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January 25, 1905 – A new land speed record

Arthur Macdonald at the wheel of the Napier at Daytona

The sands of Daytona Beach, Florida proved to be the perfect location for early auto racing and speed tests. It remains popular with the auto sport industry to this day. It was there, on this day in 1905, that British daredevil Arthur Macdonald piloted a Napier six-cylinder racing car named Samson to a new land speed record of 104.65 mph (168.42 km/h). 

The L48, as the car was formally known, featured tubular radiators running along each side of the bonnet, giving it a one of a kind appearance. With an 848 cubic inch engine pumping out more than 90 horsepower, Macdonald was able to cover the five mile course in 3 minutes and 17 seconds. The car would find success in races across Great Britain and France before having its motor mounted to a boat in Australia. A replica of Samson was created by Bob Chamberlain at the end of the 20th century using the original motor.

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