15 weird and wonderful facts you didn't know about cars

What does the Mclaren f1 have in common with an old VW?

1y ago

Over the past few months, like many people, I have been reading. I will admit, I may not have been reading any Shakespeare, but what I did find myself reading was Richard Porter's new book.

Written under his online presence 'Sniff Petrol', his new book about boring car trivia is extremely good and I would highly recommend you pick up a copy on Amazon (James May is in it too).

So, with some inspiration from his book, I decided to share 15 car facts with you that I bet you had never heard of before. Prepare to have you socks knocked off.

Fact number 1:

The McLaren F1's door mirrors are actually straight from the VW Corrado and its rear lights from the Lamborghini Diablo.

Fact number 2:

When Lotus put electric windows in the Elise all hell broke loose among the purists, but little did they know, the motorised system was actually lighter.

Fact number 3:

Volvo was the first car manufacturer to fit six- figure odometers to its cars which shows just how reliable they are.

Fact number 4:

Did you know Top Gear began in 1977 as a monthly half-hour programme only shown in the Midlands?

Fact number 5:

The Porsche 997 911 GT3 RS has so much Alcantara because the GT depeartment boss Andreas Preuninger loved it after owning several Lancia Delta Integrales.

Fact number 6:

The 'XJ' part of the Jaguar XJ is short for eXperimental Jaguar.

Fact number 7:

The Ford Mondeo was almost called the Ford Lyrus, and thank god it wasn't.

Fact number 8:

The Audi 80 and 100 were called what they were because that's how much horsepower they each had.

Fact number 9:

The Smart Roadster had the same wheelbase as the 997 generation of Porsche 911.

Fact number 10:

In the mid-90s, BMW bought the Rover Group for £800 million but sold it in 2000 for just £10.

Fact number 11:

According to a study by BMW in 2010, four out of five 1 Series owners thought their car was FWD.

Fact number 12:

The V10 engine seen in the Dodge Viper was actually made by Lamborghini.

Fact number 13:

The folding seat system in the first ever Vauxhall Zafira was actually engineered by Porsche as it was so complicated.

Fact number 14:

In 2001 the Queen took delivery of a brand new Land Rover Defender 110 which was bespokely fitted with a V8 and automatic gearbox as she was already 75 years old at this point. However, soon after receiving it she returned it and asked if they could put a manual in it.

Fact number 15:

The development and release of the 4WD version of the Lamborghini Diablo was delayed because as a lorry was transporting the prototype back from testing, thieves broke into the truck and stole it. However, the lorry and Diablo were later recovered at the port in Brindisi.

All done!

So, there you have it. 15 weird and wonderful facts I bet you didn't know about cars. Please feel free to share any others you may know as I do find them awfully amusing.

Oh, and don't forget to buy Richard's book:

What was your favourite fact?

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Comments (106)

  • Wow, eXperimental Jaguar😂

      1 year ago
  • So Americans actually can't make a performance V10 engine.

      1 year ago
    • Ford did made a V10 but never put it in a production model because the execs were not satisfied with its performance.

        1 year ago
    • It was still based on a Chrysler 360 v8 , Lamborghini just did the first engine black castings. Keep in mind Lamborghini was owned by Chrysler at the time. And I know at least the 500 production engines had to be completely rebuilt by hand in...

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        1 year ago
  • So THAT'S why i've taken a liking to the 997 GT3 RS recently! Preuninger had owned the Delta Integrale Evo several times, my favorite hot hatch of all time!

      1 year ago
    • Agreed! The 997 GT3RS is the car that cemented my love for Porsches! Seriously, if only there was a new Delta integrale today...

        1 year ago
  • 1) Rover was sold for 10 million pounds, not 10 pounds.

    2) Lambo did not build the viper V10; they engineered it (although the block is a Dodge truck block cast in aluminum instead of iron). It was built by Dodge at Conner Avenue, just like the rest of the car.

    3) Bonus fun fact: the Viper’s exterior was designed by Tom Gale...the gent who gave us the Diablo.

      1 year ago
    • I think you’ll find that BMW did in fact sell Rover for £10 to some British blokes. Do your research.

      And let’s face it, Lamborghini did more or less build that V10. I think you’ll find that without the engineers behind it, it would be a thing.

        1 year ago
    • I think you’ll find that a CAD drawing is not building an engine. Do your research.

        1 year ago
  • Shouldn't the XJ be a name for a concept car?

      1 year ago
    • It was actually used for a concept car but they just used for the production version.

        1 year ago