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The Cheapest, The Fastest And The Mostest

I’ve posted a bit about some of the most economical cars in Australia in the small and medium range, which got me wondering about which car really is the most economical – and, for that matter, the fastest, the cheapest and the most expensive.  And if it’s world records we’re after, then the obvious place to go is to the Guinness World Records books and website to have a look.  I’ve done my best to find the records for proper production cars rather than modified, souped-up, tweaked, customised or otherwise tinkered with cars.  So here goes…

The cheapest: The cheapest production car by far is the Tata Nano.  Designed and made in India, this is intended to do for South-east Asia what the Model T Ford did for the USA and the VW Beetle did for Germany: a cheap car that the average person can afford, allowing the country to embrace the automobile age.  When it was released in 2008, it cost the Indian equivalent of US$2000.  It seats four and has four doors, but has a number of quirky cost-cutting measures that mean that it’s not likely to really take off in Australia – if it makes it over here at all.  These cost-cutting measures include a lack of power steering (it’s so small and light it doesn’t need it), only one windscreen wiper, three lug nuts per wheel instead of four, only one wing mirror, no airbags and a boot that is only accessible from the inside.  In other words, it may look like a hatchback, but it’s not.  It’s more like a hatchbelly.  In 2009, an upgraded version was released for the European market that had been heavily modified to meet safety standards.

The most economical: This is a very hotly contested category.  I’m not 100% sure exactly which car is officially has the GWR for economy (neither the book nor the website list it anywhere that’s easy to find), but contenders include the VW Lupo (3 L/100 km) and the smart fourtwo cdi (3.3 L/100 km).  These don’t seem to be available in Australia yet, but watch this space!

The fastest production car: The current official fastest production car is the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport, which has a top speed of 431.072 km/h. 

The most expensive: It’s probably not completely surprising that the most expensive car title also goes to the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport.  The price tag?  About US$2.3 million.  Personally, if I had this sort of money in my back pocket, I’d put it on a house and spend the rest on putting about a million people in the third world on bicycles.  That’s the retail price new, by the way, not the top price that a car can get at an auction and/or after becoming a classic – some early Rolls-Royces have fetched more.

Most popular car: In terms of units sold, irrespective of make and model, it seems to be a contest between the Toyota Corolla and the VW Beetle, with honourable mention going to the Model T Ford, the Volkswagen Golf and the Ford F-series.  However, there may soon be some Chinese and Indian contenders in this list.

Readers may also be interested in finding more records by following this link to Wikipedia.