Past and Furious: Speed across the decades, Part 1.

With the upcoming Rimac C_Two set to be the most powerful and one of the fastest production cars in history, I decided to take a look back at some of the fastest cars throughout the last few decades and just how they achieved their extraordinary speed.

With so many models and explanations on what gave them their blistering performance though, I decided it would be a better idea to split this article into two posts, the second I should be realising in the not too distant future.

1940s: Jaguar XK120 (120 MPH).

The “120” part represented the car’s top speed of 120 MPH, but later it was found that the car could achieve speeds of 132.6 mph (with minor modifications), though renaming it to the “XK132.6” probably would have been a bit pedantic.                                                                             Photo credit: Peter Trimming [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

Whilst 120 MPH may not sound too fast today, in fact it sounds rather slow, but remember that this car was introduced in 1948 and under the bonnet lay a 3.4 litre straight six which produced 160 horsepower this gave the car a 0-60 MPH of around 10 seconds, back in the day that would have been an extraordinary achievement.

What’s more impressive though, is how the same basic engine went onto power many more jaguars and models from other manufactures; including the E-type and Daimler Sovereign before the engine was retired in 1992.

Yet in my opinion, the most amazing thing about this roadster, is its style; the chrome grill and bumpers, the bonnet that’s longer than any road it will ever see and the fact it doesn’t appear to have any door mirrors, which it can get away with because as we all know, if you own a Jag,  you can get away with anything. (Even if it is doing 120 MPH on the motorway in a car that had a reputation for brakes that were likely to deteriorate.)

1950s: Aston Martin DB4 GT (151 MPH).

File:DB4-2.jpg
The DB4 wasn’t designed with off-roading in mind, despite this however, this standard model appears to have tackled more grass than most off roaders in the city ever will.                         Photo credit: Chilterngreen at the German language Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
 Ten years after the XK120 was unveiled, the Aston Martin DB4 was shown to the public for the first time, and much like the XK120, was revealed at the London Motor Show. The similarities go on, they both had straight six engines around 3.5 litres and the two are as British as moaning about the weather and saying “sorry” when it plainly isn’t necessary. Well, I say “British”, but in truth the DB4’s body design was done in Milan. The Italian styling however, certainly wasn’t a mistake as sixty years on, the DB4 still looks as good as ever.

The DB4 cost around £4000 when it was new, today good examples can sell for over half a million pounds, making it a desirable classic. How did it achieve its speed? The 240 horsepower straight six propelled the car from 0-60 in 9 seconds, and it would go on to crack 140 MPH.

Later, Aston Martin released a faster version of the car; the DB4 GT, this would go from 0-60 MPH in 6.1 seconds, and was capable of doing 151 MPH because of its lightened aluminium body and 302 horsepower engine.

1960s: Lamborghini Miura P400S (179 MPH).

File:Lamborghini Miura P400S (10998108356).jpg
Lamborghini Describes the lines around the headlights as “eyelashes”, this is part of what makes the Miura such an eye-conic car. (Sorry.)                                                                                     Photo Credit: By Andrew Bone from Weymouth, England (Lamborghini Miura P400S) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons 
You may just remember the Miura as “That car from beginning of the Italian Job.” The P400S however, definitely deserves more credit than that, even though the exact figures are not certain, the 3.9 litre V12 would have churned out over 350 horse power and would allow the car to do 0-62 MPH in around 6.5 seconds, and there are still plenty of modern expensive sports cars that can’t beat its 179 MPH top speed.

You would need pockets deeper than the drop that the Miura in the Italian Job fell to buy a P400S, only 764 Miuras were made so finding a P400S would be difficult, in fact to buy a Miura at all you would have to fork out at least one million pounds.

An important details of what makes this a supercar is the fact that your more likely to have a poster of  one on your wall than actually own one, and as poster cars go this has to be one of the most striking in the world; with its vibrant colour, mad design inspiration and wing like body shape, it makes you reach for the printer and blue tack.

1970s: Lamborghini Miura P400S (179 MPH), (Again).

 

File:Bunny in zoo.jpg
I’ve already shown a photo of the P400S, so here’s a Rabbit instead, now I can’t decide which picture I want on my wall more now.                              Photo credit: By Tiia Monto [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons
Yes, the Miura was so ahead of its time that, even once production stopped in 1973, the car’s top speed record wouldn’t be broken until the next decade, this definitely had nothing to do with the 1970s oil crisis.In fact, the Miura maintained its title of fastest production car until 1982 when Lamborghini stole their own crown with the 182 MPH Countach LP500 S.

End of part 1.

Thank you for reading the first part of this article, I’ll soon be realising the second part in a separate post, If you could have one of these record breaking classics, which one would it be and why? Tell is in the comments, and if you like this article, please leave a like and follow the website if you wish to be notified when I release a new post, doing so also helps support the site, thank you.

Sources: Wikipedia, Aston Martin, Mazda, Auto trader, Lamborghini.

 

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