Currently reading: Fun facts: Autocar's miscellany of motoring 2019
’Tis still the season of goodwill, so, pray, let our veteran road tester and jolliest man entertain you

As the last of the leftovers are unceremeniously binned and the final round of Monopoly is brought to its long-awaited climax, it's time to dig out some traditional Christmas trivia to impress your friends and family.

You might know what the Porsche 909 Bergmeister's wiring loom was made from, but do you have any idea where the East London race track is (wrong), or just how many types of gearbox there are? Sit back, relax, and learn from the master of motoring minutiae, Andrew Frankel. 

Random racing facts

1. The top six finishers of the 1973 Monaco Grand Prix finished in the same positions as they would at the end of the championship.

2. The 2020 British Grand Prix marks the 70th anniversary of the start of the Formula One World Championship in 1950. It was also the British Grand Prix and also held at Silverstone.

3. Britain and Italy are the only countries to have held grands prix in every year since the start of the F1 World Championship

4. Where fathers and sons have raced in F1, fathers have been twice as likely to win a race.

5. The Indy 500 was part of the F1 World Championship for 11 seasons, from 1950-’60.

6. Claudio Langes tried to qualify for 14 grands prix, all in 1990, and never started a race.

7. The wiring loom of the Porsche 909 Bergspyder was made from silver thread.

8. The Lotus 76 of 1975 was fitted with a clutchless transmission and V-shaped brake pedal to allow its drivers the option of left-foot braking.

9. When Brands Hatch was first used, cars and bikes raced around the circuit anti-clockwise.

10. The Marathon De La Route was the world’s longest motor race and was held at the Nürburgring between 1965 and 1971. In 1967 it was won by a Porsche 911 driven by Vic Elford (among others), his winning margin over the second placed car being just short of 1000km.

11. Alan Stacey became a works Lotus F1 racing driver despite having an artificial lower right leg and having to use a twist grip motorcycle throttle. He was killed at the 1960 Belgian Grand Prix, some say after being hit in the face by a bird.

12. The knob on the gear lever of a Porsche 917 is made from balsa wood and its ignition key drilled, both to save weight.

13. Drivers who have won the Monaco Grand Prix and Le Mans 24 Hours? Tazio Nuvolari, Maurice Trintignant, Bruce McLaren and Fernando Alonso.

14. Drivers who have won the Indianapolis 500 and Monaco Grand Prix? Just one - Juan Pablo Montoya.


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15. What about drivers who have won Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500? Again, just one - AJ Foyt

16. And finally, the only driver to have won the Indy 500, Monaco GP and Le Mans? The legendary Graham Hill.

Graham hill

Extant brands owned by General Motors

1. Cadillac

2. Chevrolet

3. Buick

4. GMC

5. Holden

Dead brands misc

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Automotive urban myth

Duncan Hamilton drove while drunk to win Le Mans in 1953

Engine configurations misc

Film stars in cars

1. Steve McQueen came second in the 1970 Sebring 12 Hours sharing a Porsche 908 with Peter Revson, despite having a left foot in plaster. Had he been anything like as fast as Revson, they’d have won.

2. Paul Newman came second at Le Mans in 1979, driving a Porsche 935 in usually very wet weather. The race was won by brothers Don and Bill Whittington, who would both later serve time for fraud.

3. James Garner was such a natural driver than he actually doubled for other members of the cast during the filming of Grand Prix.

4. Burt Reynolds owned his own NASCAR team, called Mach 1 racing.

5. Gene Hackman raced a Toyota for Dan Gurney at the 1983 Daytona 24 Hours, finishing in 57th place.

6. Successful sports car driver and actor Patrick Dempsey would rather be a racing driver than a film star.

7. Princess Grace of Monaco died in a Rover P6.

8. Rowan Atkinson used to own a Lancia Thema 8.32.

T1 2

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Some car makes beginning with ‘A’




American Bantam 



Aston Martin 





Types of gearbox misc

Presenters you forgot hosted Top Gear

1. Angela Rippon

2. Noel Edmonds

3. Kate Humble

4. Brendan Coogan

5. Jon Bentley

6. Sue Baker

7. Frank Page

8. William Woollard

9. Jason Dawe

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10. Jason Barlow

Worldwide brands misc

Current or former motorsport facilities

1. Barbagallo Raceway (Australia) 

2. Bushy Park (Barbados) 

3. Autodromo Internacional Ayrton Senna (Brazil) 

4. Dracon Race Track (Bulgaria) 

5. Calabogie Motorsports Park (Canada) 

6. Circuits des Remparts Angoulême (France) 

7. Solitude (Germany) 

8. South Dakota Circuit (Guyana) 

9. Irungattukottai Race Track (India) 

10. Autodromo Riccardo Paletti (Italy) 

11. Mellaha Lake (Libya) 

12. Agadir (Morocco) 

13. Pukekohe (New Zealand) 

14. Ponce International Speedway Park (Puerto Rico) 

15. East London (South Africa) 

16. Rest And Be Thankful (Scotland)




Frankel's miscellany of motor cars 2018

Strange, odd and generally fascinating car facts​

The shortest-lived cars in UK history​

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