Fastest Car of the 1900s

Dec 28, 2023

In the space of a century, it is unbelievable just how much the automotive industry has progressed. Engines, safety features and in car technology have all advanced to levels higher than anyone could have ever anticipated in the early 20th century. Because of this, we thought that it would be interesting for us to take a look at the fastest vehicles of the past 100 years.

1920s – Duesenberg Model J

One notable aspect of the 1920s was the emergence of the luxury automobile industry, and one of the most iconic and prestigious cars of that time was the Duesenberg Model J. Duesenberg isn’t one of the manufacturers that comes to mind for many drivers these days but in the early 20th century they were very much at the forefront of the market before coming defunct in the late 1930s. Duesenberg was an American automotive brand founded in Indiana that focused on luxury automobiles and race vehicles. One of their most notoble vehicles was the Model J. Introduced in 1928, the Model J was renowned for its exceptional performance, elegant design, and cutting-edge engineering. 

The Model J was equipped with a massive 6.9L straight edge engine which was among the most powerful of its time. This engine coupled with advanced engineering and craftsmanship, allowed the vehicle to achieve 116mph at top speed.

1930s – Duesenberg Model SJ

The Duesenberg Model SJ, an evolution of the earlier Model J, was introduced in 1932. Building upon the success of its predecessor, the Model SJ was even more powerful and luxurious, reflecting the enduring commitment of Duesenberg to craftsmanship and performance. One of the most distinctive features of the SJ was the fact that it now featured a supercharged engine. The supercharger was put in place to significantly increase the cars horsepower making it even faster than the Model J. The vehicle still featured a 6.9 straight edge engine but could produce up to 320BHP.

1940s – Jaguar XK120

As we all know, the 1940s was a very challenging era dominated by World War II. The automotive industry faced challenges as production shifted to support the war effort. However, as the war came to an end, the post-war years saw the emergence of several iconic automobiles. One vehicle that made a lasting impact on automotive history was the Jaguar XK120. Jaguar, like now, has always been one of the most luxurious and sought after car manufacturers and this was no different even in the 1940s. The British car manufacturer announced the XK120 at the London Motor Show as the first sports car since the beginning of World War II. The vehicle is incredibly stunning and was crafted with an aerodynamic design and distinctive curves whilst holstering a powerful 3.4L inline-six cylinder engine. The vehicle was names the XK120 due to the fact that the vehicles top speed was 120mph making it one of the fastest production cars to date.

1950s – Aston Martin DB4 GT

Aston Martin is a renowned British manufacturer that is synonymous with the iconic James Bond movie series. The manufacturer boasts a wide range of beautiful supercars that are capable of incredible performance and speed. One of their most celebrated models is the DB4. The Aston Martin DB4 GT was introduced in 1959 as a more potent and performance oriented version of the standard DB4, featuring distinctive styling elements designed by Carrozzerie Touring Superleggera. Under the hood, the DB4 GT was equipped with a 3.7L inline-six engine that produced around 302BHP. It also featured an aluminium body and iconic front grille which enticed many vehicle enthusiasts in the 50s.

1960s -Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

If you’re into American muscle cars then youre going to love the 1960s Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. The ZL1 was a high-performance variant of the beloved Chevrolet Camaro and was specifically designed for racing. It is incredibly rare due to its limited production and featured an all aluminum 427 Cubic Inch Engine. Differentiating itself from the rest of the vehicles so far in this list, the Camaro ZL1 stored a 7L V8 engine which was capable of achieving 430BHP. This along with the vehicles bold style and curves made the vehicle very much sought after especially in North America.

1970s – Porsche 911 Turbo

Porsche is a German automobile manufacturer that specialises in high performance sports cars, SUV’s and saloons. They have been operating since 1931 and have released some breathtaking vehicles since their debut. One of their most impressive vehicles is the Porsche 911 Turbo, a vehicle that most people have heard of even if you aren’t into cars. The Porsche 911 Turbo was notable for introducing forced induction technology to the already impressive 911 lineup. A turbocharger was introduced as well as several other design elements which made the vehicle sleeker and more aerodynamic. At the heart of the vehicle was a Turbocharged 3L V6 engine which produced around 260BHP making the vehicle one of the fastest of its decade.

1980s – Porsche 959

Similar to the 911, the Porsche 959 is another groundbreaking vehicle.The 959 stood out from the rest in that it was the first performance sports car to feature an all while drive system, built with racing in mind. The 959 has great levels of torque due to this system but also due to the fact that it was released with some brand new advanced technology at the time. Porsche’s new electronically controlled torque distribution leveled up the game proving exceptional traction and stability alongside its powerful 2.8L twin turbocharged, air cooled engine. This engine produced around 450BHP making it the fastest within their lineup at the time.

1990s – Dauer 962 Le Mans

To finish off the list, we have the Daeur 962 Le Mans. The 962 Le Mans was based on the Porsche 962 and was a sports prototype that achieved great success in endurance racing including victories at the Le Mans, hence the name. The 962 Le Mans was equipped with a 3.0L twin-turbocharged flat six engine capable of an astounding 700 BHP. The surprising fact is that although this vehicle is more akin to the likes of a race car, it was actually manufactured for road usage.