In March 1929 the British driver Henry Segrave set a new land speed record of 231 mph in his purpose-built car, the Irving-Napier Special (‘Golden Arrow’). Read about the record, the car and the driver.
1 – the number of land speed records secured by Segrave and Golden Arrow.
11 March 1929 – the date that Segrave secured a new land speed record, at Daytona Beach in Florida.
231.362 mph – the new speed record set for the flying mile (372.46 km/h).
6 minutes – the approximate time it took to turn the car around for the return run, which involved repairing a cooling system air cock (which had been leaking and spraying the windscreen with steam and hot water) and changing the four wheels.
2 – the number of weeks Segrave spent at Daytona Beach prior to his record attempt, arriving in February 1929.
1 – the number of practice runs Segrave undertook upon arriving at Daytona (the first time he had driven the car), testing up to around 180 mph (289.68k km/h). His next drive would be to set the new record.
120,000 – the estimated number of spectators present to watch the record attempt.
323 – the number of days that the previous record had stood, set by Ray Keech in his car White Triplex.
23.894 mph – the amount by which Segrave beat the previous record (38.62 km/h).
36 – the approximate total mileage that Golden Arrow had completed by the completion of the record.
Did You Know?
Segrave intended to make further attempts to beat his own record during the same visit, but just two days later Daytona was closed following a fatal crash in which both the driver (Lee Bible) and a Pathé news photographer (Charles Traub) were killed. Bible was in the previous record holding car, White Triplex, after team driver Ray Keech had refused on safety grounds.
696 – the number of days Segrave retained the record (1 year, 10 months, 25 days), until it was beaten by Malcolm Campbell in Blue Bird.
1 – the number of power units in the car, a single, naturally aspirated, Napier Lion W-12 aero engine (two of these engines, now supercharged, would later be used in John Cobb’s Railton car.
3.5 tonnes – the approximate weight of the car.
23.9 litres – the capacity of the engine (1,462 cubic inches).
925 bhp – the available power output.
27 feet 6 ½ inches – the length of Golden Arrow (8.39m).
13 feet 4 inches – the wheelbase of the car (4.06m).
44 inches – the height of the car at the highest point (1.12m).
7 ½ inches – the ground clearance beneath the car floor.
Did You Know?
Whilst Golden Arrow was the popular name for the car, it was officially called the the Irving-Napier Special, named after the designer, Captain J.S. Irving (who also designed the 1,000hp Sunbeam with which Segrave had achieved land speed records between 1922-27), and after the engine, a W12 Napier Lion aero engine.
25 seconds – the length of time the Dunlop tyres could withstand a speed of 240 mph, identified using specially constructed test equipment.
15 seconds – the approximate amount of time that Golden Arrow spent at the record speed of 231 mph, driving through the measured mile.
£10,000 – the estimated cost of building Golden Arrow.
22 September 1896 – the date Henry O’Neil de Hane Segrave was born, in Baltimore, Maryland, to parents Charles William Segrave and Mary Lucy Segrave (née Harwood).
May 1915 – the month Segrave transferred from the Royal Warwickshire regiment to the Royal Flying Corps, where he would achieve the rank of Major.
2 – the number of times Segrave was shot down during the war.
I always seemed to make a mess of landing. Henry Segrave recalling his time as a pilot.
13 June 1930 – the date Henry Segrave passed away, whilst making an attempt on the water speed record at Lake Windermere in the English lake district.
33 – Segrave’s age at his death (33 years, 8 months, 22 days).
2009 – the year English Heritage erected a blue plaque at St Andrew’s Mansions, Dorset Street, Marylebone, London W1U 4EQ, to commemorate Henry Segrave’s residency of flat no. 6.