2017 Chevrolet C7 Corvette Z06

13 Most Dangerous Sports Cars of All Time

Sports cars are fast, fun, and exciting to drive. They provide thrills that few cars can replicate, and only supercars and hypercars can rival them.

Despite the thrills they provide, some sports cars aren’t so fun. Some are downright dangerous and are ones best avoided. This list contains 13 truly terrifying sports cars that are best left alone, and safer, less troublesome alternatives should be sought.

Pontiac Fiero

1982 Pontiac Fiero GT - front quarter view
Image Credit: Wikicommons.

The Pontiac Fiero looked the part thanks to its radical wedge design, inspired by performance icons such as the Lamborghini Countach and the Lotus Esprit. However, not only was the Fiero’s performance poor, but so was its safety record.

Pontiac was experiencing financial issues during the Fiero’s conception, so it used some leftover parts to build the sports car. But this backfired, creating an unreliable car that was dangerous to everyone who sat inside it. The Fiero was prone to bursting into flames thanks to defective connecting rods, and in 1987, the issues escalated rapidly when the fire count for the 1984 Fieros reached a rate of 20 per month.

RUF CTR Yellowbird

RUF CTR Yellowbird
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

RUF is one of the most famous names in sports car tuning. It made a name for itself in the 1980s by offering highly tuned and modified high-performance versions of the Porsche 911 across several generations. One of its most famous creations is the iconic 1980s CTR Yellowbird.

RUF took a conventional Porsche 911 Carrera and tuned it to have a larger engine and two turbochargers to bump the speed to 213 hp. Yet, thanks to those turbochargers, the CTR experienced turbo lag, making it tricky to handle as the power suddenly kicked in. This could easily catch some drivers out, especially in corners or twisty roads.

Toyota MR2 Spyder

Toyota MR2
Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

It had various names worldwide, but the third-generation Toyota MR2 was the MR2 Spyder in the United States. The MR2 had become popular quickly thanks to its budget-friendly price tag and lightweight handling, as Toyota brought the mid-engined sports car to the masses.

Driving it on the edge, the MR2 Spyder in its second and third generations was a delight for experienced hands. However, to those inexperienced drivers, the MR2 Spyder could become frightening thanks to snap oversteer in corners which could easily see the back end step out without prior warning. You might go into the corner facing forward, but you could quickly come out of it facing backward.

TVR Chimaera

TVR Chimaera
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

TVR built up a reputation for creating spectacular yet bonkers cars, some of which had questionable reliability. The Chimaera was no different, with TVR stating it was a larger and softer take on some of its earlier sports cars. Under the hood, Rover V8 engines provided up to 340 hp from 4.0-5.0-liters.

Softer suspension made the Chimaera a more comfortable ride, and thanks to TVR’s tweaks to the chassis and handling, it felt exceptional in the corners. However, the British sports car could get out of shape quickly, and its relative comfort could lure drivers into going faster and faster.

Porsche 550 Spyder

1955 Porsche 550 Spyder
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

While not inherently dangerous, the Porsche 550 Spyder has had a troubled past. This is thanks to the tragic accident that claimed the life of actor James Dean in 1955 when he was at the wheel of his 550 Spyder on his way to a race meeting. Fellow actor Tom Pittman also died in a 550 Spyder when he crashed it over a cliff in 1958.

The 550 Spyder was, however, an exceptional sports car, with a 1.5-liter Fuhrmann four-cam flat-four cylinder engine under the hood producing 110 hp. The 550 Spyder also became an excellent race car, winning the first-ever race it participated in, the 1953 Nürburgring Eifel Race. The 550 Spyder took 95 overall victories and 75 class wins during its racing career.

Honda RA302

Honda RA302
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The Honda RA302 was an F1 car produced by Honda Racing in the late 1960s. It debuted at the 1968 French Grand Prix, the only race the magnesium-skinned car entered, with French racer Jo Schlesser at the wheel.

Honda had tested the car with works driver and 1964 F1 champion John Surtees, who said it was not ready to race and was a potential deathtrap. However, Honda France helped the car to run at the French Grand Prix, but on lap three, the car slid wide at Six Freres on the Rouen circuit, and the car, full of fuel, burst into flames instantly. Schlesser was tragically killed, and Surtees again rebuffed a second RA302 that Honda hoped he would race.

Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR is the Mercedes sports car that saw the German manufacturer withdraw from motorsport for decades following the disaster at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1955. This was the worst accident in motorsport history, after French driver Pierre Levegh, in his 300 SLR, hit the back of Lance Macklin’s Austin-Healey, who was avoiding Jaguar driver Mike Hawthorn on the pit straight.

The Mercedes launched into the air, and the 300 SLR flew into the spectator area, killing Levegh and 83 spectators. The Mercedes launched its engine through the crowd, and the car eventually burst into flames. As with the Honda RA302, the magnesium body of the 300 SLR aided in the fireball following the accident. After the accident, Mercedes would be out of top-level motorsport for decades.

First-Generation Dodge Viper

1991 Dodge Viper
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The Dodge Viper is one of the most iconic cars in American automotive history. It took the world by storm when it launched in the early 1990s. The Viper quickly earned a name for itself thanks to its raw driving experience and the massive V10 under the hood.

Yet Dodge took that raw experience to new heights, thanks to the lack of driver aids such as ABS and core safety features, including the airbags. The Viper earned the nickname “widowmaker,” and thankfully, Dodge would later add all of the required safety features and driver aids while the Viper V10 ensured it was still one of the most ferocious driving experiences on the planet.

Noble M600

Noble M600
Image Credit: Edvvc/WikiCommons.

Noble is an underrated performance car manufacturer, even if its products are some of the best in the business. The Noble M600 is the finest, with a Volvo XC90 under the hood. That might not sound exciting, But Noble has worked their magic, and the 4.4-liter V8 now produces 650 hp, and the top speed of the M600 is 225 mph.

Noble also emphasizes how their cars handle, and they try to keep the weight down as much as possible. The M600 weighs just 2,760 lbs, but that does mean it can be slightly tail-happy and prone to snapping out of line. Keep a delicate foot on the throttle, and you are in for a good time.

TVR Speed 12

TVR Cerbera Speed 12
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The ferocious TVR Speed 12 may be the world’s most dangerous car, and it’s a title given to the Speed 12 on more than one occasion. TVR created the Speed 12, Project 7/12, to rival the McLaren F1 GTR. A change in FIA GT1 rules saw TVR develop it for the new GT2 class plus produce a road car.

However, the Cerbera Speed 12 development was suddenly cut short after boss Peter Wheeler took it home and concluded the car was too powerful for the road. All prototypes were quickly broken up, and production was soon canceled. But one Cebera 12 escaped, creating the Speed 12 with a 7.7-liter V12 engine with 840 hp.

TVR Tuscan Speed Six

TVR_Tuscan_Speed_Six_(2000)
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The three TVRs on this list show the lengths the company went to to create a radical sports car. While not as dangerous as the Speed 12, the TVR Tuscan Speed Six could still have its wild moments, and a lack of airbags made any moment on the road that little bit more scary.

Under the hood, a range of Speed Six inline-six engines produced up to 380 hp, and it was undoubtedly a good-looking car with its bold and sleek exterior. TVR went mad with features such as the rear indicators at the top of the rear window and the brake lights above the exhaust. Of all TVR’s cars, however, the Tuscan Speed Six is one of the most sought-after on the used car market.

Shelby Cobra Super Snake

1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake
Image Credit: Barrett Jackson.

The truly terrifying Shelby Cobra Super Snake has enough power to put it into the supercar category. While it makes it look tame, two superchargers boost power up to 800 hp. For the 1960s, this was simply an astronomical number. Shelby only built two Cobra Super Snakes, with Carroll Shelby keeping one with friend and comedian Bill Cosby buying the second.

However, Cosby would return the car to Shelby as he couldn’t handle the power on offer. Just one Cobra Super Snake now survives after its next owner, Tony Maxey, crashed it after losing control at a traffic light. The throttle stuck open, causing the sports car to plunge off a cliff.

Chevrolet Corvette

2017 Chevrolet C7 Corvette Z06
Image Credit: Chevrolet.

Statistics show that the Chevrolet Corvette is the most dangerous car you can buy in the United States. According to the U.S. Fatality Analysis Reporting System, the model years 2013-2017 show the Corvette as the most dangerous sports car on North American roads.

However, Chevrolet makes the Corvette as safe as possible, so many of these issues are attributable to driver error and overexuberant driving. The advanced nature of the C7 Corvette might have contributed to some of the accidents, leading to overconfidence from the drivers, which caused them to push the car closer to its limits.

Henry Kelsall

Author: Henry Kelsall

Title: Writer

Bio:

Henry has freelanced for over eight years now, mostly in automotive matters, but he has also dabbled in other forms of writing too. He has a lot of love for Japanese classics and American muscle cars, in particular the Honda NSX and first-generation Ford Mustang. When not writing, Henry is often found at classic car events or watching motorsports at home, but he also has a curious passion for steam trains.

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