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BABS John Cobb on Starting Line at Brooklands

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Unusual 10x8 inch (250x200mm) black and white photo reprinted from a 1926 original of the famous land speed record car BABS. Seen here with the famous John Cobb at the wheel instead of it's usual driver , J G Parry Thomas. It appears to be about to take the start of a record run of some kind - the car did attempt assorted short distance records before taking the flying mile record at Pendine Sands in 1926. The venue is Brooklands track where it actually raced several times in 1926 before Thomas drove the car to two land speed records.

Thomas took the car with it's Liberty V12 WW1 aero engine to Pendine sands in his native Wales (where BBC TOP GEAR often films today ) in 1926 and recorded a the highest speed of over 170mph. In 1927 he was killed trying to go even faster when the car rolled over in the soft sand and fatally injured him. The car was then famously buried in the dunes and not recovered untill it was dug up in 1969 when there was still found to be air ressure in some of the tyres!  Today it's been restored and appears in demonstration runs at events like Goodwood Festival Of Speed.

Cobb took the lap record at Brooklands with the Napier Railton at a speed which will never be beaten as the track ceased to operate in 1939 and bits of it are now covered in houses and car parks... He went ot to take severl land speed records, becoming the first man to drive at 400mph in 1947. He was kiled in 1953 when his speed record boat CRUSADER crashed on Loch Ness during a record attempt.

This shot shows the later version of the car some time after Thomas aquired it from the estate of Count Zborowski (creator of Chitty Bang Bang) who had built it for racing at Brooklands but was killed racing a Mercedes in 1924. By this time the car was given slimmer and more sleek bodywork., further enhanced for it's fatal final run in 1927. It features the curious Brooklands-can-and-fishtail silencer which local residents insisted the cars at Brooklands were fitted with from the mid 20s onwards!