Since 1954 the Guinness Book of Records has been documenting the world’s weird and wonderful feats of and endurance. World Record Day on the 20th November is our chance to celebrate these achievements. To mark this year’s event we thought we’d take a look at ten of the most exceptional records from the motoring world.
The current world land speed record was set on 15th October 2007 by a car called Thrust SSC. Brave Brit Andy Green drove this wonder car across the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. Measured over a full mile, the highest speed it reached was a blistering 763 mph. The car was powered by two Rolls Royce jet engines, which helped make it the first ever car to break the sound barrier.
Fastest electric car
The Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah have long been the testing ground for land speed records, and it was here in September 2016 that a joint enterprise between Ohio State University and the Center for Automotive Research broke the speed record for an electrically-propelled car. Driven by Roger Schroer, the Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3 accelerated to a speed of almost 360mph mph across a two-mile course.
Most fuel-efficient car
During the 2005 Shell Eco Marathon held at the Michelin Technology Centre in Ladoux, France, the Pac-Car II achieved an unbelievable 15,212 mpg. . The vehicle had been designed by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology based in Zurich.
Highest vehicle mileage
As a make that’s always had a reputation for rugged reliability, it’s not surprising that the winner in this category is a 1966 Volvo 1800S owned by Irvin Gordon - which reached three million miles on 18th September 2013. Gordon drives the car around 100,000 miles a year, at an equivalent distance of going around the earth a total of 120 times. To celebrate the achievement, Volvo gave the proud record holder a brand new car.
Most expensive car
Rare sports cars have proven to be very good investments over the years. The pinnacle of this phenomenon was arguably reached in October 2013 when a 1963 Ferrari GTO racer was sold to a private buyer for $52 million – the equivalent to £32 million at the time. The GTO had previously belonged to a well-known collector of classic cars called Paul Pappalardo, but the identity of its buyer remains unknown.
Fastest vehicle drift
The highly-skilled driving stunt of drifting a car sideways at speed was broken most recently on 3rd March 2016 by the Japanese driver Masato Kawabata. He was behind the wheel of the high-performance Nissan GT-R Nismo when he set the record of 189.49 mph at Fujairah International Airport, in the United Arab Emirates.
Most produced car model
Although this is a record that’s very much open to debate, it is generally agreed that the most produced car model is the Japanese Toyota Corolla. Over the period of its manufacture between 1966 and 2011, over 37 million were produced. Some claim that the ten versions made over this time mean that, technically, it wasn’t the same car - but according to the Guinness adjudicators, the record still stands.
Fastest car driven in reverse
Nissan’s hybrid car the Leaf is the holder of this very unusual record – but that may just be because it’s never been attempted in many other cars. As part of the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2012, professional stunt driver Terry Grant drove the car backwards up the famous Goodwood Hill in 1 minute 37 seconds, the best ever speed over a measured mile.
Most people in a car
Almost from the day it was launched in 1959, there have been countless official attempts to see just how many people could squeeze into a Mini. The last standing record for a classic model was 27, but would rise to 28 when BMW took over the make and started building bigger cars. In 2012 a group of 28 very supple gymnasts managed to squeeze into a standard Mini Cooper.
Stretch limos are a familiar sight all round cities and towns on a Saturday night, but none are quite as big as the record breaker. Measuring over 100 feet long, the ‘American Dream’ designed in the 1980s by Jay Ohrberg weighs ten tonnes. With two V* engines to power it, the car even features a Jacuzzi and a helipad – though sadly it’s not road-legal.
Even as we write, a number of car designers, makers and drivers all over the world are planning to smash a world record - and all the examples mentioned here are on the hit list. So as we remember these stunning feats on November 20th, maybe you could be joining them on the list this time next year.