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Auto Racing – 1947 – Special Feature – John Cobbs Railton Special Breaks 400mph Land Speed Record

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….in a vehicle that weighed over 3 tonnes….and was 28 ft 8 in (8.74 m) long….8 ft (2.4 m) wide….and 4 ft 3 in (1.30 m) high…. with front wheels that were 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m) apart and the rear 3 ft 6 in (1.07 m). 

On 15 September 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…..when Thunderbolt re-took the record within 24 hours (357.50 mph / 575.34 km/h)….while holding it again until Cobb took it a year later on 23 August 1939 at a speed of 369.70 mph (594.97 km/h).

After the Second World War further development and sponsorship by Mobil Oil led to renaming as the Railton Mobil Special…..which was the first ground vehicle to break 400 mph (640 km/h) in a measured test….when on 16 September 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…..before the American  Goldenrod set a new mark for piston-engined, wheel-driven LSR cars eighteen years later.

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