't care. You have bought your supercar because you love it so much that you are willing to alter your life around it. You love it for being day-glow green. You love the fact that the noise it makes is anti-social. You love watching people as you drive past and see their jaw drop onto the pavement. You even like the abuse you get from those who say it is unnecessary and the fact that it just might decide to kill you if it feels so inclined. You will plan your route so that it doesn't get stuck down any tight roads or any size zero multi-story car parks. You will sell your soul to the Devil himself just to have it. And it will be worth it.
Cars can be likened to music. A Rolls Royce or a Bentley might be represented by a classical masterpiece. They are refined, epic and sublime. The 4x4 would be gangsta rap, for obvious reasons while the Mondeo could be represented by Coldplay. Lots of people like Coldplay and they sell lots of albums and tickets, but no matter how popular they are, they are nobody's favourite band. And the supercar? The supercar is punk. Loud, brash and unadulterated. It says and does what it wants without consideration of the consequences. It stands out from the crowd and in doing so, attracts appreciation and disdain.
Supercars often exist due to the 'why not?' factor. In Great Britain, the fastest we can ever drive our cars is seventy miles per hour. Car manufacturers could save themselves a fortune if they built only slow cars, but some think "why not build one that'll crack 220?" And why not indeed? A necessary aspect of human progression is pushing the envelope in ambition and technological brilliance. If we just made do, we'd never know what was truely capable of the human species. Imagine if cave man Steve never looked out from his cave and wondered what was just on the other side of the river? We'd all be chasing a woolly mammoth around like our lives depended on it. And it would. Take Concorde. Was it necessary? No. It went way, way over budget and has at present sadly failed to see an increase in supersonic travel. But it was just spectacular, and given how recent the aircraft is as an invention, it was an epic step forward. Technically, it was nigh on impossible to achieve at the time, and it must have seemed like an absurd idea when it was first suggested. But as a technical showpiece of what mankind is capable of, there can be few better examples.
I see absolutely nothing wrong with building exotic supercars just for the hell of it. In fact, I firmly believe that cars could be faster. The McLaren F1 is some twenty years old, and up until the Bugatti Veyron, remained the fastest ever production car. I can't help but feel that many supercar manufacturers haven't quite pushed their machines as far as they can go. So many of them top out at the double ton. This is by no means slow. It's really very fast. But as Bugatti proved, 250 miles per hour is possible. I would just like to see more advances and more ambition. I would love to see a production car in my lifetime that could reach 300 miles per hour. And I really do think this is possible. Aside from this however, there are enough restrictions on our lives, and the ownership of a Lamborghini, a Ferrari a Zonda or any other supercar you care to name offers such a release. It makes us stand out as individuals an be noticed. They are just such visceral beasts that appeal to our inner caveman. They bring out the side to us that has been repressed by grey business suits and speed bumps. They make us feel alive and invigorated and offer a firm kick in the trousers to Coldplay.