As a presenting sponsor of three top events scheduled during Monterey Car Week, Michelin is bringing a replica of the L'Eclair from its company museum in France along with the scarcely seen high-performance Koenigsegg One:1 — which Michelin called the fastest production car ever to wear Michelin tires — from Sweden.
In 1895, no auto manufacturer wanted to fit its vehicles with air-filled tires, according to Michelin, so, in cooperation with Peugeot, the Michelin brothers decided to produce their own automobile that could use their revolutionary tire technology.
The L'Eclair — its French name means “lightning bolt,” a reference to its erratic zig-zag motion — was entered in the 1,200-kilometer Paris-Bordeaux-Paris race with the brothers at the helm. It was the first car ever to be equipped with pneumatic tires and, although the L'Eclair arrived in Paris dead last, succeeded in doing so within the 100 hours allowed for the race — and proved that it is possible for a vehicle to ride on air, Michelin said.
Introduced at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, the Koenigsegg One:1's production was limited to seven, including one prototype. Michelin said the vehicle — which will be on display in North America for the first time — “has the distinction of being among the most exclusive production cars ever. Its hp-to-kg curb weight ratio is an astonishing 1:1 — an equation once thought impossible to accomplish with a fully road-legal sports car” — thus, it displays the accomplishment with its One:1 moniker.
Michelin called the One:1 the first homologated production car in the world to produce one megawatt of power (1,341 hp), making it the world's first production series “megacar.”
Described as a “museum springing to life,” the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion is the largest event held during Car Week, and is the only event in which the cars “do what they were originally intended to do: race,” the tire maker said. Approximately 550 race cars are invited to compete in the world's premier vintage motoring event, and are accepted based on their authenticity, race provenance and period correctness.