Before a car can set any sort of official top speed record, the manufacturer has to have produced at least 20 examples for the mass market. The run itself must also be done in two opposing directions with the two top speeds averaged out. And the car must also be road legal. Here are the top 10 fastest road legal cars of all time, based on a mix of manufacturer's claimed figures and official demonstrated speed runs.
LaFerrari - over 350km/h (claimed)
The LaFerrari sits as one of the ultimate street-legal cars. The company didn't set out to demolish top speed records, it simply created a hypercar that combines ferocious performance with advanced hybrid technology. Yes, you read correctly. The LaFerrari is a hybrid. It uses a 6.3-litre V12 engine paired with a potent electric motor, developing a combined output of 708kW. Amazingly, all of that is then sent to a rear-wheel drive system. An official top speed hasn't been recorded but Ferrari is adamant it will accelerate beyond 350km/h.
Pagani Huayra - 372km/h (claimed)
Pagani's latest production car, the awkwardly named Huayra, is the most powerful and fastest road legal vehicle it has ever made. Power comes from a 6.0-litre Mercedes-Benz AMG-built twin-turbo V12 producing a monstrous 540kW and 1000Nm. It's not only one of the fastest cars in the world, it is also regarded as one of the most exquisite. Some of the exotic details include various components made from magnesium and titanium, a carbon fibre body with a carbotanium (beta titanium alloy with carbon composites) monocoque, and active aero flaps front and rear that automatically rise and drop to optimise downforce while on the go.
Zenvo ST1 - 375km/h (claimed)
It's the first supercar to ever come out of Denmark. It boasts a unique design, which the company claims is entirely Danish, while many components are sourced from various other vehicles from Germany and the US. The engine is a 6.8-litre turbocharged and supercharged V8 producing up to 932kW and 1430Nm. Inside, passengers are presented with a unique decor as well as some creature comforts such as sat-nav and power adjustable bucket seats with leather.
McLaren F1 - 391km/h (official)
The McLaren F1 was the official fastest car in the world for around 7 years. It was a project led by F1 designer Gordon Murray - who had a dream to create the world's fastest and most exceptional car ever made - and backed by McLaren boss Ron Dennis. They succeeded. Only 106 were ever made, all featuring a BMW M, 468kW 6.1-litre naturally aspirated V12 engine. To give you an idea of the attention to detail, the entire engine bay in all 106 vehicles is lined in gold as it is considered the best heat reflector.
Saleen S7 - 399km/h (claimed)
Generally regarded as America's first supercar, the Saleen S7 is built by a firm that usually creates tuning packages for the Ford Mustang. The S7 was the first car it made from the ground up, not based on any other existing vehicle. Lightness is its main key, It's built on a steel spaceframe using aluminium honeycomb composite panels, with a total weight of just 1247kg. In the engine compartment is a Ford '427' 7.0-litre twin-turbo V8 producing up to 559kW. Saleen produced the model in California, from 2005 until 2009.
Bugatti Veyron - 408.47km/h (official)
Like the Super Sport mentioned below, the Veyron is a supreme high speed machine. It once held the official record as the fastest car in the world, before the Super Sport came out. It recorded a mind-blowing average top speed of 408.47km/h. This was achieved at the company's Ehra-Lessien test track which has a 8.7km straight. The Veyron lives on to be one of the greatest cars ever made. A successor is being planned and is expected to debut some time in 2016.
SSC Ultimate Aero - 412km/h (official)
The Shelby SuperCars Ultimate Aero was once the fastest car in the world, clocking an official, Guinness-backed 412km/h in Washington in 2007. The record stood for three years while the world waited for the release of the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. Contrary to what you might think, Shelby SuperCars has no relation or connection with the late, great Carroll Shelby. SSC is an independent manufacturer based in Washington, USA. The Aero is a design based on a Lamborghini Diablo kit car with power provided by a Chevrolet Corvette C5R engine that has an expanded displacement of 6.3 litres. It's supercharged and produces a whopping 882kW. In a car weighing 1247kg, you can begin to understand why it was once the world's fastest car.
Koenigsegg Agera - over 420km/h (claimed)
You might not have heard of the brand, however, Koenigsegg is quite prominent in its home country of Sweden. The bespoke manufacturer has its own runway testing facility and workshop setup in an old aircraft hanger. The Agera, meaning 'to act' in Swedish, is the company's latest model, featuring a custom 5.0-litre twin-turbo V8 producing as much as 701kW of power and 1100Nm of torque. The higher performance Agera R has a theoretical top speed of 440km (not yet achieved), and currently holds the record for the quickest 0-300-0km/h time for a production car, stopping the clock at 21.1 seconds.
Bugatti Veyron Super Sport - 431km/h (official)
The Veyron Super Sport currently stands as the official fastest car in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records. It has achieved an average top speed of 431km/h on the company's high-security test track in Germany. To achieve such a speed power comes from an 8.0-litre quad-turbo W16 engine producing 883kW and 1500Nm. It's all wrapped up in a smooth carbon fibre body.
Hennessey Venom GT - 435.31km/h (unofficial)
As mentioned at the start, in order for a speed record to stand in the Guinness Book of Records the manufacturer has to have produced at least 20 examples of the car and the record attempts must be undertaken in two directions. Hennessey went down to the Kennedy Space Centre earlier in 2014 and set a cracking pace of 435.31km/h, support by digital and GPS-based equipment. But because Guinness wasn't there and because the run wasn't then done in the other direction, the record is not official. The car has achieved the speed but we'll leave it up to you to decide if it is the world's fastest car.