DARRACQ 200BHP

Motor Sport News - - Club Monsters -

One of the re­mark­able suc­cess sto­ries of re­cent his­toric mo­tor rac­ing is the resur­gence of com­pe­ti­tion for Ed­war­dian cars. De­spite be­ing at least a cen­tury old, these amaz­ing leviathans are en­joy­ing a pur­ple patch and one of the most spec­tac­u­lar is the 1905 Darracq of Mark Walker.

The fear­some, skele­tal de­vice thrills fans at race meet­ings and speed events as Walker, hunched over the wheel, throws the car around like a Ford Es­cort rally car. Yet this piece of his­tory is now 111-years-old.

The Darracq was built in France in 1905 specif­i­cally as a record breaker at the very be­gin­ning of mo­tor rac­ing and land speed record break­ing. It has a very early V8 en­gine de­liv­er­ing up to 200bhp, two for­ward gears, no re­verse gear and pre­cious lit­tle in the way of brakes, with none at the front. The Darracq has no body­work, thus giv­ing it the look of a chas­sis and en­gine, with a steer­ing wheel and seat.

It ran very close to 110mph in France be­fore be­ing shipped to the US where it reached 120mph on Day­tona Beach. Al­ger­non Guin­ness, heir to the brew­ing em­pire, bought it and shipped it to Eng­land where it set a new English land speed record of 120.26mph on Salt­burn Beach in 1909.

Now, the Darracq is mak­ing head­lines once more due to the bravado and skill of Mark Walker. When in ac­tion, he is on top of the car rather than sit­ting in it and his ef­fort and de­ter­mi­na­tion is clear to see. PL

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