Whether we’re noting the most surfboards stacked on a Humvee (282) or feting the oldest female racing driver (90 years, 106 days), human beings are obsessed with pushing the performance of our cars—not to mention our own ingenuity—to the absolute limit and beyond. Here are five of our favorite vehicular victories, ranging from the rarefied to the ridiculous.
Where’s the Fire?
If you’ve always dreamed of holding an esteemed place in the Guinness Book of World Records, cross circumnavigating the globe in a fire truck off your “to do” list. In April of 2011, Stephen Moore beat you to it, with the help of a Mercedes 1124 AF named Martha. During their nine month trek, Moore and Martha traversed 31,663 miles—more than the circumference of Earth—thereby cornering the market on record-setting rescue unit travel.
Leap of Faith
In 2009, American Johnny Greaves set the world record for the longest pickup truck ramp jump, sailing a whopping 301 feet through the air in a 3,800 pound Pro 2wd Toyota Tundra off-road race truck. It took over six tries and two different professionally-built ramps at Campo, California’s La Posta Truck Trail before the feat was confirmed by witnesses and GPS. A six-time Off Road Racing Championships title holder and history’s most prolific close-course driver, Greaves is ready to go again should the gauntlet be thrown.
Italy’s Michele Pilia gave a whole new meaning to the phrase “two wheeler,” in 2009 at Sant’Elia Stadium in Cagliari, Italy. The career stuntman garnered the dubious distinction of traveling more than 230 miles in a car driven on two wheels—the longest such distance ever recorded. A hefty chiropractor bill may have ensued, as our necks feel sore just thinking about it. The 1983 BMW 316 was modified for the attempt with features including an axle blockage, as well as an extra gas tank. There’s quite the inventory at www.ChapmanBMW.com and other Bimmer dealers across the land, but you may be hard pressed to find another whip geared up for a feat like this!
While not quite as far, Terry Grant’s 2011 two-wheel hill climb in a Nissan Juke at the Goodwood Festival of Speed is also noteworthy. No stranger to world records, Grant also earned the distinction of most “donuts” in 100 seconds—39 spins, to be exact—in his specially modified Legend single-seater.
While we’re not technically sure how this reflects on the car, it sure says something about the force of the follicle. From “Ripley’s Believe It or Not,” comes the news that India’s Kapil Gehlot in 2011 achieved a place in the oddball annals by pulling a Hyundai Accent a wince-worthy 226 feet. With his beard. And did we happen to mention he was inline skating at the time? In doing so, Gehlot broke his own record for beard-pulling, inline skating distance, having previously pulled a Mauriti Suzuki Alto 202 feet into hirsute history.
Lease to Own
If you’re in the market for a new car, why not consider the vintage 1963 Ferrari 250 GT? One of a production run of only 36, this baby goes from zero to 60 in just 6.1 seconds and tops out at a speed of 174 mph. And just think: all this can be yours for just over $17 million, earning it the Guinness Book of World Records’ most expensive car title. If you’re just not ready to make the full commitment, financing options are better than ever. What do you think the lease payment is on this one, anyway? While we can’t predict which of these records will hold and which will fall, we can say with absolute certainty that there will be no shortage of human challengers—not to mention innovations in automotive technology and car manufacturing—sure to keep making history.