Showing posts with label Classic Land Speed Record Cars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Classic Land Speed Record Cars. Show all posts

Renault Etoile Filante

Renault Etoile Filante classic land speed record car

You might not think there would be much to connect the Renault Dauphine runabout - and a land speed record car! The Renault Etoile Filante's LSR attempt, however, was, in part, to publicise the new roadster. To that end, Renault recruited race car designer Albert Lory. He was tasked with taking the Etoile Filante from project to projectile. Into his design, Lory duly incorporated a space-frame chassis, plastic bodywork, massive disc brakes and torsion bar suspension.

Power for the Etoile Filante's record attempt came courtesy of Turboméca. The French aero-engine manufacturer supplied the car's gas turbine motor. The device was dubbed the Turmo 1. It was a thirsty piece of kit. Three fuel tanks were required to supply it! One of them - fabricated from synthetic rubber - was in the car's nose. Placed fractionally fore of the cockpit, it would not have pleased 'Health & Safety' much! The plucky pilot was Jean Hebert. He drove the Etoile Filante to 191.2mph. That was sufficient to topple Rover's turbine-powered tally. A new record had been set!

The Etoile Filante was another example of the sci-fi mania sweeping the Fifties. In the US, especially, anything which smacked of spacecraft was a surefire hit! The Etoile Filante - or, 'Shooting Star' - fit the bill perfectly. Its record-breaking run took place at the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah. There could be no doubt Renault had pushed the boat out, technically. More than a mere marketing stunt, the Etoile Filante provided invaluable lesons for real-world cars, for years to come. Straight-line stuff it may have been, but there was still much for Renault to learn. Acceleration, road-holding and braking data from the Etoile Filante fed into future Renault models. After all, there is no surer test of a car's stability, than a stab at a world land speed record! The Etoile Filante made 270bhp - all of which had to be efficiently transmitted to the salt. Clearly, Renault's planning passed muster - as its successful run showed. The Renault Etoile Filante, then, was a fine example of French forward thinking ... in every sense of the phrase!

Goldenrod

Goldenrod classic land speed record car

It was in 1965 that Bob Summers drove Goldenrod to a new world land speed record of 409mph. The backdrop was the Bonneville Salt Flats - Utah's Mecca of straight-line speed. What set Goldenrod apart from many of its rivals was its relative orthodoxy. It was, quintessentially, a car ... albeit, one which pushed the automotive envelope. Whereas some of its contemporaries were borderline, at best, Goldenrod proudly declared its roadster credentials.

Key to that claim was its engine. To wit, a 6.9-litre Chrysler V8. Well, actually, four 6.9-litre Chrysler V8s! Two of them turned the front wheels - the other two, the rear. Their combined output was 2,400bhp. And they were not even supercharged. Now, that is efficient engineering! Saying that, they were fuel-injected.

But, Goldenrod was about more than pure power! Aerodynamics were just as important. The car was assembled in Ontario, California - by driver Summers, and his brother Bill. Sensibly, Bob built a mock-up, beforehand. It was this scaled-down model that first caught Chrysler's eye. Summers was sure that his dream could be realised. And - after studying the mock-up - Chrysler agreed. The green light was given - and Goldenrod began to take shape. Its length alone - all 10 missile-like metres of it - buoyed Chrysler with confidence. Summers explained that Goldenrod's weight was to its advantage. It would force its aluminium wheels - shod, as they were, in Firestone tyres - solidly into the salt, he said. He was proved right. Goldenrod duly snatched back the land speed record from Brit Donald Campbell. It was almost 40 years since the USA had made the fastest four-wheeler on Earth. Goldenrod had been shot down from hot rod heaven - expressly for the purpose. A shining example of America's need for speed!