By on October 29, 2017

bloodhound-ssc

It has been a long time since anybody set a new land-speed record. In the early days, it seemed like a new benchmark was set every couple of years but the current bar hasn’t budged since 1997 — when Andy Green screamed across Black Rock in the Thrust SSC at a mind-warping 763 mph.

There is a new jet-propelled “automobile” preparing to break that record, backed by a multi-million-dollar venture between Geely Automobiles, Rolls-Royce, and anyone else interested in seeing a wheeled rocket scoot across the ground at supersonic speeds. There will not, however, be a new driver. Andy Green will be reprising his role as the fastest man on sand whilst piloting the Bloodhound SSC in South Africa.  (Read More…)

By on December 4, 2013

Not following the hip-hop scene closely, I’m not really sure who Nas is, a quick search shows that he’s a successful rapper and actor. I do know who Malcolm Campbell and Viktor Frankl were. Sir Malcolm was a British racer and writer, who set and held world land and water speed records in the 1920s and 30s in cars and boats called Blue Bird, many of his own design, breaking the LSR nine different times. Campbell’s final record, set at the Bonneville Salt Flats in the Blue Bird V, made him the first human to drive a car more than 300 mph. Frankl was a psychiatrist and neurologist who founded a form of existential analysis called logotherapy. After surviving the Holocaust of European Jewry by the Nazis, with his psychic wounds still fresh in 1946 he wrote Mans Search For Meaning, which hasn’t gone out of print since its publication. As part of an ad campaign that’s something about ‘chasing your wild rabbit‘, Hennesey cognac had director Martin de Thurah cut two versions of a long form television commercial, really a short film, called The Man Who Couldn’t Slow Down, about Campbell. It’s not a commercial trying to sell a car but it’s the best commercial with a car that I’ve seen in a long time.  (Read More…)

By on February 14, 2010

[Note: A significantly expanded and updated version of this article can be found here]

That air presented the greatest obstacle to automotive speed and economy was understood intuitively, if not scientifically since the dawn of the automobile. Putting it into practice was quite another story. Engineers, racers and entrepreneurs were lured by the potential for the profound gains aerodynamics offered. The efforts to do so yielded some of the more remarkable cars ever made, even if they challenged the aesthetic assumptions of their times. We’ve finally arrived at the place where a highly aerodynamic car like the Prius is mainstream. But getting there was not without turbulence. (Read More…)

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