Electric record

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It is always nice when a restored or replica car proves able to reproduce the performance of the original, and D Lambert’s replica of the electric-powered Jenatzy La Jamais Contente, presented at the 1988 VSCC Colerne speed trials, has done just that. With this car Camille Jenatzy raised the World Land Speed Record to 41.42 mph at Archores in 1899, and later to 49.92 mph, then to 65.79 mph after a great battle against Comte Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat and his electric Jeantaud. Thus the Belgian driver was the first to officially exceed 100 kph and 60 mph, in his bullet shaped, top-heavy, tiller-steered car.

The replica has recently been timed at 69.98 mph, but over a quarter-mile, whereas the LSR cars of ninety years ago were timed over the flying kilometre. Autocar & Motor hails Lambert’s creditable run as the highest speed attained by an electric car. Wrong! At Hockenheim in 1971, Dr G von Opel set a flying kilometre record of 117.35 mph for a two-way run, with a GT Opel powered by MO Bosch motors developing 88kW, fed by 280-cell Varta battery-packs. And in 1974 at Bonneville a three-wheeled electric car was timed at 175.061 mph.

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