The Fiat 500 was built by custom specialist Andy Saunders over the weekend of the recent Beaulieu Autojumble, starting as a standard car and ending up with an overall height of just 21 3/8 in. (543 mm) from the ground.
Saunders already had a relationship with the U.K. distributor, Yokohama HPT, as it supplied tyres for his ‘Mentally Insane’ custom Bentley Mulsanne which appeared at this year’s London Motor Show. However, both were keen to continue the relationship for this record attempt, in front of crowds of more than 30,000 at the annual event.
Work began early on Friday morning, as Saunders and his team attacked the 500 to reduce its height. The constraints meant that there was precious little time to stop and measure their progress as they went and it wasn’t until the Sunday afternoon that they were to find out if they had been successful.
One of the limiting factors on the car’s height was the wheel and tyre size and the Yokohama A048 tyres, sized at 175/55×13, gave a rolling radius just two inches less than the car’s eventual overall height, proving a perfect tool for the task.
However, it wasn’t plain sailing. With just moments to spare, Flat Out’s engine refused to fire, one of the criteria which must be satisfied, but associate sponsor AA soon took care of that. And regardless of how much he heckled, outgoing record-holder Perry Watkins was unable to put the team off.
Eventually, Flat Out was transferred from the trestles it was built on to a flat-patch to be measured and the outcome was assured; Saunders had broken the record by more than two inches.
This latest record adds to the list which Yokohama has been instrumental in, including the drifting world record for oversteer and the record for the fastest time to perform 10 donuts and the greatest number of consecutive donut (spins around the front wheels of a rear-wheel-drive car).