The Land Speed Record Cars – where are they now?

the vehicles used to break the world land speed record have been many and various in their approach and designs some of the very earliest record breakers have disappeared though one or two still survived however many of the cars from the 1920s onwards are in museums and collections which can be visited if you know where to find them here’s a quick look at each of them and where they can be found today if you want to visit any of these record breaking machines please check that they are still on display before traveling the 350 horsepower Sunbeam was the first of the aero engine cars that would become such a fixture in land speed record breaking in the interwar years the Sunbeam was first raised at Brooklands circuit in 1920 and proved to be a formidable fast winning car in May 1922 Kelly Guinness set three lap records at Brooklands then a new land speed record at one hundred and twenty nine point one seven miles per hour Malcolm Campbell a shareholder and regular racer at Brooklands persuaded the sunbeams owner to sell him the car which he painted blue and christened Bluebird Campbell and Bluebird set records in 1924 and 1925 eventually lifting the record to 150 0.87 miles per hour on pending sands whales in the UK the car is on display today at the National Motor Museum muley in the South of England the DeLarge dhv 12 was the car in which Frenchman renĂ© Thomas briefly became the fastest man on earth on July the 6th 1924 the ten point six litre 280 brake horsepower racer set a new record of 140 3.31 miles per hour in our paws on France less than a week later an Englishman in a Fiat would spoil the party the DeLarge survives today in private ownership in the UK where it occasionally appears at historic events such as the Goodwood Festival of Speed Methos da filiz was built by Englishman Ernest Eldridge using a Fiat racing car chassis and a 21 point seven liter aircraft engine by the same manufacturer it was named after a demon due to the infernal noise it made Eldridge comfortably beat his rival Rene Thomas’s 143 miles per hour record as soon as it was set during a competition in our pajama ants in July 1924 only to have his achievement disallowed as the Fiat had no reverse gear undeterred Eldridge spent a week modifying his car until it complied with the rules and then returned to our pajama and smashed the land speed record from Thomas at a hundred and forty five point eight nine miles per hour it was the last land speed record to be set on a public road mephistopheles is now owned by Fiat and is occasionally run at events such as the Goodwood Festival of Speed British manufacturer Sunbeam entered the chase for the land speed record in 1926 with a four litre v12 powered circuit racer Brooklyn’s regular Henry Seagrave was one of sunbeams racing team and he drove the new car to 152 point three three miles per hour on Southport Beach in the north of England on the 16th of March 1926 setting a new record on his first attempt Seagraves v12 Sunbeam is now in private hands in India although it occasionally surfaces at historic events and exhibitions across the world babs began life as Chitty Bang Bang number for one of count Louisa Barofsky series of arrow engine cast that all shared the name that would one day become famous through Ian Fleming’s children’s books and the subsequent film and stage musicals the car was also known as the higham special having been built a high-end park near Canterbury in the Southeast of England the car was powered by a 450 horsepower 27 litre Liberty aero engine with a gearbox and chain drive to the rear wheels from a pre-war blitz and bends it was the largest capacity racing car ever to be raced at Brooklands and on Zuber off skis death fellow Brooklands racer John Perry Thomas purchased it from the late counts estate for the princely sum of 125 pounds Thomas rechristened the car babs and rebuilt the engine to his own specification before using it to break the land speed record on April the 28th

1926 at a speed of 170 1.02 miles per hour on pending sands during a later record attempt at pending in March 1927 a chain driving the rear wheels snapped and flailed at speed partially decapitating Thomas as the car went out of control following an inquest into the drivers death babs wreckage was buried in the sand dunes at the scene in 1967 owen when owen controversially obtained permission from Thomas’s family to locate and recover babs over a period of years Babs was restored to full working order and can now be seen during the summer months at Penn dine Museum of Speed Wales in the UK Malcolm Campbell’s second Bluebird was the first car specifically built to beat the world land speed record powered by a twenty three point nine liter Napier Lion w12 engine developing 450 horsepower Bluebird 2 was built without regard to cost Campbell broke the record twice in this car eventually reaching 206 point nine five six miles per hour during a golden age in record-breaking the Soren competing with archrival Henry Seagrave for the land speed crown the car was rebuilt as the third Bluebird in 1928 and I’ve been unable to find any replicas of Bluebird 2 on display anywhere sunbeams next land-speed car would go down in history as the first to reach 200 miles-per-hour named mystery but more often referred to by its nickname the slug the new car was powered by two of sunbeams own twenty 2.4 litre mater bailey v12 aero engines despite its billing as the thousand horsepower sunbeam its actual power was closer to 900 horsepower big and heavy the car required a longer course than the UK could offer and so Henry Seagrove took the car to Daytona Beach in the US on the 29th of March 1927 Seagrave achieved a new record of 200 and 3.79 miles per hour today the car is on display at the National Motor Museum Bewdley in the South of England wealthy American Jay H white commissioned an aero engine van speed challenger to take the record from the British to be driven by racer ray cage the triplex special also known as the spirit of Eltham was powered by three 27 litre v12 Liberty aero engines developing a total of 1,500 horsepower Keach drove the triplex special to a new record of 207 point five five miles per hour on Daytona Beach on April the 22nd 1928 after the record was broken a year later by Henry C graving golden arrow key twas asked to defend his record but declined believing the car to be too dangerous instead team mechanically Bible was hired to make the record attempt on Daytona Beach at the end of his second run the triplex ran off the marked track into sand dunes rolling over and killing Bible a spectator and FFA news cameraman in the process the triplex special was destroyed in the crash you one of the most famous land speed record cars ever built and arguably the most elegant the earthen Napier Golden Arrow was commissioned by Henry Seagrave in many ways years ahead of its time Golden Arrow was highly streamlined and was actually designed to produce downforce at speed the enormous Napier Lyon w12 engine developed 925 horsepower in Aero racing form and was cooled by using ice in chests on either side of the car after a single practice run Henry Seagrove drove golden arrow through the measured mile on Daytona Beach once in each direction smashing the existing record in the process at 230 1.45 miles per hour further running at Daytona was canceled after a fatal accident involving the triplex special closed the beach and so Seagrave was unable to achieve the higher speeds planned for Golden Arrow Seagrave was killed during a water speed record attempt the following year with less than 40 miles on the clock the car never ran again Golden Arrow is on display at the National Motor Museum Bewdley in the South of England

the third car to wear the Bluebird moniker was in fact a highly modified version of Bluebird 2 this time the w12 Napier line engine was supercharged developing fourteen hundred and fifty horsepower more than three times the power of the previous Bluebird more streamlined than Campbell’s previous car Bluebird three was used to break the record twice eventually raising the figure to 253 point nine seven miles per hour in 1932 there’s a replica of this car on display at Daytona International Speedway the original was rebuilt in 1933 as Campbell’s final Bluebird relentless in his aim to take the record ever higher Campbell rebuilt his current Bluebird which at that point held the record into a far more powerful proposition for 1933 gone was the supercharged Lyon engine in its place a much larger Rolls Royce our v12 engine at thirty six point seven liters and once again supercharged Bluebird now produced two thousand three hundred horsepower double wheels at the rear and sleeker aerodynamics eventually led Campbell to a two hundred and seventy six point eight two miles per hour record at Daytona in 1935 but the uneven sand meant to move to Bonneville was necessary before higher speeds could be reached finally on the third of September 1935 Malcolm Campbell set what would be his final land speed record by becoming the first to exceed 300 miles per hour at three hundred and one point one to nine miles per hour the original car is on display at Daytona International Speedway in the US there’s a replica at the Lakeland Motor Museum cumbria in the UK Georgiy stands massive lands feet Challenger Thunderbolt was powered by two of the same rolls-royce v12 are engines that Malcolm had used singly in the last version of Bluebird each of the supercharged thirty-six point five liter engines had an output power of two thousand three hundred and fifty horsepower making Thunderbolt easily the most powerful contender up to that point with four thousand seven hundred horsepower available the highly aerodynamic vehicle had three axles two at the front and one driven by the engines at the back with twin tires at the rear similar to the latter Bluebird Thunderbolt broke the record three times as Easton competed with John Cobb in the years immediately before the second world war eventually reaching three hundred and fifty seven point five miles per hour in 1938 the car was displayed in the British Pavilion at the New Zealand Centennial Exhibition in 1939 but was unable to return to Britain due to the outbreak of war eventually a fire in the warehouse where it was being stored in September 1946 destroyed the car and it’s remains laid by the road until the construction of a new Wellington Airport in the early 1950s when the wreckage is believed to have been cut up and disposed of in a landfill you fur trader John Cobb another Brooklyn’s racer competed for the record in the rails and special in 1938 and 1939 before returning with the car as the renamed and refined Railton mobile special in 1947 half the weight of George Easton’s thunderbolt Cobbs car used to supercharged Napier Lyon w12 engines one driving the front wheels the other driving the rears making it an extremely fast four-wheel drive the highly streamlined body was made in one piece with the driver unusually sitting at the front carbon destined and traded records in 1938 before cops at the bar 369 point 7 miles per hour on the 23rd of August 1939 days before the outbreak of the second world war after the war Cobb raised the record to 394 point one nine miles per hour on the 16th of September 1947 in a revised version of the car his outright record would remain unbroken until Craig Breedlove’s efforts with jet power assured in a new era of record breaking in 1963 the Railton mobile special can be seen at think-tank Birmingham Science Museum in the UK Craig Breedlove spirit of America was the first of the thrust powered land speed cars powered by a General Electric j-47 engine from an f-86 Sabre Sun commented that the three-wheeled vehicle was a land-based aircraft Breedlove ran

his car to a record of four hundred and seven point four four seven miles per hour at Bonneville in the US on August the fifth 1963 making him the first through the four hundred miles per hour barrier the record was initially considered unofficial as the car only had three wheels but the FIM ratified it in 1964 for a while there were effectively to land speed records one ratified by the FIA for cars and the other by the FIM for motorcycles until an agreement was reached to recognize an absolute speed record Breedlove’s record was broken by both Tom Green and art our funds in early October 1964 leading Breedlove to return to Bonneville just over a week later on October the 15th spirit of America took Breedlove beyond 500 miles per hour for the first time for a record of five hundred and twenty six point two seven seven miles per hour spirit of America was on display for many years at the Museum of Science and Industry Chicago but is now believed to be back in the hands of Craig Breedlove Donald Campbell son of Blue Bird legend Malcolm made his own attempt on the record in Bluebird cn7 powered by a Bristol Siddeley Proteus gas turbine which drove all four wheels Bluebird was a futuristic streamlined vehicle during a record attempt in 1960 Bluebird crashed at speed sustaining extensive damage and leaving Campbell with serious injuries nevertheless Bluebird was rebuilt and after many trials and tribulations Campbell set an outright land speed record of 400 and 3.1 miles per hour on the 17th of July 1964 it was the last time the outright speed record would be held by a wheel driven car Bluebird cn7 is on display at the National Motor Museum Bewdley in the South of England the wind foot Express was a jet-powered Challenger built by Tom Green and Walter fonts it was named for its sponsor Goodyear and driven to a record of 413 point two miles per hour on the 2nd of October 1964 by Green the Winfred Express would hold the land speed record for the next three days no one knows what became of the Winfred Express his location is a mystery you the Green Monster was the creation of art our fonts whose brother Walt was behind the Wingfoot Express art built his car powered by a j79 engine with an afterburner from a Lockheed Starfighter in the shed at the bottom of his garden art our fonts broke the record twice in 1964 with the Green Monster before finally attaining five hundred and seventy six point five six miles per hour on the 7th of November 1965 his success proved impossible to repeat after crashing the car at over 600 miles per hour in 1966 miraculously our fonts survived the Green Monster did not fare so well Craig Breedlove responded to our turf on success with a new car dubbed spirit of America Sonic 1 despite its name Breedlove’s new car never got near the sound barrier but by the end of 1965 it had raised the record to 600 point 601 miles per hour making Breedlove the first man to break 400 500 and 600 miles per hour spirit of America Sonic 1 is on display at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum in the US as of 2018 the blue flame is currently the only rocket-powered car to break the land speed record on October the 23rd 1970 gary gaba which drove the car to a new record of six hundred and twenty two point four zero seven miles per hour at Bonneville the blue flame is on permanent display at the sinsheim Auto & Technik museum Germany in 1983 Richard Nobel broke the blue flames 13 year old record with thrust to powered by a rolls-royce Avon engine from a lightning jet fighter thrust whose design is similar to the Green Monster with a cockpit to one side of the central jet engine nobles car actually had two cockpits one on either side to allow mobile to give thrill rides to passengers to help raise funds for the project noble set a new record

of six hundred and thirty three point four six eight miles per hour on October the 4th 1983 thrust who is on display at the Coventry Transport Museum in central England when Richard Nobel discovered quite by chance that Craig Breedlove was going to try and break his record and go supersonic into the bargain he started the thrust SSC project thrust SSC used two rolls-royce spey jet engines from a phantom jet fighter to produce a hundred and ten thousand horsepower and took driver andy green past Mach 1 for a new record of seven hundred and sixty three point zero three five miles per hour in October 1997 on the Black Rock Desert in Nevada Breedlove beset with technical problems conceded defeat thrust SSC is on display next to its predecessor thrust – at the Coventry Transport Museum in the UK if you’ve enjoyed this video please share it and subscribe to my channel until next time you