1929: Irving Special driven by Sir Henry Segrave

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Irving Special

United Kingdom
12 cyl. Napier Lion Aero
23,948 cc
930 bhp @ 3500 rpm
3 Tons
Top Speed:

231.44 mph

Irving Special

Captain J. S. Irving, who designed the 1,000 horsepower Sunbeam, was also responsible for Segrave's final mount, the Irving Special or Golden Arrow, one of the prettiest record breakers made.

A new idea which was tried and worked was a telescopic sight so that the driver could aim the car without taking his eyes off the oil-slick ahead.

Irving had left Sunbeam by the time he was asked to design the car, and this time decided to use a Napier Lion aero engine of the 900 horse-power Schneider Trophy type as used by Malcolm Campbell at one stage of Bluebird's development.

This engine, as used in the Supermarine S.5, ran on a 10-1 compression ratio, and British Petroleum (BP) supplied a special alcohol fuel, used at the rate of three miles to the gallon.

Segrave sat only nine inches from the ground inside the aluminum shell, in a car 27 ft 8 in long, only 3 ft 9 in high, and weighing 3 tons 12 cwt.

This car was believed at the time to have been capable of much higher speeds than it actually achieved, but a fatal accident to the American driver Lee Bible made Segrave give up the idea of further runs before he ever had Golden Arrow fully extended.

He only took the engine to 3,250 rpm. Although this was enough to achieve an incredible 231.44 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