In December of 1905 driver Victor Hemery broke the outright land speed record with this Darracq 200. On a dirt road outside of Paris, he did the flying kilometer at a speed of 109.025 mph which held for only two months.
The Darracq was designed by Louis Ribeyrolles and was notable for having one of the world’s first V8 engines. Ribeyrolles essentially mated two inline-4 engines to a common crankshaft. This effectively doubled the output of the existing Gordon Bennett Darracq 100 engines and saved weight by using a common crankshaft and crankcase.
Much of the engine design came from the 1904 100hp Darracqs including the Nieuport magneto and Darracq carburetor. At 25,422cc, 200 bhp was possible at 1200 rpm.
When completed, the car was sent to the Salon to Arles dirt road and Victor Hemery did four timed flying kilometer runs between milestones on the side of the road.
After achieving 109.025 mph, the car was shipped two months later to the Ormond Beach Speed Tournament near Daytona USA. It was driven by Louis Chevrolet who set a flying kilometer speed of 117.65 mph, but was beaten by the Stanley Rocket which went 121.570 mph. The following day, Darracq mechanic Victor Demogeot set an outright top speed of 122.4 mph but it wasn’t recognized in Europe as a flying kilometer.
Following the acquisition of Darracq into the Sunbeam-Alpine company, the 200 was shipped to the UK in late 1906 and sold to Sir Algernon Lee Guinness. He used at it at events like Brooklands and at numerous hillclimbs before retiring it on family property.
In 1991, the original V8 engine was located from the Guinness family and a complete car was constructed around it. The Darracq 200 was completed in time for its 100th birthday and shown for the first time at Retromobile in 2006. During the rebuild, a correct displacement of 25,422cc was discovered after being listed as a 22 liter car for 90 years!