Top 21 Fastest Vehicles Of All Time
The endless pursuit of speed has led to the creation of some of the most incredible machines mankind has ever seen. This includes cutting-edge fighter jets, speed boats, cars and trains. Some were created in an effort to cut down on travel time, some were created to evade or pursue targets at insane speed and some were created simply for the thrill of speed. Technology moves fast, which means the development of faster and faster machines will get ever more efficient. Even the vehicles of ten years ago seem sluggish in current year. Just imagine what the future holds.
One of the most famous and top-secret military aircraft of all time, the SR-71 Blackbird first took flight in 1964.
To put the speed of the SR-71 into perspective, most commercial airliners cruise around 550-600 miles per hour. The military aircraft F-22 Raptor fighter jet has a top speed of 1,500 miles per hour, roughly. The SR-71, developed in the 1960’s, has a top speed of an astonishing Mach 3+. That translates to roughly 2,300 miles per hour.
On top of that, the SR-71 can fly at altitudes of 80,000 feet. Commercial airliners cruise at around 35,000 feet for reference.
An aircraft developed over 50 years ago that can fly across the United States in just over an hour. Not bad.
This car is not the current fastest vehicle ever created, but back in the 90’s the McLaren F1 was absolutely groundbreaking.
Before the F1 came around, the production car speed record was held by the Jaguar XJ220 (The Vector W8 held the record shortly, but had unproven claims) at 217 MPH. The F1 busted that record at 240.1 MPH.
The craziest fact is that the McLaren F1 is still the fastest production car ever when powered only by a naturally aspirated (meaning no turbochargers or electric motors) engine.
AMG GTS Speed Boat
You’ll know Mercedes from making their luxury cars, winning racing cars and sports cars like the AMG GT. But it turns out that Mercedes-AMG also likes boats. The AMG GTS is powered by electricity only. Contrary to most speed machines which are powered by gasoline, this speed boat is actually powered by electric motors and is capable of 135 MPH on the water.
To get to that insane speed, the electric motors produce an equally insane 2,200 HP. The boat is obviously styled to pair nicely with the actual Mercedes-AMG GTS road car.
In the world of bullet trains, Japan and China seem to be the pioneers of technology and speed. Many people in those countries use bullet trains to get places where air travel either isn’t available or too expensive.
Enter the Alfa-X. Set to be the world’s fastest bullet train at a claimed 250 mile per hour top speed. We should see this in operation in 2030 or so. This is fast, but it isn’t anywhere near as fast as maglev trains can travel – given the friction element.
SSC Ultimate Aero
The SSC Ultimate Aero was once the kind of production-car speed. Produced by small American car firm SSC, the Ultimate Aero was powered by a twin-turbocharged 6.3 L V8 at the time of its record breaking run.
Through its life, the SSC Ultimate Aero was revised a few times with different engines. In 2007, the car landed the production car speed record at 256 MPH after a theoretical 273 MPH was claimed.
In 2010, the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport took the SSC’s crown.
There’s the fastest production car in the world, then there’s the fastest land vehicle in the world. The simple purpose of the ThrustSSC is was simply to take that record of the fastest land vehicle ever. To achieve this, two comically massive jet engines are essentially bolted to a cockpit where the driver sits, and there’s a massive wing behind the driver to keep it planted to the ground.
The record held by the ThrustSSC stands at 760 MPH. Considerably faster than the speed of sound. The record hasn’t been attempted since 1997 with or without the ThrustSSC. Production costs on something that fast would just be immense.
The X-15 is cartoonishly fast. On top of that, along with the SR-71 Blackbird, it’s over 50 years old. Back in the days of preparing for the flight to the moon, N.A.S.A. and the US Airforce produced the highest flying and fastest military aircraft ever. The X-15.
Capable of Mach 6.7 – the equivalent to over 5,000 miles per hour – and flying at the edge of space, this was a true first of its kind. Nothing on land, sea or in the air has come close to reaching these speeds since the X-15 was created.
Japanese Maglev Train
The incredible thing about Maglev trains is their ability to travel incredibly fast because of the absence of friction-causing rails.
Maglev trains literally use magnets to levitate above the “rail” which means they can travel up to the world-record holding Japenese Maglev at 375 miles per hour.
The record was broken in 2015 during a test of the Maglev, which still stands to this day. Elon Musk has plans to try and beat that record one day.
Spirit of Australia
Sometimes, fact is crazier than fiction.
In 1978, a man by the name of Ken Warby built a speed boat made out of wood and strapped a rocket engine to it…in his backyard.
Sounds like a recipe for disaster, right? Well on October 8th 1978, Ken piloted his Spirit of Australia to a top speed of 317 miles per hour. A record that still stands to this day. Traveling at that kind of speed on water is incredibly dangerous. One slip up and the whole (in this case, wooden) structure is completely destroyed.
Bugatti Veyron Super Sport
The resurrection of Bugatti is most famous for producing one of the most famous modern cars in the world – The Bugatti Veyron.
In 2010, the Veyron Super Sport stole the title of the fastest production car in the world from the SSC Ultimate Aero by clocking a top speed of 267 MPH.
Not only is it fast, but it’s quick (there’s a difference). The Veyron Super Sport can sprint from 0-60 MPH in 2.5 seconds.
Going fast is one thing. Going fast on water is a totally different battle of wit, determination, fear and confidence.
Meet the K7- a speed boat capable of a top speed of 276 MPH thanks to a massive jet turbine. The Bluebird K7 was built in 1955 and harnesses over 3,000 horsepower. The K7 was also the first jet-engined boat and held the speed record for nearly 13 years before the Spirit of Australia came along in 1978 out of Ken Warby’s backyard.
Mikoyan MiG-25 Foxbat
During the Cold War, the Russians had to develop something to at least keep up with the SR-71 Blackbird, so they developed and released the Foxbat.
Top speeds for the Foxbat exceed Mach 3.2 or 2,455 MPH roughly. While this is slightly slower than the SR-71, the Foxbat was also made for air-to-air combat.
It has never shot down a Blackbird, but it’s uses were versatile. There are only a few of these still being used by smaller militaries as the Russians have replaced the Foxbat with something certainly more updated.
Koenigsegg Agera RS
As of 2019, this is the current fastest production car ever made by quite a large margin. The Koenigsegg Agera is powered by a twin-turbocharged V8 engine that outputs over 1,000 horsepower. This enables the car to break records and necks at 277 MPH.
Koenigsegg has also said they are able to make – and possibly already have with the Jesko – the first production car to break 300 MPH. If true, that will be quite hard to beat.
The problem with that sort of speed is how fast the tires will get destroyed, the rate of fuel consumption and the weight of the air passing by the car. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.
The F-111 was not only incredibly fast, but very capable as well.
The F-111 was able to travel at Mach 2.5 or well over 1,900 miles per hour. Along with the speed, the F-111 was able to carry massive bombs and other fire power on board.
One of the defining features of the F-111 Aardvark is its variable sweep wing, meaning the wings could retract and extend. The aircraft didn’t see much service, unfortunately. The concept proved to be too expensive and complex for the time being, and it was shelved.
The Millennium 140 is a super yacht 140 feet in length (apparent by the name) that is capable of traveling at 80 miles per hour on the water.
To get to that speed with a fully-loaded super luxury yacht, you need power; and lots of it. The Millennium 140 has two 18-cylinder Diesel engines good for a combined 10,870 HP. Plenty of juice for a boat 140 feet in length and a 15,000 gallon tank.
Built in 2004, the Millennium 140 is still the fastest superyacht in the world to this day. Quite fittingly, the owner of the boat named her “The World is Not Enough”.
Chinese Maglev Train
While still in its conceptual phases, the Chinese Maglev aims to take the crown of fastest Maglev train in the world from the Japanese.
As proposed, the Chinese maglev will be capable of traveling at roughly 372 miles per hour. Production is slated for the Maglev train in 2021- after which extensive testing will be done. It still has yet to prove itself on the rails (or off of them, since it’s a maglev train) but we’re sure the Japanese may want the title back shortly after. All while aiding people to get to where they need to go, faster.
Hennessey Venom GT
Another American Supercar designed for full-on speed by the mad scientists of Hennessey. Hennessey is an American car tubing company that simply specializes in making fast cars even faster. The Venom GT is the epitome of this.
The Venom GT is capable of a top speed of 265 MPH even with the roof off, making it the world’s fastest convertible ever. This car also held the fastest car ever title for a while before Koenigsegg tested the Agera RS.
Bombardier Global 6000
The current fastest passenger plane in the world is the Bombardier Global 6000.
It’s the fastest business class out there, capable of a top speed of 682 miles per hour. Incredibly fast for such a small aircraft.
At 682 miles per hour, the 6000 is able to outpace even larger commercial airliners with massive jet engines.
Only the elite can handle the price tag, though. Before take off, you’d be paying up $60 million for the jet. While you won’t get to your destination the fastest in the world, you’ll most definitely be comfortable.
While it’s not the fastest machine out there by a very long shot, the FV101 Scorpion certainly has one quality that most vehicles don’t: It’s a tank.
The Scorpion can travel at 50 miles per hour – which is absolutely horrifying if you’re the enemy. If 50 miles per hour isn’t fast enough to catch you, it’s doubtful you’d be able to escape one of the shells shot out of it.
The FV101 Scorpion is the world’s fastest tank and it only has 190 HP.
Fastest Formula 1 Car
Formula 1 is the fastest and more technologically advanced racing on the planet – as it has been for over 50 years.
However, even with contestant rule changes and new cars, the fastest F1 car speed recorded ever was back in 2005 at 231 miles per hour by Juan Pablo Montoya.
That may seem slow in standards of even road car top speeds, but remember – Formula 1 cars produce insane amounts of downforce, which inhibits top speed. In the name of handling at high speeds – something Formula 1 Cars need plenty of.
Kawasaki Ninja H2R
The Kawasaki Ninja has always been the go-to for speed junkies on sports bikes. The H2R, however, is on a totally different level.
Power comes from a supercharged I-4 engine that produces an insane 310 horsepower on a sports bike that barely weighs more than some of its drivers.
The speed is immense at 249 miles per hour. You’re basically sitting on a missle. Luckily, this thing is only made for the track where the speed is safest.