Souped-Up Bumper Car Speeds Past World Record at 100 Mph

The bumper car hit a top speed of 100 mph; the carnival ride's average speed is 5 mph.
The bumper car hit a top speed of 100 mph; the carnival ride's average speed is 5 mph. (Image credit: Guinness World Records)

A 1960s-era bumper car just got a major upgrade: It is now the fastest bumper car on Earth.

Engineer and amateur inventor Colin Furze overhauled the classic bumper car, turning it into a racing machine after being challenged by the producers of the popular British car show "Top Gear." Furze, who has previously built record-breaking vehicles like the world's fastest baby stroller and the fastest mobility scooter (a record that has since been broken), successfully built the world's fastest bumper car this time, according to Guinness World Records.

Though Furze customized a 1960s bumper car with a 600cc Honda motorbike engine to boost its speed, he kept the chassis and wheel size for a standard bumper car to preserve the vehicle's original form — as was required by the Guinness World Records rules for the title. [Hyperloop, Jetpacks & More: 9 Futuristic Transit Ideas]

Top Gear's professional driver, nicknamed "the Stig," drove the enhanced bumper car to a record-breaking speed of 100.336 mph (161.476 km/h).

"Stig is at his happiest when he's making the slow, fast — so what better way to celebrate the new series of 'Top Gear' than by taking a rusty old bumper car and converting it into the ultimate fairground speed machine," Furze said in a statement.

Furze spent about three weeks building the bumper car into a record-worthy vehicle, filming the process for his YouTube channel. In the videos, he noted the specific challenge of enhancing a bumper car's speed while maintaining the amusement park ride's small size. Furze also needed to diminish the bumper car's weight in order to reach top speeds, so he removed heavy pieces like the ride's namesake, its protective bumper.

Lucia Sinigagliesi, an adjudicator at the Guinness World Records who officiated the challenge, commended Furze's engineering.

"We're all used to seeing the Stig driving at high speeds, but he's usually in a sports car and usually on a racetrack," Sinigagliesi said. "To see him hurtle past in a classic bumper car at 100 mph was surreal, but hugely impressive."

Original article on Live Science.

Kacey Deamer
Staff Writer
Kacey Deamer is a journalist for Live Science, covering planet earth and innovation. She has previously reported for Mother Jones, the Reporter's Committee for Freedom of the Press, Neon Tommy and more. After completing her undergraduate degree in journalism and environmental studies at Ithaca College, Kacey pursued her master's in Specialized Journalism: Climate Change at USC Annenberg. Follow Kacey on Twitter.