A sports car is an automobile built with great handling in mind, since its purpose is to provide high performance for thrill-seekers. First appeared in Europe in the early 1900s, sports cars are now considered an important part of product lineups by various automakers around the globe.
Sports cars are often defined by the way they are shaped and designed, which is for optimal dynamic performance. There’s no exact least requirements for an automobile to be called sports car. In this case, there’s no different classification between a Ferrari 488 Pista and Triumph Spitfire. Both can be regarded as sports cars even though they’re way different in terms of actual performance.
In a broader context, the sport car term includes cars that prioritize performance over payload capacity, or cars that put first the thrill of driving, or are billed to offer the excitement of velocity and the fascination of the track. But there’s also a more specific definition that requires the car to have a two-seating or a 2+2 seating configuration. In other words, according to this definition, a sports car should have only two seats.
The term sports car first appeared in The Times newspaper released in the U.K. in 1919. As for the U.S., the term was first used in the country in 1928. The popularity of sports cars began to grow during the 1920s. Classically, the sports car term was used to describe two-seat roadsters which has no fixed roof. But as the 1970s dawned, the use of the term has expanded for cars featuring a fixed roof (such cars were previously called grand tourers).
Today, it’s considered somewhat out of place to attribute the ‘sports car’ label to any exact car model. That’s because the term has covered a very broad and quite indistinct definition. Aficionados often have their own ideas to define a sports car. Furthermore, insurance companies have also tried to use numerical formula to classify sports cars.
So the border between sports cars and other kinds of fast cars are pretty much vague. And there are other performance categories such as grand tourers and muscle cars, some of which can fall into several classifications at the same time.