Men love automobiles. We remember our first cars better than our first girlfriends - and we bombed around in them wherever we went. Never were we happier running errands. If mum asked us to fetch bread, we delivered it as quickly as our 95hp could take us, but our eyes were dreaming bigger.
From 1992 to the turn of the century, the McLaren F1 reigned supreme with a top speed of 240mph/387kph. It wasn't to last forever. Newer models have eclipsed the record and in recent years the mantle of 'world's quickest' has resembled a game of hot potato between Bugatti, Vector and Koenigsegg. Making sense of the power shifts, here are the top ten fastest road cars of all time:
Lamborghini Aventador: 217mph (349kph), 0-60 in 2.9 secs. V12 Engine with 700 hp and base price of $379,700. According to Lamborghini, Aventador is the name of a fearsome bull that fought in the ring at the Saragossa Arena in October 1993.Pagani Zonda Cinque Roadster: 217mph (349kph), 0-60 in 3.4 secs. Twin turbocharged AMG V12 engine produces 678hp - base price of $1,850,000. The Pagani Zonda Cinque Roadster is a limited-edition - only five have been made - and it's phenomenal around the track.
Ferrari Enzo: 217mph (349kph), 0-60 in 3.4 secs. F140 Aluminum V12 Engine with 660 hp, base price of $670,000. Ferrari named it after its founder, Enzo, so you know it's going to be epic. Only 399 were ever produced (you had to be on a special waiting list) and the price goes up every time someone crashes.
Behind the Ascari A10 you'll find a 5.0 litre BMW V8 S62 Engine punching out 625hp which translates into a top speed of 220mph (354kph) and 0-60 in 2.8 secs. Produced in Banbury, England, it sells for US$650,000 and is a rarefied motor. Ascari cars was founded by Klaas Zwart in 1996, when he started the company with Lee Noble. In 1998 they separated and Lee Noble (below) started his own company. Being three mph and a spot behind his former partner must be killing Klaas.
The Noble M600 maxes out at 223mph (358kph) and accelerates from 0-60 in 3.7 secs. Its twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 Engine roars at 650hp and its base price is US$330,000. The Noble M600 is an "under the radar" supercar you can drive without attracting too much attention. Just don't buy it in bright, baby blue.
Powered by a 4.2 liter V8 Engine (650hp), the Gumpert Apollo has a top speed of 224mph (360kph) and goes from 0-60 in 3.0 secs. At US$450,000 it's pretty cheap to be around this kind of company. Despite the name, which makes it sounds like a fat, old astronaut, the car's cool and will rip you to the moon and back. Gumpert claims the Apollo was designed to be driven upside-down in a tunnel with speeds at 190mph plus. Buy one and be the first to have the sprockets to try.
The McLaren F1 is arguably the most iconic car on the ladder. 240mph (386kph) and 0-60 in 3.2 secs, its BMW S70/2 60 Degree V12 Engine deals out 627hp for US$970,000. The fastest car of the 20th century, it's a super car staple of racing today.
Taking up the first of Koenigsegg's places in the top-10 is the CCX which motors up to 245mph (394kph) and clocks 0-60 in 3.2 secs. The 90 Degree V8 Engine churns out 806hp and it'll set you back US$545,568. Made in Sweden, the predecessor of the Agera R (below), was described by The Stig from Top gear as "scary but fun to drive". Anything that scares the Stig probably means breakfast on your lap.
The Saleen S7 Twin-Turbo peaks at 248mph (399kph) and gallops from 0-60 in 2.8 secs. Under the hood you'll find a Twin Turbo All Aluminum V8 Engine with 750hp, but unlike most American cars, it can actually corner. The design is somewhat more in line with the country's automotive tradition - bad ass. US$555,000.
Hurtling from 0-60 in 2.7 secs, the SSC Ultimate Aero's top speed of 257mph (413kph) propelled in into the top spot in March 2007 but Bugatti and Koenigsegg soon fought back (below), pushing it down to number three. Its Twin-Turbo V8 Engine pumps out 1183hp, and it costs upwards of US$654,400. The new SSC Tuatura on the way is supposed to be faster than Flash Gordon.
The Koenigsegg Agera R tops out at 260 (418kph)mph and sprints from 0-60 in 2.9s. it's powered by a 5.0-liter V8 Engine that generates 1099hp, and its base price is US$1,600,000. The insane monster actually comes with an attachable ski box in case you feel like dying on the way to the slopes rather than on them (below). Its current top speed is 260mph and it's set to be the Bugatti's arch enemy for the next five years.
Priced at US$950,000, the Hennessey Venom GT hits 260mph (418kph) and reportedly consumes 0-60 in 2.5 seconds. The specs come from its 6.2-liter LS9 Turbocharged V8 Twin Turbo V8 Engine which produces a staggering 1200hp. That said, the Venom GT has yet to be fully tested and experts say it could possibly reach a top speed of 275mph which would take the Bugatti team (below) back to the drawing board.
The Bugatti Veyron Super Sport peaks at a mouthwatering 267mph (429kph), flying off the line from 0-60 in 2.4s. Its aluminum, narrow angle 8 Liter W16 engine pumps out 1200hp - and it only costs a cool US$2,400,000. As we mentioned, the original Bugatti Veyron lost the 'world's quickest' title to the SSC Ultimate Aero in March 2007 (above). It was only when Bugatti challenged the record again in Germany on July 10, 2010 (with the new Super Sport Version) that the marque re-claimed the title of the fastest car in the world. We didn't give the original Veyron its own spot in the list (the SS is basically the same car with more grunt) but if you're interested, it had a top speed of 253mph, was propelled by 1001hp and cost US$1.7 million.
Keep dreaming and start saving.