LAND SPEED RECORD CARS


I first saw a land speed record car up close, when Craig Breedlove's Spirit of America Sonic 1 was on display at a local car dealer as part of the Goodyear promotional tour in 1966. At the time, it was the fastest land vehicle in the world, having just broken Breedlove's own record by going over 600 mph. I was captivated by the duel with Art Arfons, the futuristic look of these cars and their sheer size. I present my small collection of land speed record cars driven by men who dared push the limits of speed here on earth.

1927 Sunbeam Mystery 1000 HP: The Sunbeam 1000 hp record car was the first car to achieve a speed of over 200 mph. Powered by a pair of Sunbeam Matabele 22.4 litre aircraft engines, on 29 March 1927 Henry Segrave drove the car to a new land speed record of 203.79 miles per hour. Seagrave was later knighted for his third land speed record achieved in 1929. A contemporary of Sir Malcolm Cambpell, Seagrave was killed in 1930 setting the water speed record.
Model by BIZARRE 1/43

1929 Irving-Napier Golden Arrow: Powered by a massive 23.9 litre W12 Napier Lion VIIA aeroengine which produced 925hp, the Golden Arrow was the first aerodynamic land speed record car. Golden Arrow was built for Maj. Henry Seagrave to reclaim the land speed record for Britain. In March 1929, Seagrave attempted a record run on Daytona Beach in Florida before a massive crowd of over 100,000 spectators. Seagrave set a new flying mile record of 231.35mph. Unfortunately he never got another chance to drive Golden Arrow, losing his life attempting to set a water speed record in 1930. Golden Arrow was designed by Captain John Samuel Irving, a Sunbeam engineer and racing team manager. He and his wife are the couple in this diorama with Seagrave.
Model by BIZARRE 1/43

1935 Campbell-Railton Blue Bird: Sir Malcolm Campbell set the world land speed record nine times between 1924-1935. His final record was set in September 1935 at the Bonneville Salt Flats at an average two-way run speed of 301.337 mph. The Reid Railton designed Blue Bird was completely redesigned after the record breaking attempts of 1933. A supercharged Rolls-Royce R V12 aero engine of36.7L was installed in place of the Napier Lion engine used in the original Blue Bird. Blue Bird's potential speed required the move of record attempts from Daytona Beach to Bonneville.
Model by LLEDO 1/64

1939 MG EX-135: Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Thomas 'Goldie' Gardner OBE MC, who despite a serious leg injury sustained in WWI, went on to be one of England's greatest drivers between the wars. Just before the start of WWII, on the Autobahn in Germany, Gardner took the under 1,100 cc class world speed records over 2 km, 1 mi and 5 km distances, at average speeds of 203.5 mph, 203.3 mph and 197.5 mph respectively. After an overnight engine rebore, on 2 June 1939 at the same venue he gained the 1,100cc to 1,500cc class records over the same distances at average speeds of 204.3 mph, 203.9 mph and 200.6 mph. After WWII, he set numerous new records at Bonneville with EX-135 and when he retired from racing in 1952, he had over the course of his career set over 100 international and local speed records throughout England, Europe and the USA
Model by BIZARRE 1/43

1954 Austin Healey 100S Bonneville Streamliner: Donald Healey drove this special bodied 100S to a record 192.62 mph on the Salt Flats. The cars set four international class records with Donald Healey at the wheel. Two years later, using this chassis and re-bodied with a six-cylinder supercharged Austin engine, Healey did over 200 mph on the Salt. In 2009 a replica of this car ran at Bonneville but was unable to achieve its maximum potential due to weather and mechanical issues. They make another attempt in 2012. Go to: Healeys Return to Bonneville for updates and more information.
Model by SPARK 1/43

1954 Austin Healey 100S: One of the 100S prototypes ran at Bonneville in 1954, building on endurance and speed records achieved the year before. A replica was reconstructed around this car and ran at Bonneville once again in 2009, achieving almost 128 mph in its demonstration run. The original run in 1954 produced 132 mph and set 24 hour and 5,000 km records.
Model by K&R REPLICAS (factory built) 1/43

1955 D-Type: This D-Type (XKD 529) was sold to America in 1956, where it was owned by Briggs Cunningham and driven by Walt Hansgen to many wins in SCCA events. Tom Ruthford bought the car and modified it for record setting at Bonneville and he set a long-standing class record of 185.5 mph in August 1960.
Model by Brumm 1/43

1956 Abarth-Bertone Record Car: Bertoine designed two streamlined record cars for attempts on class endurance and speed records. This 750cc powered car set 15 records at Monza including driving an average of 102.8 mph for 72 hours.
Model by METRO 1/43

1958 Abarth Record Car: Between 1956-1966, Abarth set 113 international records at the Monza circuit. This single seat car designed by Pininfarina and powered by a 0.5L 2-Cyl., 36 hp engine achieved a top speed of 112 mph. It was important to Abarth to establish the performance of the new cars. They set six international class speed and endurance records at Monza in this car in 1958.
Model by HACHETTE 1/43

1959 MG EX-181: The 'Rolling Raindrop' is the fastest MG ever! In 1957, with Stirling Moss at the wheel, EX-181 set five international speed records including a top speed of 245.64 mph. In 1959 in a return to Bonneville, Phil Hill drove the EX-181 to a class record of just under 254.91 mph! EX 181 used a supercharged MGA Twin cam engine of 1.5L, producing 300 bhp and ran on a lethal mixture of methanol laced wth nitrobenzene, acetone and sulphuric ether.
Model by BIZARRE 1/43

1959 Thompson Challenger 1: Any auto enthusiast in the 1960's had heard of Mickey Thompson, the "Speed King". Thompson has set more speed and endurance records than any other person. In 1959, he created a land speed record car of his own design, with the goal of breaking the 400 mph barrier. He came close at 363.5 mph with his four-engined wheel driven car. Powered by four Pontiac 6.8L (414 cu in) engines, the two front engines (mounted backward) supplied power to the front wheels and the two rear engines to the rear wheels. The engines were all connected by four simultaneous gear shifts, as each engine had its own Cadillac manual transmission.
Model by BIZARRE 1/43

1960 Thompson Challenger 1: For 1960, Thompson redesigned the body of Challenger I and he supercharged the engines to provide the sufficient horsepower required to break the 400 mph barrier. On his first run, he set a new land speed record of 406.60 mph. Unfortunately one of the four engines blew on the return run, so Thompson was not able to complete the two runs required to create an official record. Poor weather and a bad salt surface in 1961 and 1962 foiled any further attempts. Its interesting to note that the drivers forward vision was through a 4" square piece of glass taken from a welders helmet.
Model by HOT WHEELS 1/64

1960 Thompson Challenger 1:This has to be my all-time favorite LSR car, mostly because as a boy putting together a plastic kit of this car, four engines in a car was unbelievable!
Model by REPLICARZ 1/18

1962 Spirit of America: Spirit of America is the name Craig Breedlove uses for his land speed record cars. This SOA was the first of the modern jet-propelled record breaking cars, built with a narrow stream-lined fuselage and three wheel chassis, it was powered by a GE J47 engine from an F-86 Sabre jet fighter. Breedlove was the first man to set an average speed of over 400 mph (407.45) during a land speed record in 1963, but was not recognized since SOA was not wheel driven. On Oct. 15, 1964, he pushed the record over 500 mph, setting it at 526.277 mph in Spirit of America - Sonic One.
Model by SCALEWORKS 1/43

1960 Bluebird-Proteus CN7: On July 17, 1964, Donald Campbell set the land speed record at Lake Eyre, Australia at 403.10 mph. That year, he became the first man to set both the land and the water speed records in the same year. Built in 1960 and crashed at Bonneville that year, Bluebird was rebuilt by the Norris brothers in 1962. Powered by a Bristol-Siddley Proteus gas-turbine engine which drove all four wheels and produced over 4,000 hp. Designed to go over 500 mph, rain and a poor surface conspired against Campbell who made test runs in excess of 440 mph before the final record attempt.
Model by BIZARRE 1/43

PLEASE NOTE: From 1968 into the 1990's tobacco companies sponsored many significant race cars. In the interest of historical accuracy, Old Irish Racing chooses to display models in our collection as historically accurate as possible. While seeing a tobacco advert on a car gives me no more desire to go smoke than seeing a car makes me want to go suck on its exhaust pipe. If tobacco (or alcohol) adverts on race cars offend you, please go look at nice pictures of bunnies and kittens on another site.

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