Blending the past and future, a steam-powered car vies for a speed record.
It’s the ultimate steampunk fantasy: a sleek racing machine, powered by Victorian-era propulsion technology, roars across the Utah desert fast enough to capture a land speed record.
As we went to press, the British Steam Car Team were planning to show up at the Bonneville Salt Flats with an aerodynamic vehicle that it hoped would claim the long-dormant Steam Land Speed Record. Burning liquid petroleum gas to pressurise a 368 kW Curtis turbine, the speedster is theoretically capable of achieving velocities in excess of 240 km/h. That’s not much compared with the absolute land speed record of 1 228 km/h, but it would be enough to top the current international steam record of 205,4 km/h, set in 1906 by the Stanley Brothers’ 22 kW “Rocket.”
Length: 7,6 m
Body: Tubular steel frame with carbon composite and aluminium panels
Fuel: Liquid petroleum gas
Power: 268 kW
Top speed: 240 km/h-plus
Initial acceleration: 0,14 g’s