Darracq – 1905 Flying 15
This is believed to be the only car of it’s kind in Australia. One of the Flying 15’s – a production model of exceptional quality that helped the company capture a 10% share of the French Automobile market at the time.
It took Francis Ransley almost 25 years to collect the parts from all over the world for this vehicle, the only known one of it’s kind in Australia.
Of this vehicle Francis says “Sometimes manufacturers get everything right. There is nothing that identifies the Flying 15 as being particularly significant – except that everything is in proportion and in harmony with everything else. As a result, the car runs, steers and brakes superbly.”
Automobiles Darracq was a French motor vehicle manufacturing company founded in 1896 by Alexandre Darracq, who sold his Gladiator Bicycle company in order to engineer motor vehicles. By 1905 it established branches in the UK, Spain and Italy and then expanded into both cars and aviation engines. Darracq was an innovative engineer who pioneered the use of valadium steel in car production (Henry Ford was so impressed with this innovation he used the product extensively in the Model T).
It was a specially designed 200hp Darracq that set the world land speed record in 1905, with the same car setting a succession of speed records over the next 4 years, with a top recorded speed of 122.45 mph. In June 1906, following the publicity of the world records, the car was bought by Algernon Lee Guinness, who went on to become a director of the Sunbeam Talbot Darracq company. Algernon and his younger brother and racing mechanic Kenelm Edward Lee Guinness (Ken), were descendants of the famous Guinness Brewing dynasty. Ken Guinness, as was the case for many racing motorists of this era, had commercial interests in automotive engineering. He invented the KLG spark plug, a brand name surviving today.