100 mpg

This fuel consumption figure is seemingly unattainable by most cars and drivers. But the news that Daihatsu has got itself into the “Guinness Book of Records” by surpassing this 100 mpg barrier reminds us of a stunt organised by Morris Motors back in 1931, when a supercharged single-seater side-valve Morris Minor was specially prepared with the intention of achieving both 100 mph and 100 mpg. Driven by von de Becke (who is remembered for his Becke Special using a supercharged aged Wolseley Moth engine in a GN chassis) the racing Morris Minor was timed over the flying-start kilometre at 101.96 mph and over the fs mile at 100.30 mph at Brooklands in October 1931, being given BARC Certificates Nos 2469 and 2470 to confirm it.

The supercharger was then removed and the car was driven round a lenient circuit of public roads in the Midlands, and by judicious coasting and low speeds, a consumption of 107.4 miles on one gallon of petrol was accomplished. It was thus possible to celebrate the advent of the lowest-priced of side-valve Morris Minors with the slogan; “100 mph, 100 mpg, £100”.

This was a pure advertising stunt but what Daihatsu have done with a standard 993 cc three-cylinder 1.0 Turbo Diesel five-door £7999 Charade is quite different. With three people and luggage on board it was driven 3621 miles round the whole of the British coastline, using 35.155 gallons of diesel fuel (cost £73.77), equal to 103.01 mpg. The lowest figure was 94 mpg, the best 109 mpg. This represents a range of better than 838 miles, with the Charade’s normal 8.14-gallon tank. The drivers were John Taylor, Helen Horwood and Joanne Swift, and the overall average speed was 21.36 mph, inclusive of rest stops.

This is a remarkable feat, improving on the previous best by some 10 mpg. Subject to official confirmation it will get into the “Guinness Book”. We are sure the records recorded therein are carefully checked, although they are not necessarily recognised in official circles — thus to our knowledge, there is no RAC or FISA Fuel Economy Record. — WB