19 May 2023
In 1898, Frenchman Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat, in an electric-powered Jeantaud Duc, was the first holder of the World Land Speed Record with a mind-blowing time of 39.24 mph or 63.15 km/h, which sounds even more impressive.
On April 29th of 1899, ‘La Jamais Contente (‘the never satisfied’), from Belgian engineer Camille Jenatzy exceeded for the first time 100 km/h, reaching 105.88 km/h.
The first car to break 100mph was a 90hp Napier owned by S.E. Edge; the car was driven by a British man named Arthur MacDonald, who clocked 104.65mph over the measured mile in 1905.
In the 30s, the British were supremely dominant, breaking the record five times, with the record to almost 370mph; John Cobb then hit 394mph in 1947.
In the 60s, two Americans exceeded 400mph.
And now the current land speed record stands at 763.035 mph (1,227.985 km), achieved by the Thrust SSC driven by Andy Green in 1997, and still the only car to travel faster than the speed of sound.
The only serious contender was the UK-based Bloodhound project, which had created a car targeting 1,000 mph through the combination of jet and rocket propulsion. Sadly, the project went bankrupt in 2018.