Fastest Land Speed Record in the World – Top 10 List

Land speed records are synonymous with those who achieve the fastest speed on a wheeled vehicle. It could be a motorcycle, a car, even a jet propelled vehicle qualifies. Truth be told, in setting speed records, “cars” are non-existent.

Different associations from different countries collaborated to establish land speed records. They follow specific criteria when recognizing land speed records. They are as follows:
1) You have a fixed length course to drive on (i.e.Bonneville Speedway, Black Rock Desert, Daytona Beach)
2)
Obtain the speed over two passes (round-trip) within one hour
3)
You get the average of those two, and that is your record. To establish a new record, you must surpass the existing record by at least 1 percent to be considered a valid record-breaker.

The first recognized land speed record on a wheeled vehicle dates back to 1898 in Acheres, France. The speed was just under forty miles per hour. Many attempts throughout the next 40 years since that first record were made for wheeled vehicles. The last record to stand for wheel driven vehicles was in 1938, on the Bonneville Salt Flats with a speed of 345 MPH, nearly ten times faster than that first one.

The record stood for 25 years. After 1938, the world was entrenched with WWII, the Korean War, and The Cold War. Suddenly in the 60s, that “need for speed” found its way back to men psyche. They saw how the jet and rocket engines were used to win the war. Yeah, of course they were on planes, but why not on the ground? This signaled a new advent in setting land speed records, using a jet or rocket engine to propel man faster.

Of course, why not pick up where they left off? At the Bonneville Salt Flats. In September 1963, with national pride overflowing in the USA, the latest attempt of a world record would be made. This time, it was a three-wheeled vehicle using a turbojet engine pushing it across the salt flats at 408 miles per hour. Driven by American Craig Breedlove, The Spirit of America raced across the Utah landscape faster than anyone had at that time.

Bonneville Salt Flats became the destination for men who aspired to push it to the limits. In 1970, “The Blue Flame”, a rocket propelled vehicle, made the headlines by reaching six hundred and thirty miles per hour. The record stood for 13 years. A man from the UK, Richard Noble, drove a British designed, turbojet propelled, vehicle, Thrust2, at 633 miles per hour in 1983.

The British invasion continued fourteen years later, in October 1997, Andy Green, a member of the British Royal Air Force, reached supersonic speed. This time, Black Rock Desert, a dry lake bed in Nevada witnessed the historical blur of Andy Green. The engine, a turbofan, powered ThrustSSC at a speed of 763 miles per hour.

Who’s going to set the next land speed record? Stay tuned!

Top Ten Fastest Land Speed Records

1. Thrust SSC – Great Britain (763 mph)
Former British Royal Air Force Pilot Andy Green set the fastest recorded speed in October 15, 1997 at Black Rock Desert, Nevada. At 763 mph, Green is the frist to reach supersonic speed on land. The ThrustSSC, blended the know how of 4 British gentlemen, Glynne Bowsher, Ron Ayers, Jeremy Bliss, and Richard Noble, himself a record holder. They used a turbine gas engine (turbofan) by Rolls Royce, the recognized leader in aircraft engineering.

Thrust SSC

2. Thrust2 – Great Britain (633 mph)
Richard Noble bursts into the scene of Land Speed Records at Black Rock Desert, Nevada on his Thrust2 in October 4, 1983. Clocking at six hundred thirty three miles per hour using a single Rolls Royce jet engine, Noble became the first Brit since George Eyston to establish a land speed record.

Thrust 2

3. The Blue Flame – United States (630 mph)
Driver Gary Gabelich, a native of San Pedro, California, sat on the cockpit of the rocket powered vehicle while establishing a record speed of 630 miles per hour across the Bonneville Salt Flats on October 23, 1970. Built in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the engineering used in the Blue Flame saw the combining of hydrogen peroxide and LNG(Liquid Natural Gas).

Blue Flame

4. Spirit of America Sonic 1- United States (600 mph)
Craig Breedloves last attempt on the Bonneville Salt Flats on November 15, 1965. An updated version of his Spirit of America Sonic 1, he clocked an average speed of six hundred miles per hour using a turbojet engine.

5. Green Monster - United States (576 mph)
Art Arfons found himself on the Bonneville Salt Flats on November 07, 1965. Riding is turbojet propelled Green Monster for more time, he established a short-lived land speed record of 576 miles per hour. Art Arfons and his brother Walt built vehicles that varied, mostly dragsters and turbojet powered vehicles, thus the Green Monster.

Art Arfons' Green Monster

6. Wingfoot Express - United States (415 mph)
The vehicle is a J46 jet powered car driven by Tom Green in 1965 at the Salt Flats in Bonneville. The Wingfoot Express is a product of the collaborative effort between Green and Walt Arfons.

Wingfoot Express

7. Thunderbolt - United Kingdom (345 mph)
Using twin Rolls Royce R-Type V12 aero engine to drive this vehicle, Captain George Eyston set the record that stood 25 years. The record was set on August 28, 1938 at the Bonneville Salt Flats, one year later World War 2 started, thus the reason for the lull in between records.

8. Campbell-Railton Blue Bird - United Kingdom (301 mph)
With the Brits pushing the limits, the Blue Bird was powered by a 2,300 HP 36.7 litre supercharged Rolls Royce R V12 engine in setting the record at the time. Setting the record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in September of 1935, Malcolm Campbell was first to reach the 300mph mark for land locked vehicles.

9. Irving-Napier Golden Arrow - United Kingdom (231 mph)
The record set on March 11, 1929 was made by Henry Seagrave who holds the distinction of establishing both land and water speed records at the same time. A 925 hp, 23.9 litre naturally-aspirated Napier Lion W12 aero engine (ice cooling, no radiator) provided the push for this record setting run at Daytona Beach.
Irving-Napier Golden Arrow

10. White Triplex Spirit of Elkdom - United States (207 mph)
Using three Liberty aero engines from the previous war, Ray Keech, an American, wrestled the record from the British hold of the Land Speed Record. Another run was made later on the same vehicle, but the man driving it, Lee Bible, died during his 2nd attempt.

  • David

    1. The Thrust #2 Jet Car Twin Engine Car is the Fastest of the top Ten Fastest Jet Cars in History too! The top Maxium Speed is 763 Miles Per Hour too!!!

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  • David

    1. The Fastest And the Latest Salt Flat Speed Record is Great Trust SSC #1 first Jet Car to Hit over the Sound Barrer Spped too! Of Great Britian is the U.S.A. Salt Flats Speed Record is 763 M.P.H . is offical Fastest in History to true!!! Or Mack 1.004 too!

  • tom

    Picture of the wingfoot express is not the record setter it is the rocket car jet car broke the record wrong picture

  • the car named dagger gt can do 315MPH / 500KMPH

  • really thrust ssc is like r…………………………..ocket

  • Alexandro Basha

    Their is a car called Bugatti Veyron Super Sport that can do 270mph!!

  • As it is it seems that already the fastest road car can exceed 250mph. I hope there will be such a car that can exceed 300mph in the not too distant future. By that I include a car with the extra seats and doors. I believe the land speed record back in 1935 was in excess of such speed.

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  • By the way, how about a road car that can exceed 300mph? Already the fastest road cars seem to be capable of exceeding 250mph.

  • a gilbert

    Hi isee there s no picture of the Thunderbolt , i picked up a picture of it in a tray which it turns out to be an original by G . REEVE the tray we think was a pressent from eyston to his friend Miles Thomas who worked at R .R , and later i think became M.D at British Leyland . Any info ?

  • Eric West

    You seem to have forgotten the Railton Mobil Special, driven by John Cobb, which established a land speed record of 394.19 mph (634.39 km/h)on September 16, 1947. This record stood until 17 July 1964 when Donald Campbell set a record of 403.10 mph (648.73 km/h),in Bluebird CN7, the first jet powered record car, although the jet was harnessed to a gearbox and drove the wheels. This is still the fastest time for a vehicle propelled through its wheels.

    The Railton Mobil Special was in fact a rebuild of the 1938 Railton Special
    which set a record of 353.30 mph (568.58 km/h)on 15 September 1938, the first time 350 MPH had been reached. This record stood for less than 24 hours and was beaten by George Eyrton at 357.50 mph / 575.34 km/h.

    Cobb then set a new mark of 369.70 mph on 23 August 1939 and this mark stood through the war. The Railton Mobil Special exceeded 400 MPH in a non record trial, the first car to do so.
    Cobb died in a speedboat during a water speed record attempt, crashing at over 200 mph but being the first person to exceed 200 mph on water.

  • tom groh

    wingfoot is a rocket car jato rockets

  • coogi

    thos are cool just if they were a beter desine one the outside

  • tom groh

    the spirit of america car is not sonic one its the first spirit of america but i still think its the nicest looking land speed car i ever seen

  • tom groh

    that wingfoot express picture is walters rocket car did not break land speed record. Wingfoot jet car broke land speed record 413. mph can send you a picture if you want me to

  • reuel

    bogusssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

  • chewbacca

    yeah the torq thrust ssc

  • Alex Steen

    @David P.Curcione, You idiot, salt flats are in wendover Utah not Nevada

  • David P.Curcione

    The Fastest Supercar Street Legal is 470 Miles per Hour Car too! It is a piston Engine Car only too! It a Supercar #1

  • BORING WE WANT REAL CARS NOT THESE USELESS THINGS THAT WE WILL NEVER EVER SEE ON THE ROAD…

  • Peter Clark

    Why in heavens sake don’t you publish the most significant “wheel driven” land speed records, is this a “Brit Site” too proud to admit that American Chrysler V8’s broke 409 MPH. Pretty sad. Take care on the roads.
    1965 Summers Brothers’ Goldenrod

    (Photograph courtesy of The Henry Ford Museum)

    The Goldenrod’s four fuel-injected Chrysler Hemi engines combined for somewhere around 3000 horsepower. The engines were mounted in line–the two out front powered the front wheels, while the aft engines handled the back axle. In 1965, driver Bob Summers piloted the car to 409.3 mph. That record for piston-powered, wheel-driven cars stood for 26 years. The Goldenrod is now on display at the Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Mich.

  • pakman

    the golden arrow look like the bat moblie pimp version 🙂

  • cheyenne

    the bugatti veryon and the ssc ultimate areo are faster than #10 and #9.

  • bloodhound ssc is much faster than that old junk

  • swank murkin

    the nimbus 2000 is faster than all of this junk

  • Weirdo

    My go-Kart goes faster than those peices of crap

  • corvhini

    not for long ssc, just wait till the bloodhound is finished

  • GAZ

    thust SSC man SICK!!!!!!!!!!