(By Tom Lohnes) – Speed is a glorious thing. With cars nowadays claiming 0-60 times of under 2 seconds, we’re gonna go back in time and discuss the quickest cars 0-60 wise, from the 1950s all the way up to the 2010s
Starting with the 1950s, a decade where almost every family was getting a car and smoking was good for you. The quickest car of the 1950s was the 1958 Ferrari 250GT Europa. Doing 0-60 in 5.9 seconds, the 250GT is no slouch even in today’s numbers. Powered by a 3.0-liter V12 that produced 240 horsepower and 178 lb.-ft of torque, all coming in at a whopping 7,500 RPM. Today, you’d be lucky to find any 250GT under $2,000,000.
Moving to the 60s, performance cars were becoming more and more relevant. The quickest car to 60 miles per in the 60s was the almighty 1967 Shelby 427 Cobra at 4.8 seconds to 60. Powered by a giant 427ci. V8, the Cobra was rated at 425 horsepower, but that was a little conservative. With the little Shelby’s tiny proportions, 4-speed manual, and rear-wheel-drive make the Cobra either very fun to drive or very scary to drive. Your choice.
Transitioning to the 70s, the oil crisis happened so that basically rules every American car out of the mix. The quickest car of the 70’s was the monstrous 1978 Porsche 911 Turbo, nicknamed the 930, the turbocharged air-cooled Porsche rocketed itself to 60 in 4.9 seconds, making it slower than the Cobra, but equally as scary. With the 930’s famous turbo lag and snap oversteer, unpredictability is your best friend in this thing.
In the 80s, America was still re-emerging as a performance powerhouse but they still managed to produce the 1989 Chevy Corvette ZR1, with 405 horsepower, a 6-speed manual, and a properly quick 4.5 second 0-60 time. The mighty ZR1 had Chevy’s equally mighty LT5 engine, and in my opinion, the best Corvette design to date.
Coming up to the 90’s when there was literally a car built called Godzilla, the quickest car was the Porsche 911 Turbo. Once again the Porsche name comes up on top. This time in the 993 generation, Porsche added an AWD system and some more power, which propels the Porsche to 60 in 3.7 seconds. The 993 Turbo is the first car on this list to dip into the 3 second range, and it only gets crazier from here.
Entering the new millennium, the quickest car has changed again, and this time it is the 2008 Ariel Atom V8. Having 500 horsepower and only weighing 1800 pounds, the Little Ariel launched to 60 in 2.3 seconds. That number is still insane to this day, but nothing can top the 2010s.
In 2016, Porsche once again set the record, and it has not been beaten since. The 887 horsepower, AWD 918 Spyder does 0-60 miles an hour in 2.1 seconds. In 2.1 seconds, you can’t even take a deep breath. But, even if you managed to, the 918 will suck it right out again with its mind boggling grip.