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June 1, 2023

La Jamais Contente, the First Automobile to Reach 100 km/h in 1899

La Jamais Contente (English: The Never Contented) was the first road vehicle to go over 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph). It was a Belgian electric vehicle with a light-alloy torpedo-shaped bodywork and batteries. The high position of the driver and the exposed chassis underneath spoiled much of the aerodynamics. The light alloy, called partinium, is a mixture of aluminium, tungsten and magnesium.

The land speed record was established on April 29 or May 1, 1899 at Achères, Yvelines near Paris, France. The vehicle had two Postel-Vinay 25 kW motors, each driving the rear axle via a chain, running at 200 V and drawing 124 A each, for about 68 hp total, and was equipped with Michelin tires. The chassis was number 25.

The vehicle was driven by the Belgian driver Camille Jenatzy. Camille was the son of Constant Jenatzy, a manufacturer of rubber products (rubber was still a novelty at the time). Camille had studied as an engineer, with an interest in electric-traction automobiles. He became known for his record-breaking speed runs and was nicknamed Le Diable Rouge (“The Red Devil”) for the color of his beard. He died in 1913, after being shot in a hunting accident.

Jenatzy reached the speed of 105.882 kilometers per hour (65.792 mph), besting the previous record, held by Count Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat driving a Jeantaud, who had attained 92.78 kilometers per hour (57.65 mph) on March 4, 1899. After this exploit the gasoline-fueled combustion engine would increasingly supplant electric technology for the next century.

The Jamais Contente is now on display at the automobile museum in Compiègne, France.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, just to expalin why Camille Jenatzy gave this name to his car ; La Jamais Contente (English: The Never Contented).
    Just because it was the nickname he used to give to his wife : she was continually unsatisfied / never contented ! Simply. David from France.




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