7 of the best three-seater sportscars

By topgear, 18 July 2020

McLaren F1

No surprises here. Overseen by Gordon Murray and powered by a 6.1-litre, 635hp V12 created by BMW’s engine genius Paul Rosche, the F1 is regarded as one of the greatest sportscars ever built.

It remains one of the most furiously sought-after cars, too, with notable past and present owners including Elon Musk, Rowan Atkinson, and Jay Leno. They’d make for an interesting road trip trio…

Nissan BladeGlider 

Is this the coolest EV in history? The Nissan BladeGlider was first revealed to the world as a concept in 2013, and we had a go in it a couple of years later.

Similar to the McLaren F1, the central driver’s seat was flanked by one each side and slightly behind, while drive came from two independent electric motors, with a combined power output of 270hp.

Nissan initially suggested that it would make showrooms, but just two were built. Shame.

Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus SCG004S

Meet the Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus SCG004S. Ok, it’s not a particularly pretty name, but the specs? Sheesh.

Thanks to its all carbon construction, it apparently weighs just 1,179kg – less than a suitcase more than the McLaren F1 – with power coming from a mid-engined twin-turbo V8 with 650hp and 720Nm of torque.

Matra-Simca Bagheera

Introduced in 1973 and perhaps best known for its three-abreast seating, the Bagheera was the product of co-operation between French conglomerate Matra and Chrysler-owned Simca.

An affordable, mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive sports coupe with a small, naturally aspirated engine and a manual gearbox, a handful survive today in the hands of a group of enthusiasts.

And yes, it really was named after the Jungle Book character.

Photo: Bonhams Auctions

Talbot-Matra Murena 

In 1980, the Murena was unveiled as the Bagheera’s replacement.

Despite the disappointment of not continuing the Jungle Book character theme, it offered better aerodynamics and arguably more style, improved corrosion resistance, and most essentially for all enthusiasts, more power, thanks to its 2.2-litre Talbot Tagora engine.

Sadly, politics between Peugeot-Talbot and Matra saw the Murena prematurely halted in 1985.

Photo: Anglia Car Auctions

Ferrari 365 P Berlinetta Speciale

Here’s one you might not have heard of – a three-seat Ferrari.

Unofficially nicknamed Tre Posti, meaning three-seater in Italian, it was conceived by Sergio Pininfarina - based on a design by Aldo Brovarone, who would later design the Dino.

After the concept’s unveil at the Paris show of ‘66, Gianni Agnelli was said to have loved it so much, he ordered another one built.

Underneath sat a race-derived 4.4-litre V12 and mechanics taken from Ferrari’s 365 P2.

The first car - a white coloured 365 - was as recently as 2014 put up for auction… where a bid of US$23m was rejected.

Photo: Gooding & Company Auctions

McLaren Speedtail

Finally, then, we come full circle to the model likely forever known as the spiritual successor to the F1, the McLaren Speedtail.

Three seats, a stratospheric top speed – 400+km/h – and a price tag – £1.75m – that’s similarly out of this world.

Still, that gets you 1,070hp and 1,150Nm – the highest of any McLaren road car – and enough for 0–300km/h in 13 seconds.

Oh, and guaranteed fun for you and two mates. Which, in our opinion, is quite frankly priceless.

STORY Peter Rawlins

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