Land Speed Records…Did you know…?
Did you know that the first land speed record was acheived in an electric engine car in 1898? Or, that more than 100 years ago cars were going faster than 125 mph (200km per hour)?
I don’t know about you but when I thought of high speed cars I think of modern (ish) cars. I don’t know why as I have owned some pretty fast old cars too, but when I came across these figures I had to share them as I was blown away.
The first official world land speed record was achieved on December 18, 1898 by a French guy by the name of Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubatat doing a whopping 39.24mph (63.15kmph). Not that great, especially when an average quarter horse can go faster than that (that makes me wonder why they still called it a land speed record). However what is amazing is that it was in a car that had an electric engine (a Jeantaud Duc).
Ok so now it gets better. It took little under 8 years for the pace of the cars to reach over 125 miles per hour (from 39.24mph) … and they weren’t petrol either. On January 26, 1906, Mr Fred Marriott in a steam powered Stanley Rocket (seriously it was called a rocket) achieved 127.66 mph (205.44km per hour). That record in a steam engine lasted over a hundred years until 25 August 2009 when someone else was crazy enough to break it. Have a look at the photos.
Finally by 1947 (65 years ago) they were already exceeding speeds of 394mph (634 kmph) in petrol engines. Now it goes without saying that we are going fast now with all sorts of rocket powered monsters whose main concern is not just how fast they go but how to stick to the ground. For me it has lost the ‘’romance” when comparing the new vehicles to the olden days especially when you consider there isn’t much “car” left in the new machines - that is if you don’t count the wheels. But got to give the pilots and engineers credit, they are reaching speeds of 750+ mph and breaking supersonic speeds these days (have a look at the monster called ‘Thrust SSC’ which holds the current speed record since October 15, 1997 at 763 mph). This year a machine by the name of “Bloodhound SSC” is hoping to not only take the record, but exceed 1000 mph.
Check out some of the nice photos below.
Using three Liberty aero engines from the previous war, Ray Keech, an American, wrestled the record from the British hold of the Land Speed Record. Another run was made later on the same vehicle, but the man driving it, Lee Bible, died during his 2nd attempt. Photo and information from http://www.thesupercars.org
Here are the figures: OK OK OK. I will also make the comment here that there are many records, many different organisations that hold the testing etc. Don’t shoot me if some of the figures are wrong. I just like old cars.
Land Speed Records 1898–1965 (wheel-driven)
taken from Wikipedia
|December 18, 1898||Achères, Yvelines, France||Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat||Jeantaud Duc||Electric||39.24||63.15|
|January 17, 1899||Achères, Yvelines, France||Camille Jenatzy||41.42||66.659||First man to break a land speed record |
|December 18, 1898||Achères, Yvelines, France||Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat||Jeantaud Duc||Electric||65.79||105.878||First specialist land speed record vehicle, first 60 mph pass|
|April 13, 1902||Nice, France|
Promenade des Anglais
|Leon Serpollet||Gardner-Serpollet Oeuf de Pâques (Easter Egg)||Steam||75.06||120.80|
|Aug 5, 1902||Albis-St. Arnoult, France||William K. Vanderbilt||Mors||Internal combustion||76.08||122.438||First IC-powered record|
|January 12, 1904||Lake St. Clair, USA||Henry Ford||Ford 999 Racer||IC||—||91.37||147.05||On frozen lake (Not recognized by L'Automobile Club de France)|
|January 26, 1906||Ormond Beach, USA||Fred Marriott||Stanley Rocket||Steam||127.66||205.44||First record over 200 km/h (124 mph). First speed greater than contemporary rail speed record.|
Remained the record for steam powered vehicles until 25 August 2009.
|November 6, 1909||Brooklands, United Kingdom||Victor Hémery||200 hp (150 kW) Benz No 1||IC||125.94||202.68||115.93||186.57||First run using electronic timing|
|June 24, 1914||Brooklands, United Kingdom||L. G. Hornstead||200 hp (150 kW) Benz No 3||IC||—||124.09||199.70||First 2-way record, set at Brooklands under new Association International des Automobile Clubs Reconnus (AIACR) 2-way rule|
|July 12, 1924||France||Ernest Eldridge||FIAT Mephistopheles||IC||—||145.89||234.98||Fastest LSR ever on a public road|
|March 29, 1927||Daytona Beach, USA||Henry Segrave||Mystery (aka "Sunbeam 1000 hp")||203.79||327.97||The first car to reach a speed over 200 mph (320 km/h)|
|February 19, 1928||Daytona Beach, USA||Malcolm Campbell||Blue Bird||206.956||333.048|||
|April 22, 1928||Daytona Beach, USA||Ray Keech||Triplex Special||3 Liberty||207.552||334.007|||
|March 11, 1929||Daytona Beach, USA||Henry Segrave||Golden Arrow||925 hp (690 kW) Napier||231.446||372.459||Segrave was knighted for this effort|
|February 5, 1931||Verneuk Pan, South Africa||Malcolm Campbell||Blue Bird||IC||246.09||396.025||First 250 mph (400 km/h) pass. Campbell was knighted for this effort|
|March 7, 1935||Daytona Beach, USA||Malcolm Campbell||Blue Bird||IC||276.816||445.472|||
|September 3, 1937||Bonneville Salt Flats, USA||Malcolm Campbell||Blue Bird||IC||301.129||484.598||First 300 mph (480 km/h) pass, first absolute record set at Bonneville|
|November 19, 1937||Bonneville Salt Flats, USA||George Eyston||Thunderbolt||Two Rolls-Royce Schneider Trophy engines (4,700 hp (3,500 kW))||311.42||501.16|||
|August 27, 1938||Bonneville Salt Flats, USA||George Eyston||Thunderbolt||345.49||556.012|
|15 September 1938||Bonneville Salt Flats, USA||John Cobb||Railton||350.2||563.566|||
|September 16, 1938||Bonneville Salt Flats, USA||George Eyston||Thunderbolt||357.5||575.314|||
|August 23, 1939||Bonneville Salt Flats, USA||John Cobb||Railton Special||IC||369.74||595.04||367.91|
|September 16, 1947||Bonneville Salt Flats, USA||John Cobb||Railton Mobil Special||IC||394.196||634.397||394.19||634.39|
|July 17, 1964||Lake Eyre, Australia||Donald Campbell||Bluebird CN7||turboshaft||403.10||644.96|
NB - From 1963 to present the land speed record has been won with jet and rocket propulsion vehicles - not my cup of tea..... if you want to read more though go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_speed_record
Article information and figures from Wikipedia 10.01.2013
Article written by Robert Hughes – AKA alvisfan63, Classic Car Enthusiast, Boston, USA.
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