Car Facts

Here are some interesting facts about the automotive world that Sparky has put together.

The De Tomago Mangusta (or Mongoose) is so called because ‘It Eats Cobras’

Harrods was one of the first Morgan dealers.

Rolls-Royce refused to sells its Phantom IV to anyone other than a member of the Royal Family (I think they made an exception for Elvis).

The 1911 Stutz Racer which contested the Inaugural Indy 500 took just five weeks to design and build.

The 1922 Trojan had an all-weather ‘Indoor’ Starting handle.

The ‘A Mars a day helps you work rest and play’ slogan was first coined by the Famous British Formula 1 Commentator Murray Walker.

Of the 24.3 million cars in Britain , more than 2 million lack a valid tax disk.

The Ford DFV Grand Prix engine won it’s very first race and went on to score a record 155 victories between 1967 and 1983.

Luxembourg has the most crowded roads in Europe with 570 cars per 1,000 inhabitants. Britain has just 427.

The Green Monster, Art Afrons 576 MPH, Jet Powered 1965 Record Breaker, Cost  $6,000! That’s less than a Ford Fiesta!!

By 1905 London had 19 motorized Taxicabs and 10,361 of the horse drawn variety.

The motoring press welcomed the ‘genuine’ 150 MPH top speed but it is believed that early test cars were souped-up by the factory.

The car with the highest MPG is the Team 1200 with 9,427 MPG. It could drive around the equator (24,902 miles) on only 2.5 gallons of petrol!!

The Trojan Bubble Car Company also built McLaren racing cars.

The first car to swim the British channel, a 1962 Amphicar, used a triumph herald engine.

Predating the People-Carrier by half a century, James Young Built a Bentley with sliding doors as early as 1935.

Chrysler launched its 1934 Airflow Sedan after deciding that most cars were more aerodynamically efficient when travelling backwards.

Peter Stevens whose credits include the McLaren F1, the Lotus Elan and the Jaguar XJR-15 also designed the sunroof handle for the original Ford Granada.

After crashing at Brooklands in 1913, Percy Lambert was buried at Bropton cemetery in a coffin streamlined to match his car.

Rudolf Diesel’s first engine ran on coal dust.

Mini creator Sir Alec Issigonis failed math three times.

The BMW Z3 is the first German car to be built solely outside Germany .

Racing in temperatures of up to 100c Keke Rosberg won the Dallas Grand Prix wearing a water-cooled skull cap.

The three highest paid sportsmen of 1996 were all Michaels – Shumacher Tyson and Jordan.

The Queen learnt to drive whilst serving with the wartime ATS.

1940’s Racing driver Robert Cowells had the world’s first sex-change operation.

When Peugeot bought Chrysler’s entire European operation in 1978 they paid the Americans only  1.

A Japanese man has legalised a Reynard F3000 car so it can be driven on the road, this car generates enough down force at 150 MPH to be driven upside-down.

Mini drivers were offered $6 a month by jeans giant Levi in 1977 if they would let their cars be transformed into mobile adverts. The minis were painted with the Levi Logo, with a huge zipper running down the side Owners could choose whether to keep the paint job for anything between three months and a year.

The first Daimler to be fitted with brake disks was the four-wheeled-drive Scout cars which were made for the war.

A scaled down version of the tricked-out Aston Martin DB5 James Bond drove in the GoldFinger film was one of toy-makers Corgi’s best-ever sellers. The 007 model was sold in 137 different countries, and more than 6 million were bought worldwide.

The AA originated from the Brighton Motor Road Patrol which kept watch on the Brighton Road to warn motorists of speed traps.

An airbag moves up to 4500 mph within a second when triggered. A force of 200g is generated. They are designed to explode at an impact speed of 19 mph. The bag inflates within 40 milliseconds of a crash.

Approximately 100,000 people in the UK own an American car

There are 200 million cars in the US – 40 percent of the worlds total
94% trips from an American home involve the use of a car (60% in UK ).

Top fuel dragsters accelerate at up to 5g from standing start. The nitro methane injection produces 6000 BHP.

Pro-Stock dragsters are modified Touring cars with approximately eight times more horsepower.

Enzo Ferrari used to drive for Alfa Romeo.

The Ferrari Formula 1 team is unique in that it produces both chassis and engines for its cars.

Ferrari makes a maximum of 14 cars every day.

The Fiat Strada was hand built by robots.

There were only 107 models of the Ford GT40 made of which only 7 were road cars.

Wooden wheels were a factory option until 1939 with Mercedes.

The Porsche 911 was originally badged as a 901 until a disagreement with Peugeot who were using the ‘ 0 ‘ in their model numbering.

In Rallying your blood group must be displayed on your helmet or overalls.

The Ford Puma is the first Ford to be entirely designed on computer.

Rob Walker’s Dog once jumped through a window to escape from one of the LeMans drivers toy cars.

A Mini Marcos was the only British car to finish the 1966 LeMans but soon afterwards it was stolen.

In the Twenties a vehicle was exempted from car tax if it was only used for driving the servants to the church.

The 1947 Volvo PV444 had a Dash-Mounted flower vase.

Europe ‘s Leading restaurant guide started life as a promotional gimmick for the Michelin Tire Company.

When the Preston Bypass Britan’s first Motorway, opened in 1958 the penalty for reversing up the carriageway was a $20 fine.

Ferrari Or Alfa Romeo didn’t make the first sports car, Vauxhall did in 1911.

Herbert Austin, the motoring pioneer built the Austin Village – 199 all-wood bungalows in 1917, to house his factory workers in Longbridge, Birmingham . They were supposed to be temporary but are still lived in today.

It costs $20,000 for an F1 car to compete 1 lap. Designing and building an F1 car’s chassis costs from $500,000 to $1 million, a set of four tires is $1,200 to $1,500, and a 300-mile engine strip-down costs $30,000.

The London motorshow began in November 1895, organized by RAC founder member Sir Evelyn Ellis, It was merely 5 cars in a field, and only 500 people turned up.

Until 1923 in Italy , motorists could drive on the right-hand side of the road in rural areas, but had to drive on the left in towns and cities.

The Worlds longest traffic hold-up was 110 miles long, between Paris and Lyon on the French Autoroute in 1980. A more recent contender for the title was a 100 mile long traffic Jam, near Hamburg in Germany in 1993

Running on hot air was once though of as a good way of powering a car. In Chicago , the makers of the 1902 Caloric claimed that the engine could be started by using a high-power blowtorch to blast the cylinder head, until it got red hot and the petrol in the engine cylinders ignited, I guess safety was not a main concern!

In the twenties, fabric materials were used to cover car bodywork – partly because it saved in weight. Most fabrics were green or blue, but towards the end of the decade, car makers started using tartan fabrics to brighten up their cars. Surprisingly enough, the trend soon died!.

The first known automobile was built in 1668, it was a two foot long steam powered model constructed by Ferdinand Verbiest, a Belgian Jesuit preist.

License plates were introduced by the Parisian police in 1893. They were first introduced to Britain in 1903, the first British number plate A1 was secured by the second Earl Russell for his 12 BHP Napier.

The longest custom-built car is the 16-wheeled, 60ft (18.3 meters) Cadillac limousine. It features a swimming pool, hot tub, helipad, satellite dish, crystal chandelier and has ‘ample luggage space’.

The most powerful piston engine car is ‘Quad Al’, designed and built in 1964 by Jim Lytle. It features four Alison V12 aircraft engines with an engine size of 112.1 Liters and can put out 12,000 BHP, it has 4 wheel drive, 8 wheels, 96 exhaust pipes, and weighs 2958 Kg!

Currently, the most powerful car on the road is the 6-wheeled, Jameson-Merlin, powered by a 27 Litre, 1760 BHP Rolls Royce V12 Merlin engine, it weighs 2.65 tons and can travel 300 miles on its 60 gallon tank.

The fastest time for removing a car engine, and replacing it is 42 seconds for a Ford Escort, on 21 November 1985.

The first patrol cars owned by the British Metropolitan Police were so slow, that they couldn’t even break the 20 mph speed limit.

Adolf Hitler had a false floor fitted into his Mercedes 770K, making him look 5 inches taller, when he stood up in the car.

To test noises, Saab produced an acoustic hall, that was so effective that you could hear your own heart beat. So committed to are Saab to their sounds, that they decided that the seatbelt inertia reel should make a classy ‘r-r-r-r-r-p’ noise when the belt was put on, not a cheap, tacky ‘tchk-tchk-tchk-tchk’ noise.

Funny Car Stories

Charles Rodney of Calgary , Canada invited the golfers at his local course to use his 1985 Saab for target practise, as he was fed up with the repair bills.

Tom Steele, an American DJ from South Carolina was fined after staging a bizarre tribute to blind singer Ray Charles, where he drove blindfolded, with a friend giving him directions from the passenger seat.

An Indonesian man, came to the rescue after driving a corpse 93 miles to the funeral on his moped after the herse broke down.

Australian detectives are investigating the theft of a car in Melbourne – from a Mrs. Carless.

A Danish man has been banned for drunk driving, after being spotted overtaking a car at 20 mph on his lawnmower, just after leaving the pub.

A spate of dead Minis in the early Sixties was traced back to an unusual source – a red feather duster. The Minis were coughing due to carburettors clogged by red hairs, the hairs were traced to a feather duster owned by one of the cleaning ladies on the production line.


The nitromethane-powered engines of NHRA Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars produce approximately 7,000 horsepower, about 37 times that of the average street car?

One cylinder of the eight cylinders of a Top Fuel dragster or a Funny Car produces 750 horsepower, equaling the entire horsepower output of a NASCAR engine?

The gasoline-powered engines of NHRA Pro Stock cars produce about 1,200 horsepower, about eight times that of the average street car?

An NHRA Top Fuel dragster accelerates from 0 to 100 mph in less than .8-second, almost 11 seconds quicker than it takes a production Porsche 911 Turbo to reach the same speed?

An NHRA Top Fuel dragster leaves the starting line with a force nearly five times that of gravity, the same force of the space shuttle when it leaves the launching pad at Cape Canaveral?

An NHRA Funny Car is slowed by a reverse force more than seven times that of gravity when both parachutes deploy simultaneously?

NHRA Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars consume between four and five gallons of fuel during a quarter-mile run, which is equivalent to between 16 and 20 gallons per mile?

NHRA Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars use between 10 and 12 gallons of fuel for a complete pass, including the burnout, backup to the starting line, and quarter-mile run?

NHRA Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars travel the length of more than four football fields in less than five seconds?

NHRA Top Fuel dragsters can exceed 280 mph in just 660 feet?

From a standing start, NHRA Top Fuel dragsters accelerate faster than a jumbo jet, a fighter jet, and a Formula One race car?

A  fuel pump for an NHRA Top Fuel dragster and Funny Car delivers 65 gallons of fuel per minute, equivalent to eight bathroom showers running at the same time?

The fuel-line pressure for NHRA Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars is between 400 and 500 pounds, about 20 times greater than the pressure on passenger-car fuel pumps?

Depending on size and angle, the large rear wing on an NHRA Top Fuel dragster develops between 4,000 and 8,000 pounds of downforce?

The 17-inch rear tires used on NHRA Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars wear out after four to six runs, or about two miles? Some brands of passenger-car tires are guaranteed for 80,000 miles.

It takes just 15/100ths of a second for all 7,000 horsepower of an NHRA Top Fuel dragster engine to reach the rear wheels?

It’s desirable for an NHRA Top Fuel dragster to race with its front wheels inches off the ground for about the first 200 feet of the run? This ensures proper weight transfer to the rear wheels, a crucial part of a good launch and quick run.

The nitromethane used to power the engines of NHRA Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars costs about $16 per gallon?

Sources: NHRA Communications and Technical Departments, NHRA race teams, motorsports equipment manufacturers



American made parts account for only 1% of the Chrysler Crossfire. 96% of the Ford F-150 Heritage Truck is American.

In September 2004, a Minnesota state trooper issued a speeding ticket to a motorcyclist who was clocked at 205 mph.

China is the world’s largest market for BMW’s top of the line 760Li. This car sells for $200,000 in China – more than almost all people in China make in a lifetime.

There are 40,000 New York City cab drivers, who collectively drive more than a million miles each day.

A deployed air bag adds as much as $2,000 to the cost of repairing a vehicle. That’s enough for insurance companies to often declare the car “totaled”.

Albert Einstein never knew how to drive a car.

The drive-through line on opening day at the McDonald’s restaurant in Kuwait City, Kuwait was at times seven miles long

The first Fords had engines made by Dodge.

It’s against the law to slam your car door in Switzerland.

There is enough fuel in a full tank of a jumbo jet to drive an average car four times around the world.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles has issued six driver’s licenses to six different people named Jesus Christ.

Chrysler built B29’s that bombed Japan. Mitsubishi built the Zeros that tried to shoot them down. Both companies now build cars in a joint plant called Diamond Star

Race car is a palindrome

There are four cars and eleven light posts on the back of a ten-dollar bill.

One car out of every 230 made was stolen last year!

A car uses 1.6 ounces of gas idling for one minute. Half an ounce is used to start the average automobile!

The two-foot long bird called a Kea that lives in New Zealand likes to eat the strips of rubber around car windows!

123,000,000 cars are being driven down the US highways!


There were only 107 models of the Ford GT40 made of which only 7 were road cars.

An airbag moves up to 4500 mph within a second when triggered. A force of 200g is generated. They are designed to explode at an impact speed of 19 mph. The bag inflates within 40 milliseconds of a crash.

In 1924 a Ford automobile cost $265.

The first production Mustang, a white convertible with red interior, rolled off the assembly line in Dearborn, Michigan on March 9, 1964,

The Camaro name was contrived with no meaning, General Motors researchers found the word in a French dictionary as a slang term for “friend” or “companion.” Ford Motor Company researchers discovered other definitions, including “a shrimp-like creature” and an arcane term for “loose bowels!”

In January of 1966 the Dodge Charger was introduced to viewers of the Rose Bowl.  Touted as the new leader of the “Dodge Rebellion”, the 1966 The Charger’s introduction coincided with the introduction of the new street version of the 426 Hemi.

The Ford Thunderbird entered production for the 1955 model year as a two-seater sporty car but was never sold as a full-blown sports car.

The Viper appeared as a concept at the North American International Auto Show in 1989.

Carroll Shelby piloted a pre-production Viper as the Indianapolis 500 pace car.

The Chevrolet Corvette was the first all-American sports car built by an American car manufacturer.