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Auto Racing – 1947 – John Cobbs Railton Breaks 400mph Land Speed Record + Mauri Rose Wins Indy 500


The Railton Special, later rebuilt as the Railton Mobil Special, is a one-off motor vehicle designed by Reid Railton….and built for John Cobb’s successful attempts at the land speed record in 1938.  On September 15, 1938, the Railton Special took the land speed record from Thunderbolt at 353.30 mph (568.58 km/h)…. also being the first to break the 350 mph (560 km/h) barrier.  Eyston re-took the record within 24 hours (357.50 mph / 575.34 km/h)….and holding it again until Cobb took it a year later on August 23, 1939 at a speed of 369.70 mph (594.97 km/h). After World War II, there was further development and sponsorship by Mobil Oil….which led to renaming as the Railton Mobil Special.  It was the first ground vehicle to break 400 mph (640 km/h) in a measured test.  On September 16, 1947, John Cobb averaged 394.19 mph (634.39 km/h) (385.6 & 403.1) over the measured mile in both directions to take the world land speed record….as seen in this video herewith…..before the American Goldenrod set a new mark for piston-engined, wheel-driven LSR cars eighteen years later.  The Railton Mobil Special is currently on display at Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum, England.  

Maurice “Mauri” Rose (May 26, 1906 – January 1, 1981) was an American racecar driver….who started from the pole position driving a Maserati in the 1941 Indianapolis 500….but spark plug problems put him out of the race after sixty laps.  He then took over the Wetteroth/Offenhauser car being driven by Floyd Davis that had started in 17th place. Rose went on to win.  In 1947 and 1948, Rose captured back-to-back Indy 500’s driving one of the Deidt/Offenhauser Blue Crown Spark Plug Specials, owned and prepared by veteran driver/car owner Lou Moore.  Late in the 1947 race, Rose found himself lying second to his rookie teammate, Bill Holland….but Holland thought he had more than a lap lead on Rose….instead of just a few seconds….when as Rose closed on Holland and to his amazement….Holland gave way without a battle and even gave Rose a friendly wave as he went past on his way to victory. Holland was furious afterward….but teammate Mauri got to kiss the starlet at the end of the race.

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