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OFracing Reader
12/6/14 5:34 p.m.

Go to a major historic race weekend, what car gets your attention? For me, and I go to a lot, it's a GT40. A 917 in Gulf + Western livery is a close second, and I'm looking at a 1:18 scale model of one on my desk as I write this, but something about the GT40 connects with me. Porsche, Ferrari, Audi, Jaguar (Silk Cut GTP is 3rd choice) all raced to sell their street cars. Ford built the GT40 just to kick Enzo's butt, no holds barred, no expense spared. That has to count for something.

mike h

VClassics Reader
12/6/14 6:20 p.m.

Point taken, except that I think back in the day, Ferrari reluctantly sold street cars to finance their racing efforts. I like the GT40 a lot too.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
12/7/14 7:05 a.m.

Hmm... tough one... and depends on my mood on a given day. In a lot of ways, the GT40 and the Cobra were cobbled race cars: powerful Ford V8's stuffed into an English chassis. Of the Ford cars of that era, only the Daytona was really an American car. If that matters any.

If we go by dominance during a season, the 2014 Mercedes should be mentioned: 16 wins over 19 races (11 by a single driver).

Maybe because in a way my first exposure to "race cars" was watching Speed Racer back in the mid-70s, I've always had an affinity for the 50's "pontoon fender" sports cars many of the cars in the cartoon were patterned after. The Ferrari 250 and Aston Martin DBR for example as as some of the later mid-engine sports racers. The Mach 5 itself is sort of a mix of those two design ideas.

wspohn HalfDork
12/7/14 8:37 a.m.

Pretty ill defined question, the way it is phrased - almost meaningless really.

If I were to guess at what is wanted (like the other guys have had to do) I would also opt for the 917 simply because I can't think of a more revolutionary car popping up. A cheetah among house cats.

As an outside suggestion though, if we look at revolutionary cars that were so out of the box that they were banned because of their effectiveness, don't forget the Chaparral 2J.

And for revolutionary cars that didn't get banned, both the Mercedes W125 and Auto Union Type C (the 1937 season should never be forgotten) are worthy and we shouldn't forget the post war 1950s Mercedes W196 either.

TeamEvil HalfDork
12/7/14 12:58 p.m.

"Pretty ill defined question, the way it is phrased - almost meaningless really."

Not at all. It's a perfectly good word, greatest/great/etc. and very well defined. It DOESN'T mean revolutionary in any way.

"As an outside suggestion though, if we look at revolutionary cars . . . "

If you don't understand the meaning of greatest, start another thread for revolutionary but PLEASE don't drag this one down into the 1937 European racing season.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
12/7/14 10:56 p.m.

In reply to TeamEvil:

I don't know... it depends on one's perspective and what they like. A NASCAR, F-1, NHRA, WRC or LeMans fan could have wildly different opinions about what is the "greatest".

TeamEvil HalfDork
12/8/14 9:59 a.m.

" . . . it depends on one's perspective and what they like."

Oh absolutely, but the word would still apply equally over the spread of cars. The Greatest remains intact, only the subject that it describes changes. As you said, the definition of WHAT is the greatest can vary, but the meaning of greatest never changes.

Like MY Mom is the greatest. Your's is so-so.

Greatest still defines the subject and still has the same meaning. Only the subject changes.

Not the least bit ill defined.

Tom1200 Reader
12/9/14 11:35 p.m.

@TeamEvil The autocross analogy doesn't work because as you mentioned your in a street car and not a proper racing car. In a FF you had all the available adjustments (less the aero) that F1 or Indy drivers had, gearing, compression, rebound, camber caster toe front/rear, spring rates, ride height in a package that a driver/owner/mechanic could manage on thier own. This gave many a top flight driver the chance to learn that set up a car to get the most out of your driving is the key to being fast.

I would have lots of picks; GT40 & 917s are awesome but they were beset with initial issues. I would pick 956/962 for Endurance or the Audi R8. Group B Audi Quatro changed rally forever. Lotus 72 is another when as well as McClaren MP or Williams FW07. There are loads more but I am sticking with Formula Ford regardless of my choice being subjective.

Oh and for the record Karting is the greatest form of Motorsport for the same the reason I initially mentioned for Formula Ford.

ronbros Reader
12/10/14 8:51 a.m.
Spitsix wrote: Audi R series at Le Mans. the best race i ever attended, road america 2007, Porcshe coming onto the straight (screaming at 10,000 rpm), and the audi diesel sailing past them, puttering along almost silent,at 4500rpm. old Shelby said it best,"hp sells cars,torque wins races"
Gary Reader
12/10/14 9:30 a.m.

I've been monitoring this thread since it was posted and been reluctant to participate, not for lack of opinion, just that it's a difficult question without qualifications. (But I'm trying to achieve half-dork status, so I figured I'd post an opinion to jack up my number). To me this is like the professor asking the Poli-Sci 101 students on the first day of class who the best POTUS was. But is that the one with the best social programs? Best fiscal policies? Best military defense? Best international relations? ... etc. So when it comes to the best race car of all time I think it's an impossible question to answer with a single car answer. In the thirties the Silver Arrows dominated. In the fifties Jaguar and Mercedes had revolutionary designs and did extremely well. In the sixties the Cobras, GT40s and derivatives, as well as Ferrari had their share of international victories, although I suspect in the case of the Cobras and GT40s preparation was a big factor, which adds to the complexity of the argument. More recently it was the Audi LeMans cars that dominated. (I don't follow modern F1 so have no idea what's going on there). So my point is that without some qualifications to the question, this just becomes personal preference.

TeamEvil HalfDork
12/10/14 2:21 p.m.

"But I'm trying to achieve half-dork status . . . "

As good of a reason as any ! !

Plus, honestly is just SO refreshing these days. Good for you ! ! ! ! ! !

Need to check my own status in a bit, I might need to up the anti myself.

"There are loads more but I am sticking with Formula Ford regardless of my choice being subjective."

Agree to disagree.

Rupert HalfDork
12/10/14 2:32 p.m.
Agree to disagree.

Great concept! I'll try to remember it myself.

92dxman Dork
12/10/14 3:33 p.m.

This could be a very long internet pissing match (just like greatest guitarist ever).

Gary Reader
12/10/14 3:46 p.m.

But it makes great reading and proves how intelligent (and savvy) we all are! I think David probably had this type of discussion in mind when he started this thread.

genevamotorsports New Reader
12/24/14 8:52 a.m.

The 911 has dominated all forms of road racing and done very well in off-road (Paris-Dakar), rally and hill climbs. All this with minimal modifications compared with other so called "stock" chassis cars. How many others can say that?

Rupert HalfDork
12/24/14 10:49 a.m.

In reply to genevamotorsports:The 911 is a great street car which was raced. However when I think of race cars I think cars built from the ground up to race. Like the Andretti Lotus.

maseratiguy New Reader
12/24/14 10:12 p.m.

The problem I see with picking the 911 is that it isn't one car it is a series of cars. Air cooled, water cooled,934, 935, 996 997 etc. etc. I'm not saying I know the answer, and I'm not sure if there is one.

850Combat Reader
3/9/15 4:38 p.m.

Lotus 78 was the first F1 car designed for aerodynamic down force generated from the body itself rather than with wings. That technology was very successful, and has stuck with us ever since.

markwemple HalfDork
3/9/15 10:48 p.m.

Audi R8. Dominated LeMans like no other car. Easy to drive, extremely reliable, easy to work on and very rugged. Everything you want in a race car.

Rupert Dork
3/10/15 9:37 a.m.

In reply to markwemple: Can't argue with your thoughts on the R-8. For one thing they sure taught us all how to build a car with huge quick change assemblies!

Next question, is LeMans the ultimate race format? There are a ton of different series formats out there! And each has their own claim of being the ultimate format. And their own fiercely loyal fans.

I'm more inclined to believe the ultimate race car should be one that is competitive in more than one format. Not a purpose built single ocean, shark.

Jay_W Dork
3/10/15 10:04 a.m.

Ford GT. Pure form follows function and won again and again and again until they changed the rules, and lawzie, what a noise. Quattro. It changed everything. 917, totally dominated. Bugatti type 35 welcomed in the modern world. Chapparal, cuz engineering is everything. The prewar Auto Unions just cuz omgwtfbbq. My Mazda, cuz well it is in my garage.... I don't think there is a greatest race car. Greatest for their time, greatest in the hands if a particular driver, greatest in a series, maybe, but there are just too many with too much variation to call any one out and how berkleying cool is that?

850Combat Reader
3/10/15 1:21 p.m.

Same as the M3

maseratiguy wrote: The problem I see with picking the 911 is that it isn't one car it is a series of cars. Air cooled, water cooled,934, 935, 996 997 etc. etc. I'm not saying I know the answer, and I'm not sure if there is one.
maseratiguy Reader
3/10/15 4:39 p.m.

No one mentioned the Maserati's, 250F, 300S and who can forget the Birdcage? (not that I think they're the greatest of all time, but...)

92dxman Dork
3/11/15 2:28 p.m.

I might go out on a limb and say the Group B Quattro Cars. They changed everything with awd.

Rupert Dork
3/11/15 6:27 p.m.
92dxman wrote: I might go out on a limb and say the Group B Quattro Cars. They changed everything with awd.

Everything in what? Most of the big recognized race series today, which I am aware of, don't have or even allow AWD.

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