October 4, 1983 – Thrust 2 sets new land speed record


If you found yourself in The Black Rock Desert in Nevada on this day in 1983 you would not find yourself at Burning Man. However, youwould have witnessed the land speed record being broken by Richard Noble driving the Thrust 2, a jet propelled car designed by Britain’s John Ackroyd. The vehicle hit a top speed of 650.88 mph but held the record at 633.468 mph, as that was the average of its two runs held within one hour of each other. 

The vehicle is powered by a single Rolls-Royce Avon jet engine from an English Electric Lightning fighter plane from the Cold War era. The land speed record set by Thrust2 held steady until Andy Green drove ThrustSSC to 714 miles per hour in September 1997. He topped that, hitting 760 miles per hour, a month later. Today both cars reside at the Coventry Transport Museum in Coventry, England. 

Above: ThrustSSC by Culture Coventry Trust – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0. Top: Thrust2. By AJB83 at English Wikipedia – Own work

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