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What is the World’s Fastest Street-Legal Production Car?

Updated March 27, 2014

Back in 1894, the world’s first production car, the Mercedes Velocipede, was the first and, thus, the fastest. Approximately 1200 of these vehicles were built and the first automobile speed record was set at 12 mph. Since then, automakers have been locked in a competition to build faster cars capable of claiming the speed title.

In the past 60+ years, super cars have continued to see increases in both performance and price, with world records held at different times by such iconic brands as Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Aston Martin, Iso Rivolta, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche, McLaren, SSC and Bugatti. When the Ferrari F40 eclipsed the 200 mph barrier in 1987, it was similar to when Roger Bannister ran the first four-minute mile in 1954. Soon, many started doing it, eventually shaving nearly 17 seconds from the four-minute psychological obstacle. Today, a sports car that can top 200 mph has become almost mundane.

The Bugatti Veyron


Bugatti has held the world production-car speed record three separate times in the last twenty years and looks to be about to do it again with the new Vitesse. In 1991, a Bugatti EB110 GT set a speed record of 209 mph, capturing the title from the Ferrari F40 after its four-year reign. In 2005 another Bugatti, the EB 16.4 Veyron, set a new record by hitting 253 mph. The McLaren F1, which had held the title since 1993 with a speed of 231 mph, remains the fastest production-car utilizing a naturally aspirated engine.

Two and one-half years later, an SSC Ultimate Aero TwinTurbo edged out the Bugatti by turning in a speed of 256 mph, only to give it up to a new, up-dated Bugatti EB 16.4 Veyron Super Sport on June 26, 2010. The Super Sport was verified and recorded by the Guinness World Records at 258 mph. A total of 30 Super Sports were manufactured, 25 of which have their speed electronically limited to the 258 mph mark. The other five, dubbed the Super Sport World Record Edition, are said to be able to reach speeds of more than 267 mph.

The Super Sport is powered by an 8.0L, 16-cylinder, 64-valve engine with quad-turbochargers. It has a seven-speed, direct-shift automatic transmission and delivers 1200-hp and 1106-ft/lbs. of torque. Fuel economy is estimated at 8/13-mpg city/highway. It goes 0-60 in 2.4 seconds, 0-100 in five seconds and does the quarter mile in 10.2 seconds, reaching a speed of 142.0 mph.





Calvin Escobar
About Calvin Escobar

The Car scene is so diverse Where I come from, most enthusiasts recognize the amazing engineering (particularly the engines). The bulk of the ridicule originates from the manner in which many of the vehicles are modded/maintained. Thus, the jokes and or hate tends to be aimed more at the owner rather than the machine. All of which makes seeing properly sorted old Toyota's and Hondas at car meets, auto shows, and track days all the more refreshing.

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