MARCH 29, 1927: FASTEST SLUG IN THE WORLD
1927: The Sunbeam 1000 HP, aka the Slug, was the first car to go faster than 200 mph, in Daytona Beach, Florida. The great Henry Segrave was at the wheel and set a new land-speed record of 203.79 miles per hour
Although the car was best-known as the “1000 HP” car, it actually had closer to 900 horsepower. (But why quibble when 1,000 is such a nice round number?)
The Sunbeam 1000 HP was nicknamed “the Slug” because it looked like one. It was created by the famed manufacturer in Wolverhampton, England, and was the first non-American car to set a land speed record. In later years, Sunbeam would be known for such “practical” ideas like stuffing a Ford V-8 into a sports car the size of a Miata.
“THE QUEST FOR THE RECORD BECAME A RACE AGAINST TIME”
Sunbeam’s later mechanical craziness pales in comparison to what it achieved with the 1000 HP. The general tendency to any engineering question in the pre-war era was inevitably “more power.” Sunbeam used two Sunbeam Matabele 22.4-liter aircraft engines in the car to get more power.
The impressive Matabele featured double overhead cams and a four-valve-per-cylinder layout. There were two spark plugs per cylinder and ignition was by four magnetos (two per bank).