Welcome to Sunday Matinee, where we highlight classic car reviews or other longer videos I find on YouTube. Kick back and enjoy this blast from the past.
Last weekend, I had the very good fortune of attending the ribbon cutting ceremony at Austin's Formula One track, the Circuit of the Americas.
As I wrote in that post, I ran into the one car on Planet Earth that can make huge crowds of people completely ignore a McLaren MP4-12C, a Ferrari Enzo and a plethora of F1 cars: the legendary Ferrari F40. I couldn't even believe what I was seeing at first, but when I saw the giant wing up close, I knew. It was pretty spectacular.
Perhaps the only thing that could have made that event better was the presence of the F40's great competitor: the amazing Porsche 959. Both cars were blisteringly fast, but the odd thing is, they couldn't have been more different.
The 959 was a great innovator of performance technology, with features like a trick adjustable all-wheel-drive system and tire pressure sensors. On the other hand, the F40 was all engine, baby. The interior is extremely spartan, and had no real driver aids to speak of. There were no computers to bail you out — you drive an F40, you had better know what you're doing.
So which one is better? That's hard to say, but Richard Hammond takes a stab at it in this Top Gear clip. He puts both cars through their paces and notes their significant differences in the best way possible — lighting up their tires in a drag race then tossing them through TG's race course.
This clip from the BBC's YouTube page shows the tests, but it misses a discussion afterward where Hammond and Clarkson debate the merits of each car. Clarkson says the F40 is "probably the greatest car ever built in human history," but they both note that modern supercars followed the trend set by the 959 — AWD, computerization, lots of technology — instead of the rawness of the F40. It's "analog vs. digital," as Hammond says, and digital won out.
So if you could pick just one, which one would it be and why?