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• Early records, often achieved with electric cars such as Camille Jenatzy’s La Jamais Contente (65mph, 1899) and steam-powered vehicles such as Fred Marriott’s Stanley Steamer (127mph, 1906).
• Britain’s speed kings, most significantly Malcolm Campbell, whose record-breaking began with a Sunbeam 350HP (146mph, 1924) and culminated in him becoming the first man to exceed 300mph, in his final Blue Bird (301mph, 1935).
• Other notable British achievements, including Henry Segrave’s Golden Arrow (231mph, 1929), George Eyston’s Thunderbolt (345mph, 1938), John Cobb’s Railton Mobil Special (394mph, 1947) and Donald Campbell’s Bluebird (403mph, 1964).
• American pre-eminence in the jet age, when a flurry of Bonneville records fell to Art Arfons in Green Monster (576mph, 1965), Craig Breedlove in Spirit of America (600mph, 1965) and Gary Gabelich in Blue Flame (622mph, 1970).
• Richard Noble’s exploits at Black Rock Desert, first as a driver in Thrust2 (633mph, 1983), then as mastermind of ThrustSSC, the current record holder with Andy Green and the only car to have broken the sound barrier on land (763mph, 1997).
• Besides the absolute records, the book covers national and class records where we encounter vehicles as diverse as Dave Spangler’s Turbinator II (fastest wheel-driven car), Andy Green’s Dieselmax (fastest diesel), Rocky Robinson’s Ack Attack (fastest motorcycle) and Don Wales’s Inspiration (steam-powered record-holder).
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