What we will do in this post is focus on the fastest cars of the 1940s. We pulled the horsepower, torque, 0 – 60 mph and top speed data on all the (important) cars of the 1940s and put them into one table for you. As you can imagine, the data from the 1940s has some gaps so it is a little incomplete. 0-60 mph times in particular were hard to come by.
In term of horsepower and top speed, the king of the 1940s was the DAIMLER-BENZ T80. World-renown German auto racer Hans Stuck’s pet project was to take the world land speed record and he convinced Mercedes-Benz to build a special racing car for the attempt. It was powered by a massive 44.5 liter Daimler-Benz DB 603 inverted V12 and had just under 3,000 horsepower (YIKES). Top speed was almost 400 mph but since it was a one off record breaking machine, we are going to leave it out of our kudos list.
As expected the race cars of the era, particularly the Maserati 8CL and Maserati 4CLT/48 were the top of the heap when it came to both power and outright performance. Race cars like the Veritas Rennsport and Talbot-Lago T26 Course were also impressive for the era. These race cars all had over 200 horsepower and top speeds north of 150 mph.
In terms of production cars most people wrongly list the Jaguar XK 120 as the fastest car of the 1940s with its 133 mph top speed. While the XK120 was quick and it was the fastest mass produced car of the 1940s, it wasn’t the fastest production car made during the decade. The 1946 Delahaye 145 takes the honor of the most powerful and fastest production car of the 1940s. Motivated by their racing success, Henri Chapron bought two used Delahaye Type 145 competition cars to rebody them in his own way. With such a potent chassis and graceful body design to complement it, these Coupes became Chapron’s masterwork. Only two were ever made.