Production car speed record

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A Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport, the world's fastest road legal production car with a top speed of 267.856 mph (431.072 km/h).
Top speed (mph) by year

This is a list of the world's record-breaking top speeds achieved by a street-legal production car (as opposed to concept cars or modified cars). For the purposes of this list eligible cars are defined in the lists rules. This list uses the same definition as the List of automotive superlatives for the sake of consistency and because the term production car is otherwise undefined. The Benz Velo, as the first production car, is an exception.

Difficulties with claims[edit]

Comparing claimed speeds of the fastest production cars in the world, especially in historical cases, is difficult as there is no standardized method for determining the top speed and no central authority to verify any such claims. Examples of the difficulties faced were shown up in the dispute between Bugatti and Hennessey over which car was the world's fastest.[1]

The Hennessey Venom GT, a car which doesn't qualify for several reasons.

Bugatti Veyron limiter removal[edit]

The current Guinness World Records title holder, the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, was certified for the average top speed achieved on a two-way run, registering 431.072 km/h (267.856 mph). Bugatti made 5 Veyrons named the World Record Edition out of the initial production run of 30 Super Sports, all of which would be able to achieve this speed if the limiter was removed. With the limiter the Veyron SS goes 415 km/h (257.87 mph). Bugatti did not sell any with the limiter removed. Initially, when challenged by Hennessey, Guinness decided the Bugatti was ineligible because the test car was deemed as being modified. Bugatti sought a review of the decision and Guinness, after a review by a panel of experts, considered removing the limiter was not a modification and thereby making the car eligible for their publication.[2] To this day, even though the Bugatti Chiron is believed to have a top speed of around 463 km/h (288 mph), it is not verified, and with the limiter it has a non-verified top speed of 261 mph (420 km/h). As of August 2017, the Veyron SS is still classified as the fastest production car in the world.

Hennessey Venom GT one direction run[edit]

In 2014, a Hennessey Venom GT was recorded at 435.31 km/h (270.49 mph), but as the run was in one direction only and only 12 cars (+1 prototype) were ever made, it does not qualify under the Guinness Book of Records or this list's criteria as the world's fastest production car.[3] Guinness accepted it as production car, however.[4][5]

List rules[edit]

Because of the inconsistencies with the various definitions of production cars, dubious claims by manufacturers and self-interest groups, and inconsistent or changing application of the definitions this list has a defined set of requirements. For further explanation of how these were arrived at see the above link.

Post 1945 and over 124 mph (200 km/h) only[edit]

This list is also limited to post World War II production road cars which reached more than 124 mph (200 km/h), older cars are excluded even if they were faster. The Benz Velo as the first petrol driven car is the only exception.

Production car definition[edit]

For the purposes of this list a production car is defined as:

  1. being constructed principally for retail sale to consumers, for their personal use, and to transport people on public roads (no commercial or industrial vehicles are eligible);
  2. having had 25 or more instances made by the original vehicle manufacturer, and offered for commercial sale to the public in new condition (cars modified by either professional tuners or individuals are not eligible); and
  3. being street-legal in their intended markets, and capable of passing any official tests or inspections required to be granted this status.

Measurement of top speed[edit]

To establish the top speed for cars at least since the 1990s the requirement is, in addition to the above, an independent road test with a two-way run. The mean of the top speed for both runs is taken as the car's top speed.[6][7] In instances where the top speed has been determined by removing the limiter, the test met these requirements, and the car is sold with the limiter on then the limited speed is accepted as meeting this requirement.

Record-breaking production vehicles[edit]

Year Make and model Top speed of production car Number built Comment
1894 Benz Velo 12 mph
(20 km/h)[8]
1,200 First production car
1949 Jaguar XK120 124.6 mph
(200.5 km/h)[9]
12,000 Some publications cite the XK120's timed top speed as almost 133 mph / 214 km/h in 1949.[10] The XK120 that achieved this speed was a tuned prototype, not a production car. The production car reached 124.6 mph (200.5 km/h).
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL 150.7 mph
(242.5 km/h)[11]
1,400 Two-way average speed tested by Automobil Revue in 1958. 245 km/h (152.2 mph) reached in one direction.
1959 Aston Martin DB4 GT 152 mph
(245 km/h)[12]
75 Tested by Autosport in December 1961.
1963 Iso Grifo GL 365 161 mph
(259 km/h)[13]
over 400 Tested by Autocar in 1966. A total of 412 Iso Grifos were built 1963–1974.[14]
1965 AC Cobra Mk III 427 165 mph
(266 km/h)[15]
>25 Tested by Car & Driver. Top speed described as observed
1967 Lamborghini Miura P400 171 mph
(275 km/h)[16]
over 750 Tested by Motor in June 1967. Over 750 units build in 1966–1973 period, which includes P400, P400 S and P400 SV models.
1968 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona 174 mph
(280 km/h)[17]
about 1,400 Tested by Autocar in 1971.
1974 Lamborghini Countach LP400 179 mph
(288 km/h)[18]
158 Tested by Auto, Motor und Sport
1982 Lamborghini Countach LP500 S 182 mph
(293 km/h)[19]
323 Tested by Auto, Motor und Sport
1984 Ferrari 288 GTO 188 mph
(303 km/h)[20]
272 Tested by Auto, Motor und Sport in 1985.
1986 Porsche 959 197 mph
(317 km/h)[21]
337 Tested by Road and Track in 1987. The most common 959 Deluxe version reached 197 mph (317 km/h), the Sport version 198 mph (319 km/h). 29 were built in a performance-enhanced 515 hp sports version which reached 210.645 mph (339 km/h) tested by Auto, Motor und Sport at Nardo in 1988.[22][23]
1987 Ruf CTR 212.509 mph
(342 km/h)[22]
29[24] Tested by Auto, Motor und Sport at Nardò Ring in 1988
1995 Ruf CTR2 217 mph
(350 km/h)
31 Successor to the CTR, previous record holder from 1987. 16 of the 31 CTR2s were normal, while 15 were CTR2 "Sport".
1998 McLaren F1 221 mph
(355 km/h) estimated [25]
64[26] Without the rev-limiter, it was able to reach a top-speed of 240.14 mph (386.5 km/h).[27]

It still remains the world's fastest naturally aspirated production car in terms of top speed.[28]

2005 Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 253.81 mph
(408.47 km/h)
300 Recorded and verified by German inspection officials.[29]
2010 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport 257.87 mph
(415 km/h)
30 Out of the initial production run of 30, 5 cars were named the Super Sport World Record Edition. With the electronic limiter turned off all 30 were capable of 267.856 mph (431.072 km/h). When sold they were electronically limited to 257.87 mph (415 km/h). Pierre-Henri Raphanel drove the unlimited car and its top speed was verified by Guinness World Records.[30][31][2]
2017 Bugatti Chiron 261 mph
(420 km/h)
500 As tested by Juan Pablo Montoya[32]. Electronically limited. Further top speed testing scheduled for 2018.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kennedy, George (4 September 2015). "Fastest production car world not exactly clear cut". Yahoo. Retrieved 15 September 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Guinness World Records statement: Fastest Production Car". Guinness World Records. 12 April 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  3. ^ "Hennessey Venom GT Final Edition Crosses the Finish Line" (Press release). Hennessey Performance Engineering. 19 January 2017. Retrieved 29 June 2017. 
  4. ^ Nunez, Alex (24 February 2014), "The Hennessey Venom GT is the world's fastest car; Hits 270 mph on tarmac reserved for astronauts", Road & Track 
  5. ^ "Aerodynamic Test Session Results in New Top Speed for Hennessey Venom GT" (Press release). Hennessey Performance Engineering. 24 February 2014. Retrieved 29 June 2017. 
  6. ^ Guinness two-way run requirement
  7. ^ FIA two-way run requirement
  8. ^ Danielson, C. (12 September 2008). "eMercedesBenz Feature: The World's First Production Car, The Benz Patent Motor Car Velocipede Of 1894". eMercedesBenz. 
  9. ^ Stoy, Andy (15 October 2012). "Worth the Wait". Autoweek. 62 (21): 40–41. ISSN 0192-9674. But the XK120 was a post-war performance revelation, proving itself as the fastest production car in the world at the time. 
  10. ^ Hodges, David; Burgess-Wise, David; Davenport, John; Harding, Anthony (1994). The Guinness Book of Car Facts and Feats (4 ed.). London: Guinness Publishing. p. 52. ISBN 0-85112-768-1. 
  11. ^ Automobil Revue 22 January 1959
  12. ^ "John Bolster Tests the Aston Martin DB4 G.T.". Autosport. December: 778. 1961. 
  13. ^ "Autocar Road Test Number 2077". Autocar. 29 April. 1966. 
  14. ^ Oleski, Frank; Lehbrink, Hartmut. 100 Jahre Sportwagen. 
  15. ^ Car and Driver magazine August 1965
  16. ^ "Sackey, Joe. The Lamborghini Miura Bible" (PDF). 
  17. ^ "Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona review – on the road". Archived from the original on 6 May 2007. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  18. ^ Auto, Motor und Sport 9/1978
  19. ^ Auto, Motor und Sport 15/1983
  20. ^ Auto, Motor und Sport 7/1985
  21. ^ Road and Track July 1987 Egan, Peter (2016-05-29). "In 1987, The World's Fastest Cars Couldn't Catch A 211-mph Twin-Turbo Ruf". Road & Track. US. 
  22. ^ a b Auto, Motor und Sport 25/1988
  23. ^ Bernd Woytal (18 October 2015). "Ferrari F40 gegen Porsche 959: Nonplusultra-Supersportler der 80er – Auto Motor und Sport". auto motor und sport. 
  24. ^ 1987 Ruf CTR "Yellowbird" 911 Turbo Driven, Car and Driver, November 2012, Jethro Bovington
  25. ^ Robinson, Peter (August 1994). "The Finest High-Performance Production Engine in the World". Car and Driver. US. Retrieved 20 June 2017. 
  26. ^ "McLaren F1 Owners Club Tour 2014 – Photo Gallery". Sports Car Digest. 21 July 2014. 
  27. ^ "McLaren F1". Retrieved 17 January 2016. 
  28. ^ "McLaren F1". Retrieved 17 January 2016. 
  29. ^ "Bugatti Veyron". Retrieved 25 February 2011. 
  30. ^ "Fastest Production Car". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 7 March 2012. 
  31. ^ "Veyron Super Sport hits 267 mph". Retrieved 6 July 2010. 
  32. ^ "Watch the Bugatti Chiron go from 0-249mph-0". Retrieved 14 September 2017. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Wood, Jonathan (2005). The Ultimate History of Fast Cars. Parragon Publishing. ISBN 1-4054-5467-9. 
  • Brown, Langworth; Auto Editors of Consumer Guide (1998). Great Cars of The 20th Century. Publications International. ISBN 0-7853-2523-9.