Designed and built solely to break the 200mph barrier, Major Henry Segrave’s Land Speed Record, V12 aero-engined Sunbeam, affectionately known as ‘The Slug’, will go on tour to selected UK and European events from the UK’s National Motor Museum at Beaulieu in a bid to raise £300k for the car’s restoration. The Sunbeam’s two Matabele V12 aero engines, each of which produced 435bhp, were chosen for the bespoke design by Sunbeam Chief Engineer Louis Coatalen, with the driver’s cockpit positioned between the front and rear engines. The total weight of this massive car was well over 3 tons, while its unique streamlined bodywork earned it its nickname. The engines have not run for over half a century after corrosion attacked their internal workings.
In 1927, some 30,000 spectators gathered on the sands at Daytona Beach to watch Major Segrave set a new world record by driving the car at an average speed of 203.79mph. Strong winds on the first outward run caused the car to skid violently, forcing him to drive into the sea to slow down, but he was still able to make the return journey and set the new record.
Working together with Hampshire-based Brookspeed Automotive, the campaign aims to raise enough money from companies and individuals to complete the restoration in time to take the car back to Daytona in 2027 for the 100th anniversary of the record-breaking run. See the national Motor Museum’s website for details and to make donations https://nationalmotormuseum.org.uk. For footage of the Sunbeam’s record-breaking runs, go to Beaulieu’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/MotorMuseum.
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