Read the story behind some of Britain’s most famous record breakers
Reid Antony Railton created an extraordinary range of cars. He rose to prominence during the 1930s as chief engineer at Thomson & Taylor, a racing car builder based at Brooklands. There he realised the dreams of that era’s top men of speed, including Tim Birkin, Malcolm Campbell, Whitney Straight, John Cobb, Raymond Mays and Goldie Gardner. His great cars powered them all to sensational racing and record-breaking success. Man of Speed, by the respected and knowledgeable Karl Ludvigsen , tells Railton’s personal and professional story in superb detail and fascinating depth, with special focus on Reid’s unique genius — and technical accomplishments.
All aspects of Railton’s life discussed in painstaking detail, including:
• Record-breaking on land by evolving Railton-designed Blue Bird cars for Sir Malcolm Campbell, smashing the 300mph barrier in 1935.
• Designing and building chassis and suspension for the celebrated ERA, working with Raymond Mays and Peter Berthon.
• Creating the great Napier-Railton, with which John Cobb achieved the fastest-ever lap at Brooklands in 1935 and set numerous long-distance records at Bonneville.
• Railton’s supreme engineering achievement, John Cobb’s land-speed record challenger, takes the record ever higher, culminating at Bonneville in 1947 with 394.2mph – which remained unbroken for 16 years.
• More speed records in numerous classes with Goldie Gardner’s Railton-revised MG EX.135 either side of the war.
• The lure of speed on water: designing two successful record-breaking boats for Sir Malcolm Campbell and Crusader for John Cobb, who exceeded 200mph on Loch Ness in 1952 moments before crashing fatally.
• Road cars too: working with Parry Thomas on the Leyland Eight supercar of 1920-23, his own Arabs of 1925-27, road-going Railtons from 1933 and a decade of top-level consulting for America’s Hudson Motor Company.
• In WW2 working with America’s Hall-Scott on high-powered engines for Britain’s fast patrol boats.
Read the full story of one of Britain’s greatest automotive minds.