From the TG archive
EVERY JOURNEY BEGINS WITH A SINGLE STEP. EVEN 1,000MPH CARS COME FROM SHEDS...
1977 n 1952, Englishman John Cobb passed 200mph in his speedboat on Loch Ness. Shortly afterwards, at around 210mph, his front plane crashed and it was all over.
Beforehand, a fve-year-old Richard Noble had seen the boat moored beside a pier on the loch. Just seeing it bobbing on the water was enough to give him the speed bug, and explains why, 24 years later, he sold his Triumph TR6 and bought a RollsRoyce jet engine. At the same time, he found an old truck chassis and put the two together in a London lock-up using Black & Decker tools.
He called his creation Thrust 1 and, in 1977, after a few slowish shakedowns, took it to RAF Fairford for a proper airing. It was a rather crude contraption, and Noble had little experience of racing – or engineering, for that matter. With the engine shrieking behind him, he held the car on the brakes while it shuddered and strained, before releasing it down the runway.
For a short time everything went well. But at 140mph a wheel bearing seized, and his attempt was cut short. The car fipped over, rolled three times in the air and landed on its side. The jet pipe broke loose, and the rest of the car was thoroughly crumpled. Noble was shaken but OK (he’d even managed to shut of the engine while upside down in the air).
So he climbed out and went to the pub. He later sold the wreckage to a scrap dealer and put the £175 towards another jet engine. He also met an engineer by the name of John Ackroyd, and the two men began work on Thrust 1’s successor. Six hard years later, this time at the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, Noble installed himself in Thrust 2.
The rest is history. With an average speed of 633mph, Noble became the fastest man on Earth. He went on to build Thrust SSC, which Andy Green piloted to 763mph in 1997. And today he’s the man behind Bloodhound SSC, which Green will attempt to drive at 1,000mph in South Africa in 2016. All thanks to a Triumph TR6 and a few power drills…
IJumps vast truck over moving Formula One car Car parks illegally on tramline. Bystanders pick it up and move it Pays to resurface training ground track after players ruin their alloys Drives Stang up Golden Gate Bridge footpath. Gets wedged Crashes McLaren P1 a day after buying it. Blame the boost