What we left out from that headline was that the car that broke that world land speed record was an electric vehicle (EV) which in fact broke the world EV land speed record. Back in June, Lord Drayson, ex British minister for science & innovation and the man who founded Drayson Racing in 2007, drove Lola – the car developed by his company – to a top speed of 204mph (329kmh) at a racing track in Elvington, Yorkshire (UK).

This speed comprehensively beat the previous record of 175mph (282kmh) set in 1974 by a Battery Box General Electric car.

The Lola B12 69/EV is based on a Le Mans Series car, but with a substantial weight reduction. In fact the weight reduction is down to 1000kg (or 1 tonne) which is pretty light for any car. But when you consider that weight includes a large number of heavy electric car batteries it’s pretty impressive (in comparison an F1 car must weigh a minimum of 600kg).

To hit this low weight, Drayson Racing replaced the original bioethanol engine with an electric motor hooked up to a lightweight 850hp battery pack. They also replaced the chassis with a lightweight recycled carbon fibre one, which also served to keep air friction low.

Drayson, ever the politician, trumpeted Britain’s ‘leading position’ in the growing electric car industry. C’mon Aussies!

Car from Thomas Crown Affair breaks another world record

One of only 10 ever built, a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S NART Spyder* hit the record books as the highest price paid at auction in the world for a Ferrari – a princely US$27.5M (AUD$30.6M at latest exchange rates).

The car was sold at auction by RM Auctions in Monterey California, which is home to the celebrated Pebble Beach Concours of luxury cars held every year. Even RM were surprised at the price achieved. When it first went on sale the model was priced at just US$15,000, and RM were expecting the car to achieve the $14M-$17M mark.

The car was bought by the late Eddie Smith of Lexington, North Carolina. Mr Smith ran a successful mail order company and went on to become mayor of Lexington in the 70s. He owned several Ferraris and his son, Eddie Smith Jr said before the bidding began “this is a bittersweet moment for us. Ferraris came and went, but this one never went, thank God. We enjoyed it as a family for 45 years.”

Eddie Smith senior died in 2007 at 88 years of age and since then the car had been stored in a specially built garage. His son added that his father never wanted the car to be shut away, and even when the value went over a million dollars, he would still take it for a drive.

The auction house has not indicated who the new owner is, but word on the street is that it is a certain Lawrence Stroll, the Canadian behind the Tommy Hilfiger brand.

As we indicated in the title, Eddie Smith’s car also starred in the 1968 film, “The Thomas Crown Affair”.

Although it sold for a big figure, it did not top the highest price paid ever, which was US$35M, again for a Ferrari, a 1962 Ferrari GTO 250 race car built for Stirling Moss, which changed hands last June in a private sale.

*NART stood for North American Racing Team, which was set up in the 50s to promote Ferrari in the US; Spyder indicates the vehicle is a convertible

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/saintmarche/8283611272/sizes/m/in/photostream/