Updated: Jan 26
Before entering into the topic of the smallest, largest, oldest, heaviest, fastest and most expensive cars in the world; I'll brief you on some basic information about the cars.
The basic information isn't that a typical car has four wheels, four doors, a steering wheel and...; not these silly things, but some other interesting things.
Facts about cars
Most of the famous car companies you are aware of, Audi, SEAT, ŠKODA, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Ducati and etc; are owned by another popular company Volkswagen Group.
Ferrari manufactures a maximum of 14 cars a day.
The first cars did not have steering wheels. They were operated by a lever.
The first-ever car built by Henry Ford in 1896 didn't have a reverse gear.
Unlike we believe it to be, electric cars running on batteries are the first cars; and then the Internal Combustion (IC) engines came into existence. And the Steam-powered cars are always the first ever cars in existence.
The terms Autonomous and automated which we generally use for cars are different. While the term autonomous means self-governing, the latter means being controlled or operated by a machine.
Oldest car ever designed in the world
As we all knew it already, the steam-powered vehicles are the oldest cars, but we are generally unaware of the oldest of them.
Cugnot Fardier is the oldest car ever made in the world.
In 1770, French inventor Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot designed and built the very first self-propelled carriage and the first prototype in 1769. The car was built for the French military and was supposed to achieve 7.8 Kmph or 48 Mph which the car never achieved.
It wasn't very successful and the project was eventually abandoned. In 1800, it is taken to the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers in Paris, where it is still on display today.
And the first nearly successful car was built in 1833 by Walter Hancock. The 4 passenger steam automobile was used for his own family's personal use and was named as the Phaeton. It was capable of over 30 MPH/ 48 Kmph and he frequently drove it to and around Regent`s Park in London. The Duke of Wellington was given a personal demonstration riding as a passenger in the 1830`s.
But his steam omnibus The Enterprise which began a regular service between London Wall and Paddington via Islington is what he is famously known for.
First Electric Car Developed
Around 1832, Robert Anderson developed the first crude electric vehicle and the first known electric locomotive was built in 1837, in Scotland by chemist Robert Davidson of Aberdeen. But it isn't until the 1870s or later that electric cars become practical.
Ending with the history of cars; cars became widely available in the early 20th century. One of the first cars accessible to the masses was the 1908 Model T, an American car manufactured by the Ford Motor Company.
Speed of Cars
The first thing which gets to your mind when you hear the word Speed is, car. Cars went from being used as transportation to the symbol of speed since their early years.
But when we want to sort cars according to the speed, then we need to classify them based on two things;
Max speed achieved by the car (theoretical or actual)
Acceleration of the car.
Fastest cars in the world based on max speed
The max speed achieved by cars is varying every decade. And as it is a matter of pride for the car companies, most of the car companies compete in the race at one time or another.
In these 140 years since the birth of automobiles, the first-ever fastest car of the decade (1890-1899) is the Stanley Runabout.
Manufactured by Stanley Motor Carriage Company, co-founded by the twins F.E and F.O Stanleys in the 1900s, the Stanley Runabout reached a max speed of 35 mph/ 56 Kmph.
In recent times, the fastest car of the decade, 2000-2009, is the Shelby SuperCars (SSC) Aero.
It reached a max speed of 257 mph/ 414 Kmph.
And the title of the fastest car is currently held by the Bugatti Chiron which went to a max speed of 304 mph/ 489 Kmph.
Isn't this the real beast?
Fastest cars in the world based on the acceleration
Typically the cars that have the max speed record are also the fastest cars even when based on the acceleration. But the list slightly changes when the companies want to try different.
Ultima Evolution Coupé, Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, Tesla Model S P100 is the fastest car in this list. It can reach the speed of 60mph/ 96.5 Kmph in 2.28 sec.
To the 1020bhp, 6.8-liter supercharged V8-engined Ultima Evolution Coupé, Dodge strapped a mammoth supercharger and other performance parts to the Challenger Hellcat to create the wheelie-pulling, 829bhp SRT Demon, and Tesla upped the largest battery pack of its Model S saloon to 100kWh, And the car reached the 60 mph in 2.28 seconds.
And if considered a single model by only one company, the Bugatti Cheron which is the fastest car in terms of max speed limit also holds the fastest car record in acceleration. It reached the record speed of 62 mph/ 100 Kmph in 2.5 sec.
Shortest and longest
I have discussed the oldest and fastest cars above, now it is time for discussing the shortest and longest cars.
Typically, the average car length is 14- 15 feet and generally have four tires with four doors. But many different companies tried reducing the size of the cars as it is clear that small size (low weight) gives more mileage.
In recent times, the smallest car we saw is the revolutionary Tata Nano which was around 10.2 feet in length. But the real smallest car is not even half the length of it.
And the smallest car in the world is, Peel P50, with a length of around 4.4 feet. It's so small that it only has 1 door and 3 mini tires. The powerful model can reach up to 55 mph/ 88 Kmph.
The car was first produced in 1962 and didn't has a reverse gear. And due to some unknown reasons, the car's production ceased in 1966 with less than 50 original produced by that time.
In 2010, the company again started its production and is currently producing in 15+ models and each in different custom colors.
And the more interesting facts about them are; they are road legal and some models are sold as self-assembly kits, where the company delivers the parts and you need to assemble like it is a toy.
Now, coming to the longest car.
The longest car in the world is the massive limousine. Called the 'American Dream', it has a total of 26 wheels, one pool, and one helicopter landing pad.
It's the world's longest car ever built and is 100 feet long. It has two driver cabins with the backseat driver controlling the rear axis in order to negotiate any turn. The inside of the car is a mini luxury world.
The car was never road legal and was always used as a promotional vehicle until its lease ended. And then the car was stored in a warehouse where it suffered major repairs.
In 2014, it was taken by a museum which later announced that it will be used to help students fix and learn from its design.
As we all knew, the greater the weight of the car, the less efficient the car is. So, the major companies try to build as lightest cars as possible and the heaviest ones are often the customized ones. Hence, it is hard to pinpoint the heaviest vehicle in the world.
But the popular heaviest production cars are the Rolls-Royce Phantom. Since the start of the production of this series, Rolls-Royce Phantom I, in 1925, it has always been in the heaviest cars list.
And the recent Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII is considered as the heaviest car in recent times. Weighing between 2.5 tonnes to 2.6 tonnes but like its brand, Rolls-Royce, it's a luxurious car even with that weight.
This beast ranges around $600,000 or around ₹ 11.1 Crore.
Most expensive car in the world
We all know that people generally spend most of their money either on the property or on the vehicles. And if I say vehicles, I ain't talking about Yachts, planes or some rockets; I'm talking about luxurious expensive cars.
But if we want to talk about luxurious expensive cars, the Rolls-Royce cars always stand top in the list.
And the Rolls-Royce Sweptail which sold around $13 million (INR 92 crores) is the most expensive model of the Rolls-Royce.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but this expensive beast is not the real most expensive beast. And here's the real most expensive beauty which you can't take your eyes off from.
La Voiture Noire Bugatti- French for 'The Black Car Bugatti'. It's the most expensive car which was sold at a groundbreaking price of $18.68 Million (INR 134 crores).
Why La Voiture Noire Bugatti costs so high?
Bugatti president S. Winkelmann describes the supercar as a “coupé with the comfort of a luxury limousine and the power of a hyper sports car”. He compares it to “the haute couture of exclusive Paris fashion designers.
For now, this is everything about cars from the smallest to largest, oldest to heaviest, fastest and the most expensive cars in the world.