1904: Gordon-Brillie driven by Louis Rigolly

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4 cyl. 8 piston Petrol
110 bhp
13,500 cc
Bore x Stroke:
140 x 220 mm
Rear via chains
998 kg
Top Speed:

94.78/103.56 mph


Louis Emile Rigolly is one of the many early motoring pioneers that little is known about, or at least we here at Unique Cars & Parts were unable to derive much information (his name does crop up in the early prize-lists when motor racing was young).

Nevertheless we do know that Rigolly achieved the distinction of being the first man to top the magid “ton”, and if for no other reason he is a worthy inclusion on this site.

Just imagine what it would have been like, sitting in the open on springs like a stage-coach and tires that might burst any minute, with giant chains whirring under your elbows, leaping from bump to bump in a cloud of dust, then you can measure the heroism of the man.

Rigolly first beat Vanderbilt's 92.3 mph with his Gobron-Brillie, then, not satisfied with this speed, he had the monster specially tuned for one of those periodical gatherings when all the fastest men on earth got together for an ear splitting drag session. This time it was on the fast Ostend road in July 1904.

The Gobron-Brillie was really a road racer, not a specially prepared automobile designed to take out the world land speed record.

But despite that, Rigolly “piloted” the beast along the 1 kilometre stretch in an amazing 21.6 seconds, at a speed of 103.56 mph.

Also See:

Land Speed Record Drivers
Herbert Austin LSR Attempt
History Of The Land Speed Record
Unique Cars and Parts USA - The Ultimate Classic Car Resource