Fastest Cars In The World From The 1940s

WWII shut down the auto industry so 1940s cars are an interesting bunch. We have gone into a lot of detail about the industry in the 1940s in our Best Looking Cars From The 1940s and Best Sports Cars Of The 1940s posts so we won’t do that again here. 

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. 

CarYearBrandEnginePower (bhp)Torque (lb/ft)0-60 mph (seconds)Top Speed (mph)Full Car Name
Trabant 601https://www.supercars.net/blog/1964%E2%86%921990-trabant-601/1964TrabantInline-22640217019401964→1990 Trabant 601
MG TChttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1947-mg-tc/1947MGInline 45464227319401947 MG TC
Lancia Apriliahttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1948-lancia-aprilia/1948LanciaInline-44877.719401948 Lancia Aprilia
Porsche 356 No. 1https://www.supercars.net/blog/1948-porsche-356-no-1/1948PorscheFlat-4358419401948 Porsche 356 No. 1
Horch 853A Sportroadsterhttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1937-horch-853a-spezialcabriolet-gallery/1937HorchInline-81208419401937→1940 Horch 853A Sportroadster
Porsche 356/2 Gmünd Coupéhttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1948%E2%86%921951-porsche-3562-gmund-coupe/1948PorscheFlat-440528819401948→1951 Porsche 356/2 Gmünd Coupé
Porsche 356/2 Gmünd Cabriolethttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1948%E2%86%921951-porsche-3562-gmund-cabriolet/1948PorscheFlat-440528819401948→1951 Porsche 356/2 Gmünd Cabriolet
Fiat 1100 Shttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1947-fiat-1100-s/1947FiatInline-4509319401947 Fiat 1100 S
Rolls-Royce Phantom IIIhttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1947-rolls-royce-phantom-iii-labourdette-vutotal-cabriolet/1947Rolls-RoyceV1212093.219401947 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Labourdette Vutotal Cabriolet
Maserati A6 1500https://www.supercars.net/blog/1946%E2%86%921950-maserati-a6-1500/1946MaseratiInline-6659519401946→1950 Maserati A6 1500
Cisitalia 202 SMM Nuvolari Spiderhttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1948-cisitalia-202-smm-nuvolari-spider/1948CisitaliaInline-46010019401948 Cisitalia 202 SMM Nuvolari Spider
Cisitalia 202https://www.supercars.net/blog/1946-cisitalia-202/1946CisitaliaInline-47010019401946 Cisitalia 202
Mercedes-Benz 770 Großerhttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1930%E2%86%921943-mercedes-benz-770-groser-3/1930Mercedes-BenzInline-823010019401930→1943 Mercedes-Benz 770 Großer
Mercedes-Benz 770 Großerhttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1930%E2%86%921943-mercedes-benz-770-groser-2/1930Mercedes-BenzInline-823010019401930→1943 Mercedes-Benz 770 Großer
Bentley Mark VIhttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1946%E2%86%921952-bentley-mark-vi/1946BentleyInline-6N/A1510019401946→1952 Bentley Mark VI
Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 ‘Villa D’Este’https://www.supercars.net/blog/1949-alfa-romeo-6c-2500-villa-deste/1949Alfa RomeoInline-611010319401949 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 ‘Villa D’Este’
Ferrari 125 Sporthttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1947-ferrari-125-sport/1947FerrariV127210619401947 Ferrari 125 Sport
AAC Tipo 815https://www.supercars.net/blog/1940%E2%86%921940-aac-tipo-815/1940AACInline-87210619401940→1940 AAC Tipo 815
Cisitalia-Abarth 204 Ahttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1948-cisitalia-abarth-204/1948Cisitalia-AbarthInline-48310619401948→1950 Cisitalia-Abarth 204 A
Ferrari 166 MM Barchettahttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1948%E2%86%921950-ferrari-166-mm-barchetta-2/1948FerrariV1214011710619401948→1950 Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta
Maserati A6GCShttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1947-maserati-a6gcs/1947MaseratiInline-613011819401947 Maserati A6GCS
Tucker 48https://www.supercars.net/blog/1948-tucker-48/1948TuckerFlat-61663721012019401948 Tucker 48
BMW 328 Berlin-Rome Roadsterhttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1941-bmw-328-berlin-rome-roadster/1941BMWInline-611012519401941 BMW 328 Berlin-Rome Roadster
BMW 328 Mille Miglia Roadsterhttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1940-bmw-328-mille-miglia-roadster/1940BMWInline-613512519401940 BMW 328 Mille Miglia Roadster
Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Competizionehttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1946-alfa-romeo-6c-2500-competizione/1946Alfa RomeoInline-614512519401946 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Competizione
Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sporthttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1948%E2%86%921951-talbot-lago-t26-grand-sport/1948Talbot-LagoInline-619012519401948→1951 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport
Jaguar XK120 Alloy Roadsterhttps://www.supercars.net/blog/jaguar-xk120-alloy-roadster/1948JaguarInline-61609.813319401948→1950 Jaguar XK120 Alloy Roadster
Delahaye 145https://www.supercars.net/blog/1946-delahaye-145/1946DelahayeInline-624514319401946 Delahaye 145
Veritas Rennsporthttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1948%E2%86%921952-veritas-rennsport/1948VeritasInline-6N/A14719401948→1952 Veritas Rennsport
Maserati 4CLT/48https://www.supercars.net/blog/1948-maserati-4clt48/1948MaseratiInline-426016119401948 Maserati 4CLT/48
Talbot-Lago T26 Coursehttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1948-talbot-lago-t26-course/1948Talbot-LagoInline-6N/A16819401948 Talbot-Lago T26 Course
Maserati 8CLhttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1940-maserati-8cl/1940MaseratiInline-841517819401940 Maserati 8CL
DAIMLER-BENZ T80https://www.supercars.net/blog/daimler-benz-t80/1939Daimler-BenzV12296439319401939→1940 DAIMLER-BENZ T80
Stanguellini 750 Sport Internazionalehttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1948%E2%86%921958-stanguellini-750-sport-internazionale/1948StanguelliniInline-475N/A19401948→1958 Stanguellini 750 Sport Internazionale
Aston Martin DB1 2-Litre Sportshttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1948%E2%86%921950-aston-martin-db1-2-litre-sports/1948Aston MartinInline-490N/A19401948→1950 Aston Martin DB1 2-Litre Sports
Ford Super Deluxe Sportsmanhttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1946%E2%86%921948-ford-super-deluxe-sportsman/1946FordV8100N/A19401946→1948 Ford Super Deluxe Sportsman
Mercury Sportsman Convertiblehttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1946-mercury-sportsman-convertible/1946MercuryV8100N/A19401946 Mercury Sportsman Convertible
Dodge Custom Derham Coupehttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1948-dodge-custom-derham-coupe/1948DodgeInline-6102N/A19401948 Dodge Custom Derham Coupe
Chrysler Town & Country ‘Barrelback’ Wagonhttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1942-chrysler-town-country-barrelback-wagon/1942ChryslerN/A108N/A19401942 Chrysler Town & Country ‘Barrelback’ Wagon
Chrysler Town & Country ‘Barrelback’ Wagonhttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1941-chrysler-town-country-barrelback-wagon/1941ChryslerN/A108N/A19401941 Chrysler Town & Country ‘Barrelback’ Wagon
Lincoln Ford 40 Special Speedsterhttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1940-lincoln-ford-40-special-speedster/1940LincolnV8120N/A19401940 Lincoln Ford 40 Special Speedster
Packard One Twenty Model 1901https://www.supercars.net/blog/1939%E2%86%921940-packard-one-twenty-model-1901/1939PackardInline-8120225N/A19401939→1940 Packard One Twenty Model 1901
Packard One Twenty Model 1801https://www.supercars.net/blog/1939%E2%86%921940-packard-one-twenty-model-1801/1939PackardInline-8120225N/A19401939→1940 Packard One Twenty Model 1801
Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS ‘Torpedino Brescia’https://www.supercars.net/blog/1940-alfa-romeo-6c-2500-ss-torpedino-brescia/1940Alfa RomeoInline-6120N/A19401940 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS ‘Torpedino Brescia’
Delahaye 135 MShttps://www.supercars.net/blog/delahaye-135-ms/1946DelahayeInline-6130N/A19401946→1952 Delahaye 135 MS
BMW 328 Mille Miglia Kamm Coupéhttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1940-bmw-328-mille-miglia-kamm-coupe/1940BMWInline-6130N/A19401940 BMW 328 Mille Miglia Kamm Coupé
Chrysler Town & Country Convertiblehttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1946-chrysler-town-country-convertible/1946ChryslerInline-8135N/A19401946→1948 Chrysler Town & Country Convertible
Ferrari 166 MM Zagato Panoramicahttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1948-ferrari-166-mm-zagato-panoramica/1948FerrariV12140117N/A19401948 Ferrari 166 MM Zagato Panoramica
Chrysler Thunderbolthttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1941-chrysler-thunderbolt/1941ChryslerInline-6143N/A19401941 Chrysler Thunderbolt
Chrysler Newport Dual Cowl Phaetonhttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1941-chrysler-newport-dual-cowl-phaeton/1941ChryslerInline-8143N/A19401941 Chrysler Newport Dual Cowl Phaeton
Daimler DE-36https://www.supercars.net/blog/1946-daimler-de-36/1946DaimlerInline-8150N/A19401946→1953 Daimler DE-36
Buick Roadmaster Riviera Coupehttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1948-buick-roadmaster-riviera-coupe-3/1948BuickInline-8150N/A19401948 Buick Roadmaster Riviera Coupe
Cadillac Series 62 Saoutchik Cabriolethttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1948-cadillac-series-62-saoutchik-cabriolet/1948CadillacV8150N/A19401948 Cadillac Series 62 Saoutchik Cabriolet
Packard Super-8 One-Eightyhttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1940-packard-super-8-one-eighty/1940PackardInline-8160N/A19401940 Packard Super-8 One-Eighty
Delahaye 175 Shttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1948-delahaye-175-s/1948DelahayeInline-6165N/A19401948 Delahaye 175 S
Buick Roadmaster Convertiblehttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1941-buick-roadmaster-convertible/1941BuickN/A165N/A19401941 Buick Roadmaster Convertible
Talbot-Lago T26 Recordhttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1948-talbot-lago-t26-record/1948Talbot-LagoInline-6170N/A19401948 Talbot-Lago T26 Record
Tucker Convertiblehttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1948-tucker-convertible/1948TuckerN/AN/AN/A19401948 Tucker Convertible
Lincoln Continentalhttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1946%E2%86%921948-lincoln-continental/1946LincolnN/AN/AN/A19401946→1948 Lincoln Continental
Lincoln Continentalhttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1942-lincoln-continental/1942LincolnV12N/AN/A19401942 Lincoln Continental
Lincoln Continentalhttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1940-lincoln-continental/1940LincolnN/AN/AN/A19401940 Lincoln Continental
Bugatti Type 73Chttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1944-bugatti-type-73c/1944BugattiN/AN/AN/A19401944 Bugatti Type 73C
Cisitalia D46https://www.supercars.net/blog/1945-cisitalia-d46/1945CisitaliaInline-4N/AN/A19401945 Cisitalia D46
Cadillac Sixty Specialhttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1940-cadillac-sixty-special/1940CadillacN/AN/AN/A19401940 Cadillac Sixty Special
Cadillac Series 62 Convertible Coupehttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1947-cadillac-series-62-convertible-coupe/1947CadillacN/AN/AN/A19401947 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible Coupe
Cadillac Series 62 Convertible Coupehttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1946-cadillac-series-62-convertible-coupe/1946CadillacN/AN/AN/A19401946 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible Coupe
Cadillac Series 62 Convertible Coupehttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1941-cadillac-series-62-convertible-coupe/1941CadillacN/AN/AN/A19401941 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible Coupe
Jaguar Mark IVhttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1945%E2%86%921949-jaguar-mark-iv/1945JaguarN/AN/AN/A19401945 Jaguar Mark IV
Norman E. Timbs Buick Streamlinerhttps://www.supercars.net/blog/1948-norman-e-timbs-buick-streamliner/1948BuickInline-8N/AN/A19401948 Norman E. Timbs Buick Streamliner