Currently reading: Frankel's miscellany of motor cars
Get into the Christmas spirit with a festive Frankel factfile, and test your knowledge with some obscure automotive trivia

Have you ever wondered what lurks within the 12-cylinder brain of Autocar alumnus Andrew Frankel? Well wonder no more. 'Tis the season, so we gave the veteran of many a road test free rein to spill his knowledge here.

The resulting facts, figures and trivia should impress even the most ardent autophile. Think you know better? There are a few tricky quiz questions to give your brain a workout, too.

Random racing facts

1 Pole position for the 1952 Indianapolis 500 was achieved by a car with a diesel engine.

2 Captain Woolf Barnato drove at Le Mans three times, and won all three, a feat unrivalled to this day.

3 In qualifying for the 1977 British Grand Prix, David Purley crashed his Lec, going from 108mph to rest in 66cm, surviving deceleration of 170g.

4 There were four drivers entered for the 1959 British Grand Prix called Taylor, and one called Naylor.

5 Enzo Ferrari came second in the 1920 Targa Florio.

Giancarlo baghetti

6 Dan Gurney took maiden grand prix wins for Porsche, Brabham and Eagle.

7 Lewis Hamilton’s ‘44’ number is the UK’s phone dialling code.

8 1970 was the only year F1 had 13 races, and the only one to have a posthumous world champion.

9 ‘The Formula One racing driver Narain Karthikeyan’ is an anagram of ‘Hang on, Ferrari overtaken. I’m a rather lucky Indian.

10 The only F1 car to win on the the only lap of the only race it ever led? The Honda RA300, piloted by John Surtees at the 1967 Italian Grand Prix. 

Match the material

The following materials were used in some way to build the nine cars listed beside them - but which goes with which? Answers at the bottom of the page.

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Match the material

Fastest production road cars down the decades

Fastest production cars through the decades

Tricky tyre brands

Half of the names below are genuine tyre brands - the other half are crafty fakes we’ve made up. Can you guess which ones are real? Answers at the bottom of the page.


Rapid-fire Le Mans facts

Manufacturers that won Le Mans on the first attempt: Chenard et Walcker (1923, the first Le Mans), McLaren (1995), Ferrari (1949)


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Individual cars to have won Le Mans twice: Bentley Speed Six (1929, 1930), Ferrari 275P (1963, 1964) Ford GT40 (1968, 1969) Porsche 956 (1984, 1985) Porsche WCS 95 (1996, 1997)

Find the manu-f-acturers

Ferrari, Fiat and Ford might be three of the biggest motoring brands beginning with F - but how many more can you name from past and present? Answers at the bottom of the page.

10 Types of suspension


Match the material - the matching pairs were: Aluminium - Lotus Elise (brake discs), Beryllium - Porsche 909 (Bergspyder brake disks), Carbotanium - Pagani Zonda (bodywork), Cotton - Trabant (bodywork), Glassfibre - Lotus Elite (monocoque), Gold - McLaren F1 (engine bay lining), Inconel - Ferrari 488 Pista (Exhaust), Plywood - Marcos 1800GT (chassis), Stainless steel - Delorean (bodywork)

Tricky tyre brands - the 10 real rubber manufacturers were: Apollo, Blockley, Double Coin, Englebert, Hoosier, Mizzle, Radar, Semperit, Warrior

Find the manu-f-acturers - you could have had: F.L.A.G., Facel Vega, FAP, Faraday, Farus, FAS, FCM, Felber, Ferguson, Ferris, Fisker, Fitch, Flint, Flyer, FNM, FNSS, Force, Foton, Foy-Steele, FPV, Frazer, Freightliner, Frisky, Frontenac, FSC, FSO, FSR, Fuldamobil

Mclanen f1 gold


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Join the debate

Add a comment…
acbluemarlin 28 December 2018

Missed a manufacturer

What about Fairthorpe?

sabre 27 December 2018


No. 9:  Anagrams can be arranged for almost any arrangement of words and sentences, given enough time of thinking. They are commonly used in many religions for greater impression and influence of the leaders on their believers.Take the challenge and try the same with "Kimmi Raikkonen, the Sauber Iceman" and within a few minutes or hours you'll get some good anagram.

Bob Cat Brian 27 December 2018


Is Lewis’ number 44 because its the dial code of the UK? 

The Colonel 27 December 2018

Escape Transport

Bob Cat Brian wrote:

Is Lewis’ number 44 because its the dial code of the UK? 

he said, in a Q&A, that 44 was on the number plate of the car that tugged his kart from the Stevenage slums to whatever kart circuit in paradise he was racing at.