The Land Speed Record is something that humans always see as a human physical achievement. What is the fastest we can make anything move on land? Obviously none of these vehicles will ever be seen on our everyday roads. These vehicles are built with the pure purpose to go very fast in a straight line. The aerodynamics, lack of any equipment and materials used are space-age and really quite outstanding. We decided it would be interesting to have a look back at the Land Speed Records of the past and see just what the fastest land vehicle ever is. All these speeds are recorded over a 1-mile track.
Railton Mobil Special (1947) – 394.19mph
The last vehicle that purely used an internal combustion engine which is what our everyday cars used was way back in 1947. This was the last time that scientists chose this method and have since used jet and rocket propulsion. Back in 1947, John Cobb from Great Britain raced in the Railton Mobil Special in Bonneville Salt Flats, USA to achieve an amazing 394.19 miles per hour in a land vehicle.
Bluebird CN7 (1964) – 403.10mph
It took another 17 years before the Land Speed Record was broken again. This time, the vehicle in question utilised a Turboshaft form of power rather than an internal combustion engine. This resulted in the vehicle having a far more explosive and continuous increase in speed. The record was set by another Brit in Donald Campbell in Lake Eyre in Australia who reached 403 mph over the space of 1 mile.
Spirit of America (1963) – 407.447mph
In 1963 Craig Breedlove recorded a time of 407.447, however, the FIA Regulations who recorded the times marked the time as disqualified as it didn’t meet the regulations. Spirit of America only featured 3 wheels and it was not wheel-driven since its jet engine did not supply the power to the axles. However, later on the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme decided to allow the Land Speed Record but class it under a different system. In fact, the Spirit of America was the only three-wheeled vehicle to have any form of Land Record. The record was set in the USA on the Bonneville Salt Flats as many records to come would be.
Wingfoot Express (1964) – 413.2mph
Now, these records may seem to be a little jumbled up as we see that Donald Campbell set a record in 1964 too, after the higher record by Craig Breedlove. However, as explained, Craig’s record wasn’t truly accepted for over a year later. However, in 1964, Craig’s record was quickly broken after it was accepted by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme by Tom Greene in the Wingfoot Express on the Bonneville Salt Flats too, setting a time of 413.2mph over a 1-mile space on October 2nd.
Green Monster (1964) – 434.03mph
However, literally three days later, Art Arfons went and broke the record again by over 20mph setting a brand new record in the Green Monster. Art Arfons was another American racing at Bonneville Salt Flats in a Turbojet engined vehicle. With a staggering speed of 434.01mph, many thought his record would stand for quite some time. However, Craig Breedlove had some revenge in store and looked to break the record again, and break it he did.
Spirit of America – Sonic 1 (1965) – 600.601mph
Craig Breedlove and Art Arfons had a little rivalry throughout 1965 which saw them both consistently racing their vehicles to break the Land Speed Records. However, eventually Craig Breedlove used the engine found in the Green Monster in his Spirit of America vehicle and along with a few adjustments, he absolutely smashed the Land Speed Record, not only breaking the 500mph barrier on November 2nd but going on to break the 600mph barrier 13 days later. Outstanding performance and record that stood for 5 more years.
Blue Flame (1970) – 622.407mph
5 years later, an American called Gary Gabelich attempted the Land Speed Record and broke it by smashing 622mph over the 1-mile mark. The Blue Flame was the first land vehicle in history to go over the 1000km/h mark which was seen as a huge achievement. The record was set in Bonneville Slat Flats once again and used the first Rocket in a vehicle rather than the TurboJet which had been used for the previous 5 years or so.
Thrust2 (1983) – 633.47mph
It took another 13 years for Gary Gabelich’s record to be broken and even then it was only just broken by an additional 11 miles per hour which is a testament to the incredible record set in 1970 by the Blue Flame and even the record broken by the Spirit of America Sonic 1 which set the bar so high and pushed the Land Speed Record so far forward in the space of 13 days. The Thrust2 was the first Land Speed Record set in Black Rock Desert in America rather than Bonneville Salt Flats in a very very long time.
ThrustSSC (1997) – 763.035mph
And finally, we have the current day Land Speed Record set by the Thrust2’s successor the ThrustSSC which was the first vehicle to use a Turbofan. In September of 1997, it absolutely smashed the record by recording a wicked time of 714.144mph, however, after a few minor modifications, it went and broke the record with a simply outstanding time of 763.035mph. Not only is this the fastest a vehicle has ever gone on land it is also the frist vehicle to be the first supersonic vehicle. This means that the ThrustSSC was at one point travelling so fast that it broke the speed of sound meaning the vehicle was visibly in front of the sound that it was producing. This results in the sonic boom that you hear when you hear jets zoom around above us. This incredible record was broken by a British man by the name of Andy Green. We bet there isn’t much left in this world that can scare him anymore. This record is so great, it has been nearly 20 years and has yet to be broken, the longest the Land Speed Record has ever been held.