Reaching 127mph in 1906, the Stanley Steamer has held onto the land speed record for a steam-powered car for 103 years. But its reign may be about to end, thanks to the efforts of some plucky British folk. The British Steam Car team said on Tuesday that, earlier in the day, in the two runs required to be considered for the record, the British Steam Car averaged 139.843mph over a measured mile.
Tuesday's achievement still awaits official confirmation from the certifying agency, the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile.
The British Steam Car, a project 10 years in the making, has a carbon-fibre body, weighs 3 tonnes and measures 7.6m long. It sports 12 boilers, and its steam gets superheated to 400°C before being injected into the turbine.
In each of its runs, the Steam Car, driven by Charles Burnett III, travelled more than 6 miles on a dry lake bed at Edwards Air Force Base, California. On either side of the measured mile, it required a 2.5-mile stretch for acceleration and deceleration. In going for the record, the vehicle had to make the second run within an hour of the first, and the steam team says it made the turnaround on Tuesday in 52 minutes.
The vehicle's peak speed in the first run was 136.103mph, and 151.085 mph in the second. These are the kind of stirring figures that bring a tear of joy to an 'umble Craver's eye, and demand a rendition of the national anthem. All together now...