Cobb and his Comrades take 21 World’s Records on the Napier Railton
A MAGNIFICENT PERFORMANCE WHICH MAKES A CLEAN SWEEP FROM 50km. TO 24 HOURS
THE official confirmation of the series of records set up by John Cobb and his co-drivers T. E. Rose-Richards and C. P. Dodson on the Bonneville Salt Beds, Utah, U.S.A., brings to a fitting close this magnificent effort of British drivers of an all-B.-itish car. This achievement together with the records of Sir Malcolm Campbell over distances of one and five miles and one, five and ten kilometers, and Wizard Smith’s surviving record of 164.08 for ten miles, means that every one of the world’s records except the short distance standingstart ones are held by citizens of the Empire.
We give below a list of the old and the new figures. Those marked with asterisks were put up by Hans Stuck at Avus last year, driving the enclosed Auto-Union, while the rest were held by Ab Jenkins on the Pierce Arrow, and were gained on these same salt beds. The performance of the latter driver, who drove single-handed throughout the 24 hours, will not be readily forgotten, and when comparing the new figures with the old, it should be remembered that the capacity of the Pierce Arrow was less than eight litres. New Old
The organisation of a record breaking attempt of this nature was no mean feat in itself, for fuel, oil and fifty large tyres, not to speak of spares and the car itself, had to be transported 6,000 miles from headquarters and the final journey from the railhead too miles from the Beds being
made by lorry. Except for the discomfort caused by the intense heat and the glare from the glistening white surface of the salt, Cobb found everything to his liking, and after a preliminary canter round the ten mile circuit in which he broke the lap record, he got down to business.
The first records to be attacked were the six held by Stuck. The three shorter ones stood at just over 150 m.p.h., so Cobb set off at a little over that speed, and carried on with only the slightest reduction of speed for a complete hour. The utmost stamina in car and driver are required for this coveted record, and Cobb and his car deserve all praise for their success. Unless some other driver goes to America to challenge it, the figures are likely to stand for a long time.
Eyston of course plans to attack them on the “Spirit of the Winds,” his new car, which he is taking to America some time this month, but the “Hour” is rather a severe test of an untried car.
Reverting to the record attempts, the second attack was started by John Cobb at 2 a.m. on Tuesday, July 16th. The car is fitted with headlamps, which are carried on a detachable bar, and a dynamo driven from the engine, and the white surface of the salt forms an excellent reflector, so the stalwart driver set off once more at his 15o m.p.h. pace, only coming in after five hundred miles for refuelling. He then carried on until he had completed his 44 hour spell, and handed over to RoseRichards. Rose-Richards continued on to the t,000 mile mark, and Charlie Dodson then took over. At midday the temperature was no less than 117 degrees in the shade (and no shade), and the drivers suffered considerably from the scorching of the sun and also from the salt which was blown up into their faces. During the early hours of the morning strong winds also added to their difficulties. Only two tyre changes were needed, but at half-distance the course became damaged by the pounding of the heavy car, and the drivers had to switch over to a new one. Not least of the difficulties was the way in which tents of
spectators were pitched close to the edge of the course, while those on foot wandered about in the most dangerous places. A final trouble was when a tyre went after 20 hours, but Rose-Richards, on whose spell the “flat” had occurred, quickened his pace to nearly 150 m.p.h. again, and the 24 hour record was finally taken at the splendid speed of 134.7 m.p.h.
The Napier-Railton was designed by Reid Railton and built for John Cobb by Thompson and Taylor of Brooklands. The engine is a 450 h.p. Napier aero unit with twelve cylinders in three blocks of four and a capacity of 23,890 c.c. The three-speed gear-box is surprisingly compact, being used only for getting away. The rear-axle ratio is 1.6 to i and an elektron sump is fitted to avoid any possibility of overheating.
The chassis members are of very deep channel section, tapering at the front and rear ends. The rear suspension, which was specially designed for steadiness on Brooklands, must surely be unique. Two cantilever springs are used on either side, one above the other, a form of construction which relieves the axle casing of most of its stresses and gives additional security in case of a broken leaf. The front-axle is carried above the side-members, with the semi elliptic springs passing underneath it. Two sets of Andre shock-absorbers are used on each set, one set being of the TelocontrOl type. The car weighs 2 tons, and the all-out speed is in the neighbourhood of 170 m.p.h.
COBB’S CAR AND EOUIPMENT. Car designed by A Reid Railton and constructed by Thompson and Taylor.
Equipment included NaPier engine; B.T.H. magneto; National Benzole mixture; Shell oil; K.L.G. plugs; Dunlop tyres and cushions; Hoffman bearings; Ferodo clutch and brake linings; gears by Moss Gear Co.; propellor shaft by Hardy Spicer; rear-axle gears by E.N.V.
Electrical equipment by Rotax; Petroflex tubing; Smith’s instruments; British Jaeger rev, counter; frame and cross members, John Thompson (pressings); Serek radiator; shock-absorbers by T. B. Andre and Co., Ltd., also Luvax, Ltd.; road springs, Jonas Woodhea,d; tubing, Accles and Pollack; Firth steel.
Triplex goggles and windscreen; Arens controls.