Within the 21st century, there have been incredible technological advances in the automotive industry in regards to luxury, comfort, and most importantly, safety. Among all of the innovations and improvements made to the standard automobile over recent years, one innovation that has car-lovers drooling is the creation of the supercar. The supercar has created a fantasy world in the field of automotives due to their astonishing speeds, extreme price tags, and aesthetically pleasing exteriors, to name a few characteristics. “A supercar is a car that’s singularly focused on performance with little regard toward other factors like accommodation or cost, it doesn’t need to be manufactured by an exotic automaker, but it usually is. It similarly doesn’t need to be a two-door coupe or convertible, but it tends to be.” (Noah Joseph, 2014) The existence of the supercar is futuristic in a sense and suggests a dreamlike experience for those lucky enough to take part in. Despite the many applauses that supercars have received, there have also been quite a few critiques regarding their purpose and impact on todays society. As the production of cars took off after Ford’s groundbreaking invention, the Model T, car manufacturers began to explore innovations beyond the average car. Nearly sixty years after the introduction of the first car, the supercar was coined and was used to describe a new type of automobile that was way above average and suggested a supernatural aesthetic and experience when operated.
The first true supercar was arguably the Lamborghini Muira in 1966 and was given this title because it was the first car to feature a mid mounted engine, which gave the car a very unique look. The Muira was able to travel up to 170 mph at top speed and rose to popularity by other car enthusiasts and manufacturers very quickly. Supercars have incredibly high levels of performance because they contain the most up to date technological advancements and usually are limited in quantity. Supercars survive in the market because people find them extremely fascinating for many reasons. Their exclusivity, performance, technological advancements, execution, cost and branding are all characteristics that make the supercar different from any other product in the market and therefore dreamt of by many.
In very affluent areas, supercars impact societal structures much more than those in less affluent areas because the lifestyles of people that can afford a supercar makes other people feel extremely poor in comparison. Society is split and people who are well-off, seem like they cannot participate in the lavish lifestyles of the mega-rich who can travel around in supercars that were handled and designed like a piece of artwork. In regards to the environment, supercars do not have a great relationship with the natural environment. The way they run and the process of production have a relatively heavy impact on the natural world. People primarily desire aesthetic and performance in a car more than anything and do not care about the process and impacts of creating such elaborate vehicles. The impacts and the natural resource use are tremendous, and people do not even know it. Thankfully, there has been a trend in recent years for supercars to start prioritizing the environmental impacts. The more people know about the impact supercar production has, the more people will demand a less impactful supercar. Supercars have essentially created another dimension to the car culture and the universe in general because their abilities are almost dream-like. The speeds, capabilities, and appearances are all characteristics that contribute to this highly valued product and the indescribable feeling that supercars provide people are the reason they are able to survive in today’s market despite their exclusivity.
Anna Stern (University of Vermont)
Bio: Anna Stern is a senior at the University of Vermont pursuing a degree in Environmental Studies from the Rubenstein School. She currently is interested in transportation for she has a strong interest and background in environmental sustainability in the context of the Burlington International Airport as their intern as well as transportation-related classes offered at the university.
Rob Williams (University of Vermont)