Wednesday, September 7, 2011

5 Street-Racing Cars

1. Honda S2000 RoadsterHonda S2000 Roadster - Credit: Automobiles.Honda.com

Ponies: 237 horsepower

Starting at $34,050, the S2000 is one of the more expensive cars on the list, but it’s also one of the fastest cars on the showroom floor. With an in-line 4 cylinder engine capable of churning out 237 horsepower at 7,800 rpm and producing 162 lb-ft of torque at 6,800 rpm, the S2000 balances power with light weight -- coming in at only 2,855 pounds. In other words, this car will throw your head back, just give it some gas and enjoy.

The Honda S2000 also has a unique style that will get you noticed if you aren’t doing 99 mph on a quarter-mile track. This car allows you to drop the top after the race and its smooth lines give it the feel of a true sports car without needing after-market modifications. If you’re looking to drive off the lot and go racing, the S2000 will certainly do the trick.

2. Mitsubishi Eclipse GTMitsubishi's Eclipse GT - Credit: MitsubishiCars.com

Ponies: 263 horsepower

The Eclipse GT has been around the tuner world for a long time, and it had a major role in 2 Fast 2 Furious. The demand for better performance parts and more aerodynamic kits for the Eclipse has increased through time, and now you have tons of customizing choices. Not that you necessarily need to. The Eclipse GT rolls off the show room floor with 263 horsepower from the 3.8 liter V6 and 260 lb-ft of torque. With stock parts you will be able to run a quarter mile in under 15 seconds, but should you decide that you want to move a little faster, you can easily take the car down to the 10-second range.

The Eclipse also has a style all its own. Its head-on stance screams, “Get out of the way or become roadkill.” One look at the profile and you can see the long hours the engineers put into the aerodynamics of this car. All and all, this is a great car for beginners who want to run with the best of them without much money or effort. Plus you can still use it for the daily commute.

3. Nissan Skyline R34 GT-RNissan Skyline R34 GT-R

Ponies: 276 horsepower

If you’re serious about racing, the Nissan Skyline GT-R will do the trick. This car is so fast that it was never sold stateside because Nissan refused to comply with U.S. standards. This car produces 276 horsepower at 6,800 rpm in its stock configuration, but can be easily upgraded to over 600 horsepower. This baby can run a 13.7-second quarter mile off the assembly line.

How do you get one? You have to find a modified version that has been equipped to meet all U.S. standards. A company called MotoRex has spent the time and the money to get a handful of these cars into the country, making it pass all the necessary tests. Parts are difficult to find, and that means you’ll have to fix the car yourself with imported parts or parts not designed for the Skyline. If you want to turn some heads on the street-race scene, open your wallet and find one of these mean racing machines.

4. Chevrolet Corvette Z06Corvette Z06 - Credit: Chevrolet.com

Ponies: 505 horsepower

The Corvette has been a staple muscle car since it first appeared back in 1953. This car's legacy as a speed-demon has never disappointed, and Corvette has honored that heritage by bringing back the old American muscle machine. The geniuses at Chevrolet have brought back the Z06 model, which includes a 7.0 liter V8 that pumps out 505 horsepower and puts 470 lb-ft of torque. With this kind of power under the hood, all you will have to worry about at the track is keeping the tread on your tires.

This car will give you instant respect on any quarter-mile track, whether it is your local drag strip or the street around the corner. Just rev the engine and listen to the beautiful sound of 505 horses waiting to be set free. Then check out the lane next to you and watch the fear well up in the eyes of the poor guy you are paired against. Sit down, strap in, and blow away the pretenders.

5. 2007 Shelby GT500Shelby GT500 2007 - Credit: FordVehicles.com

Ponies: 500 horsepower

This car comes from racing pedigree. To design the GT500, Ford brought together the legend Carroll Shelby and the Ford Special Vehicle Team, two groups who know how to make cars go fast. The outcome is the 2007 GT500, which is the most powerful factory-built Mustang that Ford has ever produced. That’s a bold statement coming from a car company that has put out some mean machines in the past.

So what makes this car so fast? The dream team at Ford took the basic Mustang GT engine and put all their knowledge and tricks into it. The Shelby GT500 is powered by a supercharged 5.4-liter, 32-valve V8 engine with some extras. These extras are what took the standard Mustang GT from 300 hp to producing 500 horsepower at 6,000 rpm. That means this car will have a lot of kicking power down the stretch.