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The Latest Crop Of Record Breakers

I came across a copy of the 2015 Guinness Book of Records in the library the other day.  2015.  Either Guinness Publishing uses a peculiar sort of calendar or my local library has a time machine sitting out the back somewhere.  Alternatively, the concept of L-space that interconnects all libraries and bookshops throughout time and space from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld is true.  But anyway, these official record books often have some fun automotive, transport and car-related records, so without any further speculations, let’s have a look at some of the latest beauties showcased.  Might win you a bet or two at the pub.

Country producing the largest number of cars in one year: China. No surprises here, really.  The majority of cars are made in this country now, even marques you usually think of as being European.  However, the European car manufacturing industry is far from dead: Germany holds the Number 3 spot behind Japan.

Red Cherys ripe for the picking, fresh off the factory floor.

Red Cherys ripe for the picking, fresh off the factory floor.

Largest producer of vehicles: Toyota  managed to break General Motors’ 77-year run back in 2008 and the two companies have been fighting it out for top spot ever since. Toyota is the current record holder… at least according to the official book.

Tightest parallel parking of two cars:  Two Chinese drivers parked their cars in a space that was just 42 cm longer than the combined length of their cars.  The make and model of the cars is unknown, but I’m guessing they were little hatchbacks.

Biggest engine in a current production car: Chrysler’s SRT Viper has a whopping 8.39-litre V10 powerplant. This adds up to 640 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque.  This vehicle can do the 0–60 mph sprint in less than 3.5 seconds (the official Chrysler website claims “low threes”). It does the reverse (60–0 mph) in 106 feet.  Top speed is 206 mph.  Translating this into SI units, we get 470.72 kW for the power, 813 Nm for the torque and 331.52 km/h for the top speed.  I don’t want to even think about its fuel economy.  Let’s just say that it’s not for the frugal driver.

First folding car: The Hiriko Fold, which is a two-seater that folds its chassis so three of them can park in the space needed for a normal four-door saloon.  Not in general production yet.


The Honda FCX Clarity – a hydrogen-powered beauty.

First hydrogen powered car: The Honda FCX has the honour of being the first vehicle powered by hydrogen technology, as it came out in 2002.  Because of the super-low emissions, hydrogen fuel technology is the newest and sexiest kid on the sustainable motoring block.  This Honda is in production somewhere in the world, but both Honda and Toyota are thinking about pumping out a few more.

Average amount of time the typical commuter spends stuck in traffic in a year: 38 hours.

Kilometres put on the clock by all driverless cars combined: 300,000 km.  All these have been part of the testing process of the driverless cars being worked on by Google.  They haven’t been in any major incidents so far during all this trial period.  I still don’t like them.  If I’m going to just sit there and do nothing during a commute, I’ll take a bus instead.

Smallest roadworthy car: a homemade job measuring 63.5 cm high, 65.4 cm wide and 1.26 m long.  It might be road legal (in the USA, at least) but can barely fit a passenger and is rather short on safety features.

Longest motor racing circuit: The (in)famous Nürburgring.

Fastest drift: A Polish driver in a Toyota GTR 86 managed to drift safely at 217.97 km/h.  The car in question had been modified to the eyeballs, so don’t try this at home if you have a Toyota 86.

Happy driving,