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The race was won by a new 2. Panhard won more races than any other marque in the years Jeantaud Duc EV 39 mph The challenge was almost perfectly framed, requiring the application of advanced engineering ingenuity and devil-may-care bravery in the relentless pursuit of the title of "the world's fastest. It soon became obvious to the fledgling automobile industry that getting your name in an advert wasn't nearly as good as getting your name in the story.
This initial foray into outright speed saw the record broken five times in the subsequent four months, jumping from The fastest speed recorded in that magazine contest on December 18, was the Jeantaud Duc Electric Vehicle of Count Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat subsequently known to newspaper readers as "the Electric Count" who covered a flying kilometer in 57 seconds for an average speed of At that point in time, electric cars had an edge in speed over their petrol-engined rivals, a point not often recognized because EVs did not feature in the big city-to-city races of the day.
This was almost entirely due to the difficulty they had replenishing energy reserves in provincial France. Not a great deal is known about Count Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat's motivations, but prior to his first land speed record, he competed in many of the first autoracing events in history, and in all but one event in his racing career, he chose steam or electric propulsion methods.
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Count Gaston's initial record was almost certainly set with a standard Jeantaud model and involved him covering one kilometer 0. A look at photographs of his car suggests he'd personalized the car and removed anything unnecessary — this was the high powered urban road car ofand the "Electric Count" would have been a regular sight on Paris streets, enjoying his newfound recognition and status.
Jenatzy studied electrical engineering in Brussels before moving to Paris to work in the epicenter of the new and growing electric vehicle industry. Following the initial triumph of Count Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat, Jenatzy challenged him to a run-off and the date for the showdown was 17 January Jenatzy arrived with a CGA Dogcart some early styles of automotive models were referred to as "dogcarts" after the horse drawn carriages of the same description.
Little information is available on the car other than that it was powered by one 80 cell Fulmen lead acid battery and that it established a new record of Jeantaud Duc EV As battery technology of the day was primitive in comparison to today, both cars had "spent" their batteries and no further runs were possible. Hence Jenatzy had held the record for just a few minutes, the Electric Count prevailed on the day Jenatzy's understanding of engineering alongside his prowess as a driver was to see him go on to become one of motorsport's greats.
Jeantaud Duc Profilee EV The drag coefficient was no doubt reduced with the greatest gain coming from a much smaller frontal area and the Count took the record back with a run of La Jamais Contente EV This was the first "purpose built" car for a land speed record and was appropriately named "Jamais Contente" Never Satisfied. The car used two direct drive Postel-Vinay electric motors for a total of 68 hp and it was interesting to note that both contenders for the initial record had quickly realized that aerodynamics would play a part in the ultimate outcome.
Jenatzy finally captured the speed record with a run of Jellinek's prestige car dealership ran a racing team to promote its wares, and Jellinek asked DMG Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft to produce 34 cars of his own design. His concept was to lower the centre-of-gravity of the cars at the same time as lengthening the wheelbase and widening the car, all resulting in much better roadholding.
The design that finally emanated from the drawing boards of designed in by Wilhelm Maybach and Paul Daimler is quite distinct from the stagecoach layouts inherited from the horse-drawn era, which had dominated automobile design prior to then. Most agree that this vehicle was the first modern car. I believe it should also be regarded as the world's first sports car. It was conceived with motorsport in mind, won countless races, and the entire species immediately evolved in that direction.
This is the perfect example of competition improving the breed.
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Jellinek's car and the name he chose for his business was the same pet name he had for his daughter: The car's racing debut in January at Grand Prix du Sud-Ouest was unspectacular, with teething issues perhaps resulting from the first of the 34 cars being delivered on 22 December The next competitive outing in March at Nice Speed Week produced a clean sweep of the Nice-La Turbie event, raising the average speed from the previous best of This car went into series production as the Mercedes hp and would have been the fastest road car in the world at that time, with state-of-the-art roadholding.
It was the first production car one sat "in" rather than "on". That's a clipping from the Los Angeles Herald at right above, and the image at left is of Fournier in his Morz Type Z and came from this excellent coverage of events in the Digital History project. Gardner-Serpollet "Easter Egg" Leon Serpollet patented his flash boiler inenabling a more practical and convenient power unit, and in the brothers secured backing from American Frank Gardner for the formation of the Gardener-Serpollet Company, which began producing cars in All previous photos I've seen of this car show it as an Easter Egg design, though all of them were taken in Paris where Serpollet was a well recognized regular motorist about town in the car, which must certainly have been the fastest road car in the world at the time.
The driver on this occasion is of equal interest, being American William Kissam Vanderbilt IIthe great grandson of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, and a noted racer and sportsman of the day.
Vanderbilt could buy whatever he wished in order to pursue his greatest passion, and in he chose a 60 hp four-cylinder cc Mors Model Z, driving it in the Paris-Vienna race in late June.
Knowing how fast the car was during the open sections of the Paris-Vienna race, he realized the opportunity to set a record with it, which he did. Willie K will appear again in this story. For Mors, the record was yet another of many achievements for the marque at this time, with wins in the Paris-Bordeaux and Paris-Berlin great races, making the Mors Type Z the fastest road car in the world by the later months of The above image comes of a Revs Institute article on the car and there are some awesome detail shots of a fully restored Mors Type Z.
It is a beautiful thing. Fournier had also driven in the Paris-Vienna race several months earlier and had dominated the first leg of the event with an average speed of In only beating Vanderbilt's record by the narrowest of margins, the opportunity was there to continue to create publicity for the brand by breaking the record again. That's Maurice pictured above with his passenger or riding mechanic.
The riding mechanics had an even more precarious existence than the driver without the glory or pay, and as this article from AutoWeek points out, it must have been an interesting time for them: The engine's great reciprocating masses at certain speeds match the springs' harmonics and cause the Mors to 'gallop.
Public interest was massive, with no crowd control and spectators lining the mile "racetrack" that was still in use by citizens during the race. It was also a hot day, with the cars throwing up clouds of dust which reduced visibility for both drivers and spectators.
Massive public interest sawattend the 2 am race start 20 km from Paris, and the road to Bordeaux was lined with people as cars went through. As trying to pass made things even more difficult for the spectators on the narrow roads, the starters were released one minute apart over four hours. Though more than races had been run on European public roads prior with relatively few mishaps to non-combatants, this race was pure carnage for all, with of the starters failing to reach Bordeaux and three spectators and five racers dead.
The race was stopped, the global public had its first real debate about the rights of citizens to safe passage on public thoroughfares and racing on public roads was banned.
The second historically-important debate about public safety in motorsport was precipitated just a kilometers from the course of this event at Le Mans inwhen one race car killed 84 and injured The same roads used in the first leg of Paris-Madrid race led from Paris to Bordeaux, and had been largely used for the Paris-Bordeaux race, with the winning Mors Fournier averaging The same roads had also been used in the Paris-Bordeaux race when Fernand Charron led home a Panhard finish at an average speed of 30 mph The speeds achieved by those who led the race into Bordeaux bear testimony to the quantum leap in top speed of the faster road cars in this period.
Louis would reach Bordeaux to the later confirmed rumors that his brother had died in a crash behind him. In addition to the dry rutted roads and bad visibility, with banks of unprotected spectators just meters away, it's also worth considering the woefully inadequate brakes of the era —front wheel brakes were still a decade into the future! Imagine trying to stop a car from 70 mph on a dusty dirt road with only rear wheels brakes and overwhelmed suspension?
Consider too, the wandering livestock in adjacent fields, and dogs and horses spooked by the fire-breathing unmuffled 10 liter projectiles and On the straights, the faster cars were now all running within a few miles per hour of the automobile speed record with brakes and suspension trailing behind in development compared to the motors.
Mors had added pneumatic suspension with the Type Z, but the suspension of most cars in the event had friction damping at best.
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The Mors was unquestionably the fastest road car in the world at that time. It had set four of the last five speed records, and exactly the same cars were in this race. The first five cars to Bordeaux in all averaged remarkable speed under the conditions: By comparison, the race on the same roads was won at 49 mph, the race at 30 mph and the race at AEG Electric Railcar On 28 Octoberthe AEG railcar was timed at Eugene Brillie had developed an opposed-piston engine in which each cylinder has a piston at both ends, and no cylinder head.
The engine powered the company's road cars in several versions, the largest of which was an It also ran on alcohol. Wright Brothers Flyer 6. The Wright Flyer flew just ft Despite the skies being opened at Kittyhawk, the outright world speed record and the land speed record remained one in the same for many decades after Orville Wright's maiden flight, as planes were initially not as fast as cars, and the sustained number of automobile speed record attempts pushed the automobile ever faster.
Barney became the first person to travel at over 90 mph other than by rail, and he did so using the brutal cu. At 1, rpm, the was geared for miles an hour. The Henry Ford alliance with Barney Oldfield was fortuitous for both parties.
Oldfield launched a glorious career in motorsport and appears again in this very storywhile Henry gained impetus in his ultimate quest using the record to propel him towards global recognition in many spheres. The full story is in the video below from Racing in America. Mercedes Simplex 90 PS Vanderbilt's speed pushed the record to That's Willy heading off on the run that would take the record above it's from the Vanderbilt Cup Races site which honors Vanderbilt's contribution to American automotive heritage and has an exceptionally well curated collection of images of the period, including Daytona Beach racing.
Duray was considered the lead driver, but on 31 Marchhe could only coax Louis Rigolly clocked You rarely see him in a photograph without elegant attire, a magnificent moustache and a cigarette. The Belgian adventurer was a pioneer aviator, and raced speedboats and cars at an international level 5th in the inaugural Targa Florio and he was always up for an adventure, taking the first planes to India in That's the Baron in the center of the image with the pipe, and Camille Jenatzy second from left, who was by then a Mercedes factory driver.
He covered a flying kilometer in The car was the same car the team raced in the road races up until the Paris-Madrid race of which caused racing on public roads to be banned. The time of Within three years, that record too would be broken. Darracq produced a new hp 11, cc four-cylinder car designed by Paul Ribeyrolles specifically for the land speed record attempt and on November 13,factory driver Paul Baras recorded a speed of Ross Special Steam Car With organized meets from onwards, there were 15 land speed records set on the beach prior to cessation of activities there inwhen Sir Malcolm Campbell ran Inracing for outright speed moved to the Bonneville Salt Flats.
Despite this illustrious history, there has never been a flurry of activity as intense as that witnessed in that first meeting on January 25, when three world record speeds were seen in 30 minutes.
As is the done thing at shows I left the bonnet open to show off the mighty A-Series lurking within.
Because my Metro is completely stock and very anonymous I suspect a lot people though that someone had just popped up to the square for a pint of milk. All the other bona-fide classics ended the morning with a fistful of adverts and flyers under their wipers. An outdated, tractor-like vehicle with poor dynamic qualities. And an ex-military Land Rover. A lovely and late Citroen BX 1. Owner clearly showing off by leaving it parked on its tip-toes.
It had, predictably, deflated by the time it came to leave. Never was a car better named than the Daimler Majestic. This is the last thing that irritating member of the proletariat will see before you squish him whilst on the way to buy more caviar.