1997: Thrust SSC driven by Wing Commander Andy Green

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Thrust SSC

United Kingdom
Twin Rolls-Royce Spey
Top Speed:

763 mph

Blue Flame

In 1997 the Thrust2's record was broken by Richard Noble's follow up car, the Thrust SSC (Super Sonic Car). This later iteration was jointly developed by Richard Noble, Glynne Bowsher, Ron Ayers and Jeremy Bliss.

On October 15, 1997 the car achieved an incredible 1,228 km/h (763 mph), and in the process not only smashing the land speed record, but also claiming the title as the first land vehicle to ever “officially” break the sound barrier.

The car was driven by Wing Commander Andy Green, again at the Black Rock Desert in Nevada USA. Powered by two afterburning Rolls-Royce Spey engines (as used in British F-4 Phantom II jet fighters), the twin engines developed a thrust of 223 kN (50,000 lbf) and burned around 4 Imperial gallons per second.

After the record was set, the World Motor Sport Council released the following message; “The World Motor Sport Council homologated the new world land speed records set by the team ThrustSSC of Richard Noble, driver Andy Green, on 15 October 1997 at Black Rock Desert, Nevada (USA).

This is the first time in history that a land vehicle has exceeded the speed of sound. The new records are as follows: Flying mile 1227.985 km/h (763.035 mph), Flying kilometre 1223.657 km/h (760.343 mph).

In setting the record, the sound barrier was broken in both the north and south runs. Paris, 11 November 1997. If only Count Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat could have been there to see it.

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