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'Are we there yet, Mr Holmes' - facts and figures 

1898 Thomson steam car

2019 VW Polo Comfortline 85TSI

Distance travelled: 793.80km

Running time: 56 hours 36 minutes 

Average speed: 14.03km/h

Kerosene consumption: 190 litres

Average consumption including water: 0.511 L/100km

Distance travelled: 712.1

Running time: 8 hours 43 minutes

Average speed: 84km/h

95RON petrol consumption: 61.58 litres

Average consumption:

5.1 L/100km

Thomson steam engine
VW 1-litre TSI engine

Builder: Herbert Thomson, Armadale, Vic 

Engine: Two cylinder, vertical compound    


Steam generator: Tubular boiler 12in x 12in x 16in. 250lbs psi.

Max power: 5hp (3.73kW) at 1000rpm

Max torque: N/A

Transmission: Two-speed belt and pulley, manual adjustment

Suspension: Three elliptical springs. Front spring transversed over front axle

Steering: Single hand lever controlling the front wheels

Turning circle: 12ft (3.65m)

Brakes: N/A  


Fuel: Kerosene with a flashpoint of 150deg F. Both fuel and water supplies automatic

Fuel tank: 1.25 tins of kerosene

Fuel consumption: .084 gallons per mile    

Wheels: Front - 38in. Rear - 48in diameter

Top speed: 25mph controlled by hand-operated throttle valve

Body: Built by King (later Martin and King) of fiddleback ash and silky oak strengthened with steel. Upholstery of coil springs, padding, calico and soft leather

Length: 2702mm

Width: 1419mm

Height: 1779mm

Weight: 508kg

Standard equipment: None

Builder: Volkswagen, Uitenhage, South Africa  


Engine: 1-litre, three-cylinder, turbo-petrol     


Max power: 85kW at 5000-5500rpm

Max torque: 200Nm at 2000-3500rpm

Transmission: Seven-speed DSG automatic. Front-wheel-drive

Suspension: Front - MacPherson struts and coil springs/Rear - torsion beam axle, trailing arms, coil springs

Steering: Electro-mechanical power-assisted rack and pinion

Turning circle: 10.6m

Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs      


Fuel: 95RON petrol

Fuel tank: 40 litres

Fuel consumption: 5 litres per 100 kilometres  


Wheels: Front - 15in. Rear - 15in diameter

Top speed: Approx 160km/h

Body: Monocoque, based on the MQB platform, unitary construction from high strength and very high strength steels.

Length: 4053mm

Width: 1751mm

Height: 1446mm

Weight: 1152kg

Standard equipment: Air-conditioning, cruise control, auto headlights and wipers, sat-nav, on-board computer, full suite of driver and safety aids, alloy wheels, 8-inch infotainment system, Bluetooth connectivity, full-size spare wheel, four-wheel disc brakes, 351-litre boot


Thomson’s workshop at 835 High Street, Armadale


Hocking Stuart Real Estate


The Thomson Motor Car Ltd

305 Flinders Lane, Melbourne


Campus of Victoria University


Volkswagen Australia manufacturing plant

Centre Road, Carnegie, Victoria


(formerly Holden Special Vehicles assembly plant)

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