Is There A Classic Car You Never Hope To Drive?
Don’t get me wrong, all vintage cars are amazing. The ones I’d never get behind the wheel of are amazing, too, but lie far outside of my personal comfort zone. You know what I’m not keen on ever driving? A pre-Second World War land speed record car.
A good example of one is the Sunbeam 1000 HP “Slug” that went down in history as the first vehicle to crack 200 mph, albeit in 1926. Apart from being the birth year of both Miles Davis and Marilyn Monroe, Prohibition was also still in full swing, Swing music wasn’t a thing, and Route 66 opened late in the year.
The world could barely dance and drivers were just getting all the way across the U.S., and Henry Segrave was out on Daytona Beach doing 203.79 mph—on tires that lasted just 3 1/2 minutes.
Its speed alone is insane, but when I realized it has more in common with a locomotive than a car, my brain immediately said, “Nope”. At 8,000 lbs, it needed two 22.4-litre V12 engines with a combined 900 horsepower, a three-speed transmission—and a final drive that relied on two heavy-duty metal chains. Segrave rightfully went down in history for conquering this beast.
Slower Pre-War stuff can be fun, too, just a bit terrifying in other ways—if you think replacing obsolete BMW computers can be a pain, imagine repairing a boiler on a steam car…
Which classic cars are you happy to leave to someone else?