As my dad used to say back in the day when we were watching Le-Mans broadcasts, “Fast is fast, son”. And if there’s one universal rule about awesome cars I bet it says “Be as fast as you can”. That’s true: we, the automobile fans, are crazy about speed and are big fans of the Ferraris and Lamborghinis because they can sprint with the Flash himself and even give him a head start. Well, they also feature gorgeous designs, all the latest techy equipment and million-dollar price-tags, but that’s not even my point. Ever since the dawn of the industry every major company has been investing unbelievable stacks of ever-green bucks into all kinds of technology just to make their babies fast – fastER, I mean. What the public wants, the public gets, you know? After all, if not for the customers (that’s you and me), there wouldn’t even be an industry. So, all the greatest engineering minds are spending days and nights trying to crack the code and outrun all the rivals. And despite the fact that we had some speedsters even in the 50s (not to mention the 70s and the 80s) – the Golden Era of Ferraris and all the competing supercars – the last 20 years made a big jump forward (a leap, I’d say) with the latest technological developments and showed us what REAL speed is like. That’s why in this article we’ll be talking about the fastest cars of the past 2 decades – because they’re light years ahead of the previous eras.
Fast? No, Super-Fast! Light-Speed Kind Of Fast
There’s this fun fact about the 21 century: while certain brands were all about getting that zingy speed, the other half was focused on making their models technologically advanced, more fuel-efficient and safe. Where’s the fun part? Well, as it turns out, at the end they all decided to go ballistic and turn their cars into 100% winners. These days a Toyota Camry with a V6 under the heart is not only one of the fastest, most reliable and economical vehicles out there, but it can also beat the mightiest Ferrari sprinter from the 80s. Don’t even get me started with the brand-new EcoBoost Ford Mustang! Some folks were worried that if the middle-class cars got faster the market of supercars would just vanish. But it didn’t – instead they got faster too! The fastest cars of the past 2 decades used to be work of fiction back in the day, but today they are as real as you and me. Progress is a beautiful thing, and when it comes to the auto industry, it’s even more so. Note: in this article I won’t be mentioning race cars, concept cars and one-offs – only production models.
#1 – The 1994 McLaren F1
McLaren, one of Britain’s finest, got everybody super-excited when they introduced the now-legendary F1 in the mid-90s. It was a game-changer, nothing less (nothing more). I gotta mention that before the F1 the title of the fastest car in the world was held by another UK-born-and-raised model – the Jaguar XJ220 that could reach a top speed of 213 miles per hour. However, the McLaren baby easily outran the “friendly” Jag with 231MPH. At its finest peak the F1 was good for jaw-dropping 240MPH, which automatically makes it one of the fastest cars of the past 2 decades. Today, 20-some years after its debut, this supercar looks and feels fresher than ever, especially if you’re a sucker for that sleek design the iconic McLaren is rocking. Even the latest models can’t make the F1 look outdated or outdone. What can I say – a classic stays a classic, no matter what the haters say. 2 decades in the game and we still got fans paying a top dollar for the ’94 model. Gotta love the Brits, man!
The Fastest Cars Of The Past 2 Decades – #2, The 1999 Lamborghini Diablo GT
Lamborghini came through with this diabolic model right when it became a part of the bigger Volkswagen Auto Group and financially strong. I guess they just felt like celebrating and rolled out the Diablo GT just for the heck of it. Still, it was a sexy-looking speedster, capable of a max speed of 215 miles per hour. You could say it picked up where the McLaren F1 left in 1999 – just a year away from the new century. Now, even though the Lambo beauty wasn’t even close to the staggering 240MPH of the F1, it’s safe to say that it showed everybody in the industry that 200+ is just a number, nothing to be afraid of. Under the hood the Diablo GT packed a 6.0-lit V12 that was pumping out 575HP (pretty huge back in the day), adding to the overall attitude of a hustler. As for acceleration, the supercar could (and did) jump from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.6 seconds and did 0-to-100MPH in 8 seconds sharp. Sadly, Lamborghini decided to stop production 2 years later.
#3 – The 2000 Saleen S7
The new century started with Saleen grabbing the title from Lambo’s strong grip with the S7 – a sports car that had mighty performance to go with that impressive design: 220 miles per hour made it the fastest car on the market in 2000 and the first US-built model to try that crown in years. The engineers created a deadly mix of a carbon fiber construction and forward-thinking aerodynamics, along with a 7.0-lit V8, capable of 550 Horsepower. The Saleen S7 was quite the sprinter, too: it could go from nil to 60MPH in 3.3 seconds. America’s pride and joy lasted on the market for 4 years straight, hitting the sack in 2004. In 2005 the company released an updated edition, the Twin Turbo S7. The twin-twin was in production for another 4 years, until 2009. So, the original Saleen S7 was not only one of the fastest cars of the past 2 decades, but it was also a fine product of the United States automobile industry, showing the world that we are very well capable of building lightspeed-fast supercars whenever we feel like it. Read on, folks, and you’ll learn that we’ve got more heat in stores. A LOT MORE heat.
The Fastest Cars Of The Past 2 Decades – #4, The 2002 Ferrari Enzo
Wait, we’re talking about the fastest cars and are discussing a Ferrari model just now? Well, believe it or not, the Italian giant has not yet monopolized the market. In 2000 the company won the F1 Constructors Championship with Michael Schumacher and Reubens Barrichello – legendary racers. As a celebration, Ferrari introduced the Enzo, a Formula One-inspired supercar that was the direct successor of the F50. The new kid on the block came packed with a strong V12, good for 650 Horsepower and a top speed of 217 miles per hour. Production lasted until 2004, and only 399 units were made. By the way, Pharrel Williams, one of the most influential figures in modern-day Hip-Hop, Funk And Soul, owns a Ferrari Enzo and loves to show off on the American streets. Now, even though all of the contestants today boast gorgeous looks and once-in-a-lifetime designs, the Enzo is ahead of the game and nobody can touch Ferrari when it comes to killer designs. So, not only is it one of the fastest cars of the past 2 decades, but it’s also by far the best-looking. In my humble opinion, of course. Hey, 50 Cent owns one too…
#5, 6 & 7 – The 2003 Zonda, The 2004 CCR, The 2005 Veyron
Note: before the CCR barged in and grabbed the title of the fastest car out there, there was the Pagani Zonda that made the Ferraris and the Lambos of this world blush a bit. It was introduced back in ’99 at the Geneva Auto Show and stole, well, the show with the C12-S edition hitting the market in 2003 and beating the Enzo with 200MPH. However, it couldn’t last for long, and a year later Koenigsegg became the new king. With only 14 units made, this supercar is as rare as it gets. And it was cool (and strong) enough to bring back the F1 kind of speed back into the world: with a turbocharged 4.7-lit V8 under the hood, capable of 806HP, the CCR ran from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds, with a top speed of – wait for it – 241MPH. Yep, the Swedish K-segg beat all the majors in the game with the CCR and became the fastest brand in the world. Funny thing is, it was overthrown just as easily (and fast) as it climbed that ladder. In 2005 Buggati introduced the Veyron 16.4 and stole the heat. The French beauty reached a max speed of 254MPH and got the Best Car Driven All Year” award from Top Gear. The engine was an 8.0-lit W16 that was pumping out 987 HP on a daily basis. So, there you go – a bunch of the fastest cars of the past 2 decades in a blitz.
# 8 – The 2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport
Wait, another Bugatti in the list? Yep, you can’t beat statistics and facts, my friends. I have to mention that there were a couple of record-breakers between the two Veyrons, but the French rehabilitated pretty quick and got the title back in the blink of an eye. The Super Sport was released in 2011 and was essentially the good-old Veyron model on steroids. With a max speed of 268 miles per hour it’s no surprise this chaser got back on top. By the way, acceleration was pretty impressive as well: it could go from zero to 60 miles per hour in 2.5 seconds! Hey, did you know that the Dubai Police Department bought the Veyron as the ultimate weapon for fighting street racing and criminals? I’m not really sure whether a ridiculously fast and expensive supercar is what they need to clean out the streets, but I bet the officers are having a blast riding down the blocks behind the wheel of the fastest car in the world! I guess that’s how they’re used to take care of business over there.
The Fastest Cars Of The Past 2 Decades – #9, The 2014 Hennessey Venom GT
The French Flash was on top of the game for 3 short years and was beat by the Venom GT, a 100% American-made car. Yep, Hennessey is a Texas-based company that could achieve a ridiculous max speed of 270 miles per hour, creating the world’s fastest production car to date. Dig this: it takes SIX MONTHS to create a Venom GT, and the manufacturer is planning on building 29 units in total. Now, to be honest, I don’t really think that the Texas boys will hold the record for long, because 2016 is shaping up to be an awesome year for sprinters, as both Bugatti and Koenigsegg are getting ready to take that crown back. Regardless, today the Venom GT is the leader of the fastest cars of the past 2 decades. And that’s it for today!
Check out this video: Fastest Cars Throughout History