New Land Speed Record models from Bizarre

10 September 2014
imports_CCGB_0_66651.jpg New Land Speed Record models from Bizarre
Fascinating upcoming releases from Spark's sister company. ...
New Land Speed Record models from Bizarre Images
Spark's sister company, Bizarre, manufactures the slightly more "off the beaten track" style models and always manufacture fascinating subjects.

Currently in the final stages of pre-production and shortly to be released are these three superb Land Speed Record attempt contenders from years gone by.

Clive Rigby, one of the partners at Spark and Bizarre, sent us these wonderful pre-production images as a teaser. We can't wait to see these for real!

The Irving Napier "Golden Arrow", driven by Major Henry Segrave, took the Land Speed Record at 231mph in March 1929 on the sands of Daytona Beach, Florida, USA. One of the most beautiful of all the Land Speed Record monsters, this car from the first golden age of record attempts was powered by a 12-cylinder Napier engine. With the twelve cylinders in an arrow layout, the 26.9 litre aero engine generated 925 horsepower. An interesting design feature of the car was that the radiators were mounted as side panel fairings between the front and rear wheels. These would have helped airflow around the tyres while simultaneously eliminating the need for a large, drag inducing radiator intake.

It was Segrave's third sucessful record attempt, in three increasingly more powerful and sophisticated cars. This was also the first of two famous duels, primarily against Malcolm Campbell in his Bluebirds, but also against other contenders. The cars leapfrogged each other's records in the 1920s and '30s from speeds of 133mph in 1922 to 394mph in 1947.

Built in England, this well-preserved car can be seen today in the National Automobile Museum at Beaulieu.

In March of 1930, a British  racing driver, Kaye Don, tried to take away Segrave's Golden Arrow record. In a spectacular looking car, built by Sunbeam and powered by two V12 24 litre supercharged engines, the car used ice cooling so as to eliminate the need for a radiator with its large air intake - a huge source of drag. In between its two tailfins was a flap that could move from a low-drag horizontal wing into an upright airbrake position.

Sunbeam had a successful record of building Land Speed Record holders so public expectations of this car's performance were high. So much so that toy manufacturers in various countries, who had made and sold large and expensive models of the previously successful 1000hp 1927 Sunbeam along with several Bluebirds and a Golden Arrow, all rushed to be the first to market the expected new Land Speed Record holder before it even arrived in America where it was to run on Daytona Beach.

Sadly the car never lived up to its promise, managing a run of just 186mph. It then caught fire, dashing its builder's, driver's and the public's hopes, along with those of the toy manufacturers expectations of record sales.

The second golden age of Land Speed Record attempts was the 1960s, and it really took off when people started using cheap war surplus jet aircraft engines in record attempt cars.

In 1965, Walt Arfons, who had already built a previous jet-powered Land Speed Record holder, decided to try and outdo both his brother Art and another rival, Craig Breedlove, who had pushed the record from a little over 400mph to over 530mph!

He based his efforts not on the jet engine, but on 15 Jet Assisted Take Off (JATO) solid fuel rockets. These were normally used for assisting jet fighters in taking off over shorter distances and with heavy payloads. Despite the fact that each rocket had 1,000lbs of thrust, the car could not take the record.

Walt and his driver, Bobby Tatroe, experimented with firing all the rockets at the same time as well as firing them sequentially. The problem was that the rocket burn was too short, lasting less than 15 seconds. The acceleration, though, was phenomenal, giving a standing start mile of 247mph, maxing out at over 406mph, but the average speed over the mile was too low to take the record. Nevertheless, this still remains one of the most dramatic looking cars ever to attempt the Land Speed Record and deserves a place in any serious LSR collection.

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