The fearsome Métallurgique Maybach Special, the only one of its kind in the world, will be contending its formidable reputation in the Edwardian and Veteran Cars class, driven by experienced competitor and past president of the VCC, Brian Moore.
Originally built in Belgium in 1907, the Métallurgique featured a 10-litre engine but was later modified to take a 1910 21-litre six-cylinder engine as used in the German Zeppelin airships. The story behind the modification goes that the car was raced by American David Bruce-Brown who was unhappy that the promise of 100mph was not achieved. The car was then returned to manufacturer Métallurgique and the engine was changed to honour the pledge with the new engine developed to deliver 1,000lbs of torque at 1,000rpm.
The car returned to the UK following the First World War and was owned by racing driver Ernest Eldridge of Brooklands fame before being sold on. It was eventually found abandoned in a shed in Brundall, Norfolk in April 1951 by avid collector Douglas Fitzpatrick who used it to compete in races at Brands Hatch, Bexhill and Silverstone, as well entering it for sprints and continental touring. Fitzpatrick went on to claim the FIA World Speed Record at Elvington Airfield in Yorkshire on 19 October 1969; a record that continues to stand today. He continued to own and race the car right up until the mid-eighties when it passed to its current owner.
A great example for its age, the Edwardian racer is no stranger to the demands of a hill climb course and had maintained its reputation for speed with regular appearances at Prescott over the last three decades. Revered by motoring journalists and spectators alike, one tester from renowned Motor Sport magazine, who rode along with Fitzpatrick in 1957, recalled ‘the thrill of the ride, accelerating at such a rate that the wind howled about one's head as the big engine took hold and hurled the great car forward.’
The Métallurgique Maybach Special has been revered for its sheer power by spectators at historic motorsport events for decades and it is a privilege for the Chateau to continue that legacy this summer.