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The 0-60 man

2 years ago

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Peter Robinson | Journalist


20 May 2022

Tom McCahill invented the 0-60mph acceleration test. British motoring magazines like The Autocar and The Motor performance tested cars more than 20 years before Thomas Jay McCahill’s road tests appeared in the long defunct American magazine Mechanix Illustrated, but it was the American who made ‘nought to 60’ meaningful.

Along with irreverent, vibrant words that made the car live for the reader, Tom (in his day he was referred to with ‘Uncle’ before his name) provided a brief specification panel that included the car’s all-important 0-60mph time and top speed. Something about 60mph and the time taken to reach that speed captured the public imagination. It was a simple, easily understood test and the figure allowed for easy comparisons. McCahill relied only on his stopwatch and measured miles he staked out in New Jersey, Florida and California, marking them with splashes of white paint to keep their locations secret.

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