October 04, 2006

Today in Automotive History

1983 : The end of America's speed domination

After nearly 20 years of domination by Americans, Briton Richard Noble raced to a new one-mile land-speed record in his jet-powered Thrust 2 vehicle. The Thrust 2, a 17,000-pound jet-powered Rolls-Royce Avon 302 designed by John Ackroyd, reached a record 633.468mph over the one-mile course in Nevada's stark Black Rock Desert, breaking the 631.367mph speed record achieved by Gary Gabelich's Blue Flame in 1970. Previous to Gary Gabelich there was Craig Breedlove, the American driver who recorded a series of astounding victories in jet-powered vehicles during the 1960s, breaking the 400mph, 500mph, and 600mph barriers in 1963, 1964, and 1965, respectively. In 1997, Breedlove and Noble returned to Black Rock Desert again, this time in a race to break the elusive 700mph barrier. On September 25, team leader Noble watched as British fighter pilot Andy Green set a new land-speed record in their Thrust SSC vehicle, jet-powering to an impressive 714.144mph over the one-mile course. But the greatest victory for the British team came on October 13 of that same year, when Andy Green roared across Black Rock Desert at 764.168mph, or 1.007 percent above the speed of sound. Appropriately, the first shattering of the sound barrier by a land vehicle came on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the first supersonic flight, achieved by American pilot Chuck Yeager in 1947.

Posted by Quality Weenie at October 4, 2006 05:14 PM | TrackBack