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It’s A Record: Some 2012 Chart-Toppers

Managed to get hold of the 2012 Guinness Book of Records from my local library, and motoring enthusiasts everywhere are probably going to be quite pleased with the number of entries that tie in with our interests. Not only do you have the usual two-page spread with all the record-breaking or record-holding cars, but in this latest edition, you’ve also got a special “Petrolhead” category and an alternative energy category. Given what we know about (a) the dicey nature of Middle Eastern politics and (b) the fact that the world’s got only so much crude oil in its crust and when it’s gone, it’s gone, that page featuring alternative energy is probably likely to become more and more important.

Anyway, philosophical maunderings about energy sources, aside, what’s some of the great facts and records this year for the world of motoring? Take notes now – you never know when these facts might come in handy for a pub quiz trivia night.

Fastest electric car: This record is held by the Buckeye Bullet 2, which, unfortunately, isn’t a production car but a project by some engineering students studying at the Ohio State University. Its top speed is a very impressive 487.672 km/h, which is more than four times the legal road speed – is that fast enough for you?

Fastest solar-powered car: This record’s one that Australians can be proud of: it’s held by the Sunswift IV, and it can get up to 88.73 km/h. The Sunswift was made by the NSW Solar Racing Team.
Longest journey by coffee-powered car: This isn’t a nutty idea from the USA but one from the eccentric Brits instead: they managed to get from London to Manchester in an adapted VW Scirocco that has a way to convert coffee granules into carbon monoxide (not so eco-friendly) and hydrogen, and the hydrogen fires the engine. The journey covered 337 km and did it at a fuel economy of 1 km per 35 expressos.

Best selling-hybrid car: No surprises here: the record’s held by the Toyota Prius, which has sold over two million units since its launch in 1997.

Best selling production car: This is held by the Toyota Corolla, which was the first car to achieve 30 million sales. The first car to reach 20 million sales, however, was the VW Beetle. The first car to achieve 10 million sales isn’t one you’ll find in our car reviews page: it was the Model T Ford. To get a little more specialised, the best-selling sports car is the Mazda MX-5.

Greatest fuel range: Hold your head up high, Volkswagen: the Passat 1.6 TDI managed to get 2456.88 km on just one tank of fuel.

Largest vehicle producing country: this is held by China, which also holds the record for the country with the larges vehicle sales (it’s just managed to beat the USA for this latter record).

Vehicle with the largest mileage: a 1966 Volvo P-1800S managed to get over 4.5 million kilometres on the clock and it’s still going strong. Another record-holding Volvo is the XC60, which can proudly wear the title of the first car with a crash avoidance system.

Smallest roadworthy car: This is a home-made job knows as the Wind Up, and it measures 104 cm high by 66.04 cm wide by 132.08 cm long. This is not a suitable family vehicle…

Fastest caravan tow: a person driving a Mercedes Benz S600 in South Africa managed to clock 223.88 km/h while towing a caravan – on an Air Force runway. Cops tend to get a bit grumpy if you try doing this on the roads.

Fastest production car: This is still held by the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport with a top speed of 431.072 km/h.

Most expensive car: Held by a Ferrari 205 GTO. The most expensive production car is the Mercedes-Benx CLK/LM.