From derby cars to Formula One to NASCAR and beyond, car mechanics have been able to craft some impressive vehicles. And, when it comes to high-performance vehicles, we’re big fans of anything that can fly high or drive fast. As such, we thought we’d have a little fun by taking a look at the top 10 race cars of all time — let’s get started!
1) Lancia Stratos HF
This striking rally and sports racing car, from Italian manufacturer, is known for a long string of successes throughout a career in the 1970s and 80s. It was crowned the winner of the World Rally Championship over three consecutive years, Tour de France five times, Giro d’Italia Automobilistico three times, as well as a number of individual titles like the Targa Florio in 1974. It’s almost 2,500-cc V6 engine pushed out 190hp and reached top speeds of 144 mph.
2) Ferrari 125 S
Before Ferrari became one of the top race car brands in the world, they introduced their first car, the 125 S. While only two of them were manufactured, one did manage to nab a victory for the company at the Rome’s Grand Prix in 1947. Since it was the first to bear Enzo Ferrari’s last name, it’s become one of the most popular race cars of all time. Learn more at our post: Top 10 Ferraris of All Time.
3) McLaren MP4/4
McLaren is an iconic name in Formula One, the second-most winningest team in the sport’s history (after Ferrari), and a lot of it is thanks to the MP4/4. As statistically the most successful car design in the F1 division, much of its power came from its Honda RA168E turbo engine, pushing it on to win every race but one in the entire season of ‘88. The only other car to come close to its record-holding winning percentage of almost 94 percent was the Mercedes F1 W07 Hybrid in 2016.
4) Ford GT40
Although American-made cars often seem lackluster compared to their foreign counterparts, the Ford GT40 became the quintessential high-performance endurance racing car. Built specifically to compete with Ferrari, winner of five consecutive 24 Hours of Le Mans starting in 1960, the GT40 was the car to interrupt the streak, going on to win four consecutive times from 1966-1969.
5) Porsche 917
Speaking of 24 Hours of Le Mans, the first race car to capture the famous race’s cup in 1953 was the Porsche 917. And, it’s famous outside of the racetrack, too — as Steve McQueen’s adversary in the movie Le Mans. This car was built with a Type 912 flat-12 engine, capable of achieving 0-60 in under 2.3 seconds, while the lanheck version recorded a top speed of 225 mph. Learn more at our post: Top 10 Porsches of All Time
6) Dodge Charger Daytona
NASCAR owes a lot of its popularity to the Dodge Charger Daytona, which became an instant classic with its first victory at the inaugural 1969 Talladega 500. A year later during a test run on the same track, it was the first car to pass 200mph on a lap turn. The trademark two-foot tall high wing attached to the tail, shark-like nose and hemi-powered engine was a hit with fans, and the car remains an important part of stock-car racing history.
7) Maserati 250F
For six years, from 1954 to 1960, the Maserati 250F was a dominant force in Formula One racing. Through the course of its existence, the car competed in almost 50 F1 championships, winning eight, as well as several Drivers’ World Championship titles, and numerous non-championship races throughout the world.
8) Chevrolet Camaro SS
Driven by John Force, the most successful drag racer of all time, his Chevy Camaro SS is arguably the fastest in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). The most recent model, known as the ‘Funny Car’ is the first based on the sixth-generation Camaro SS. This car recently achieved speeds of nearly 400mph in the Funny Car division at the NHRA Nationals.
9) Corvette Grand Sport
The Corvette Grand Sport was built from the ground up for one reason–to race. Galloping down the track with 500 horsepower, thanks to a giant 6.2 liter V8 engine, it was designed specifically to compete with the Shelby Cobra. While it’s best days of racing may be behind it, the car was in production as recently as 2017. Learn more at our post: Top 10 Corvettes of All Time
10) Bugatti Type 35
Although it hasn’t raced in 90 years, the Bugatti Type 35 remains one of the most successful race cars of all time. With more than 1,000 victories in the short span of six years, including wins at the Grand Prix World Championship and Targa Florio, it’s obtained legendary status within the international motor sport community.