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24 Litre Napier-Railton Endurance Record and Track Racing Car

1933, ERA Shed, On long term display

Commissioned by the Brooklands driver John Cobb, and designed by Reid Railton, the Napier-Railton was built by Thomson and Taylor at their engineering works within the Brooklands Track.

The car was completed in 1933 and first appeared in a race at Brooklands in August of that year. Designed specifically to break endurance records and race at Brooklands, the Napier-Railton excelled at both. It won several high-profile races at Brooklands, broke numerous world endurance records, and set the ultimate Brooklands lap record.

The Napier-Railton’s racing days at Brooklands came to an end in 1937 as it became too heavily penalised by the handicapper to win races, but the story didn’t end there. In 1949, the car was hired from John Cobb by the Romulus Film Company and was used in ‘Pandora and the Flying Dutchman’, a film about a racing car driver starring James Mason. Then in 1951, the car was sold to the GQ Parachute Company of Woking, who had the car modified for testing aircraft braking parachute on the runway at Dunsfold airfield. The car then passed through many private owners before Brooklands Museum returned it to its rightful home with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Technical Specifications

24-litre, 12 cylinder, Napier Lion aero engine

535 bhp at 2550 rpm

1300 ft/lbs torque

Top speed c.170mph

Three speed Moss gearbox without reverse

Prominent Races & Records

21/9/1935, Winner of the BRDC 500 Miles Race at Brooklands

7/10/1935, Brooklands Outer Circuit lap record by John Cobb of 143.44mph (a record never beaten).

12/9/1936, World 24-hour record at an average speed of 150.6 mph on Bonneville Salt Flats

18/9/1937, Winner of the BRDC 500 Kilometre Race at Brooklands

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