TG.com rides shotgun in Fiat’s 21.7-litre demon
Behold, the aircraft-engined 1908 ‘Mephistopheles’, built to break records and scare humans
Posted: 20 Jun 2011
Step back into 1924. Eldridge installs a very basic reverse mechanism for his SB4 to comply with the speed record regulations after an initial 143.26mph run (which Thomas' Delage had already eclipsed with a 143.31mph record). But Ernest returned on 12 July, laid down a scorching time of 146.01mph and promptly blew the competition into the winds. The French press, upon hearing the Fiat thunder through the French commune of Arpajon, immediately nicknamed his car ‘Mephistopheles', the fabled demon from Christopher Marlowe's classic play. It's easy to see why.
To read more about Mefistofele, buy the July issue of TopGear magazine, on sale now, which comes with a free supplement on our 150 greatest Italian cars of all time.