WORLD LAND-SPEED RECORD
Progress Report No4
by Roy S. Peters
MULTI AERO-ENGINED CARS
As promised in version number 3 in this series, I now
include a selection of cars from the past that have used MORE
THAN ONE airplane engine to power it.
Taking some of the WLSR holders, - the cars and drivers
Firstly, at Daytona:-
1927 203.79mph "Sunbeam "Slug" 2engines HenrySeagrave
1928 207.55mph Triplex Special 3engines Ray Keech
Secondy, at Bonnevlle:-
1937 312.00mph Thunderbolt 2 RollsRoyce GeorgeEyston
1938 345.49mph Ditto
1938 357.50mph Ditto
1938 350.20mph Various Railtons 2 x Napiers John Cobb
.. to Ditto
1947 394.20mph Ditto
1964 413.20mph Wingfoot Express 3 x J46 Jets Tom Green
Now some more details on each::
(a) The SLUG had two Sunbeam Matabele Aero-engines
22.5 litres) giving a total of 870BHP (although billed as a
"1000BHP Car") and is currently on display at the Beaulieu Motor
Museum in Hampshire.
(b) The TRIPLEX Special was one of the most
"conventional" engined cars. EACH of these three engines was 27
litres , so Ray had 81 litres (bigger than the average Mini!!) -
81188cc to be exact. The total BHP was only 1500, which is not
much horsepower per litre!! Technology has improved since
(c) THUNDERBOLT versions were between 4700 and 5000
the two Rolls- Royce Typhoon (Type `R') engines - totalling
73164cc. It was a six-wheeler car driven by the rear two and
steered by the front four!
(d) John Cobb's RAILTONs were normally 47872cc from
supercharged Napier Lion engines. These were 4-wheel-drive cars,
a 26.9 litre engine driving the front wheels and another 26.9
litres driving the rear two. Despite the engine-size, it was
still only 2500BHP, - like an average-powered dragster of today!!
(e) Tom Green's car (well Walt Arfons's) had only 6200lbs of
thrust from the three engines - and held the record for 3 days in
October '64 (the first of the five WLSR marks set in THAT month
Now a more up-to-date twin-engined possibility:-
Remember the all-conquering Sierra Cosworth? ( looked like
an ordinary road-going Sierra - with better engine and improved
chassis for dealing with the extra strains). I've been doing some
feasibility studies for a twin-jet-engined Sierra to outpace the
Cosworth (in a straight line!). There are quite a lot of engines
from which could be selected some that could fit snugly into the
Sierra chassis - my first of these being the Snecma Larzac 04.
Two of these (each weighing 640lbs and having 2966lbs thrust)
will give the refitted Sierra a Thrust to DryWeight ratio of
couple of these (maximum diameter 23" , length 46.4") behind the
line of the front seats fed by air ducted via the left of the
driver (in the Mark1 Sierra-Snecma with a 10 gallon tank) would
make an excellent drag-race car as that amount of fuel would be
exactly used-up in a standing quarter-mile. It would then be
travelling at 261.986 in 6.362 seconds - but no use for the
By modifying further and adding an extra 15 gallon
tank it could do the measured mile (from 0.1 to 1.1 miles) with a
terminal speed of 400.028mph. Average for the mile would be
313.413mph covered in 11.486 seconds. Due to this capability,
another version with somewhat stronger, larger, stabilising fins
will have to be investigated!
Not a WLSR vehicle - but an interesting unusual
NOW SOME MORE ON THRUST SSC
Have you ever wondered `Who's Who' in and around the Team?
Here, I reveal a rough guide for you:::
Project Control & Management: Richard Noble
Designers: John Ackroyd
Chassis Designer: Glyn Bowsher
Chassis Jig-builders: Simon Kingdon-Butcher,
Engine Group: Sgt John Rowles (Leader)
Cpl Greg Tallet
Systems Manager: Flt Lt Andrew Day
Mockup cockpit builders: Mike Lowman, Martin Hemming
Design Software: Altium (Micro CADam)
Toshiba Information Systems
Computer Modelling: Computational Dynamics Research Ltd
`Full-size-mockup' builder: Geoff Luff
Frame checkers: Andy Lemming & Steve Gosden
Engine Testing: DRA Shoeburyness (P & EE)
Driver Selection: DRA Farnborough (Human Resources)
Driver: Flt Lt Andrew Green
Where is it being built?
From the start, Thrust SSC is being assembled at G-Force (in
Fontwell in Sussex).
G-Force was the company which was, formerly, the UK
Operations side of Chip Ganussi's Indycar Racing Team. - and now
handles many items of work for many Formula1 & Indycar teams.
Sounds like a useful set of people! Club Members can apply to see
it being built, but for safety (and operations) reasons the
numbers are limited.
Unfortunately, I haven't received up-to-date copies of `Mach
1 News' & "Thrust SSC Bulletin" - so we'll just have to hope that
things are progressing OK.
On the Simulation side - I have gone further now, - to a
simulated Saturday 14th October 1995 with the highest proposed
subsonic two-way run. The two runs used 5.0 & 5.6 miles of track
respectively ( by starting the `measured mile' at 1.5 and 2.0
miles respectively. In each case, a progressive throttling-back
to around 20000lbs thrust was employed to maintain almost
constant speed over each mile. Thus, its averages for each were
665.317 and 668.355 mph. This makes SSC's average greater than
Thrust 2's peak speed of 650.88 mph. Post-analysis showed Thrust2
to be within 15mph of take-off !!!
My next test simulation will accelerate to greater than Mach
1 and then decelerate without maintaining a supersonic speed.
OTHER SUPERSONIC CARS
No. I did not forget to include this promise from Report No3
!! Some cars were only plans in various degrees of detail, some
were made, some tested, some abandoned. Here's a
1. Thrust 3 (1000mph plus) dealt with in ReportNo3
2. Peters-Olympus (1000mph plus) } Ditto
3 Sammy Miller's 900mph rocket-car:: This was mentionned in
Note no1 and is now abandoned. It bears a striking resemblance to
Tony Fox's "Proud American" car which was `shelved' in 1977.
Fox's regular pilot (Dave Anderson) died in 1974 and Sammy became
the replacement in "Tony's Team". Sammy carried on for another
decade with the plans.
4. Gary Gabelich's Blue Flame (previous WLSR holder to Richard)
which did 630.388 mph using only 16000lbs of its available
22000lbs thrust could well have been a Supersonic Car !!
5. Stan Barrett's (Hal Needham's) Budweiser Rocket car has been
the ONLY car to-date to have gone supersonic - but as explained
earlier, it was not sustained under the agreed Record conditions.
Its main engine was a bi-propellant one (of Polybutadiene and
Hydrogen peroxide) which develops 24000lbs thrust. It also
incorporated a Sidewinder Missile as a booster, fired when at
640mph ( providing an extra 6000lbs of thrust). It reached a
calculated maximum speed of 739.666mph (Mach 1.0106) at Rogers
Dry Lake at Edwards Air Force Base in the early morning of 17 Dec
6. Bill Gaynor, of Atwood, Colorado, had a car built (called
City of Sterling) in 1984 for `1000mph plus'. He has a degree in
aeronautical engineering and lectured on very high level
mathematics, aerodynamics and wind-tunnel practice. He started
his vehicle's plans (Project 1000) in the early 70s and estimated
its maximum speed as 1450mph using 63000lbs thrust. He planned to
go to the Black Rock Desert in 1986 with someone else driving. I
have heard nothing since. I have a photo taken in his workshop
showing it near-completion -- but I have yet to analyse the
problems of stopping safely from 1450mph in the confines at Black
7. Donald Campbell's death in 1967 (after completing a
reverse-somersault in his boat at 300mph). halted his plans for
the Mach 1.1 Car. It was designed by Ken Norris as the "CMN-8
Mach 1.1" and later would have been called "Bluebird" (what
else??) - and a mock-up demonstration was displayed in 1965
outside Campbell's house. At a weight of only 4000lbs, it was to
be propelled by two Bristol-Siddely BS 605 RATO (Rocket-assisted
Take-off) engines mounted one above the other in the tail.
At one stage in the project, the Jamaican Government
expressed an interest in constructing a 14 mile track for the
attempt on its 840 mph objective. In 1973, Nigel McKnight took up
the challenge with the plans (with Leo Villa's approval) and Ken
Norris remained as Design Consultant from 1968-71 --- but it
failed again due to sponsorship problems. These sponsors
apparently re-appeared, lured by Richard Noble's superior
Management Plans for the Thrust Project. (See Report No 3 re
8. Johnny Conway planned a Mach 1 wheeldriven car in 1973 !! It
was planned to use reverse-thrust jets for deceleration and an
18mile rubberised track at Lake Eyre. Sounds like a case of an
overgrown PlexiTrack from the toy manufacturers ! Perhaps the car
was as well!!
Roy S. Peters
April 1995 (Reformatted 3 May 1998)
and further editted on 7 March 2005.
Return to Roy's home page for full
of writings and travels either finished or under
or go to WLSR Index .
or go to Newsletter No 5 .