The very first automobile to exceed 100 mph within the U.S. was a 1904 Napier Samson L48 with a 15-liter, six-cylinder gasoline engine beneath the hood. Pushed by British mechanic Arthur Macdonald, the Napier set a world document for breaking the 100 mph barrier in January 1905, clocking in at 104.651 mph.
Napier set a number of information with the Samson (so named for its tangle of cooper cooling tubes that evoke a picture of the Biblical topic of the identical title), after which much more after an engine swap for an enormous 20-liter beast.
Dorothy Levitt set the Girls’s World Velocity File driving the Napier in 1906, a document that stood unchallenged till 1963. Later that yr, driver Walter Thomas Clifford-Earp raced the Napier in a 100-mile contest in opposition to none aside from Vincenzo Lancia (the Italian founding father of Lancia automobiles) driving a Fiat and Louis Chevrolet, driving a Christie. After one of many tires exploded at mile 32 on what’s now Daytona seaside, Clifford-Earp ran the remainder of the way in which on three intact tires and one Rudge Whitworth wire wheel. He received with 50 seconds to spare.
Alas, the automobile led a tough life, and after years of laborious racing, it was bought for scrap. Each engines (the 15-liter and the 20-liter) had been repurposed in a speedboat; because of this, Napier grew to become the one producer on the earth to carry each the world land and the world water velocity information.
Many years later, the unique engine was found in Australia, lined in mud. Alan ‘Bob’ Hawker Chamberlain, producer of Australian-made Chamberlain Tractors, determined to tackle the problem of rebuilding this iconic automobile and consulted with researchers together with Napier’s authentic schematics and pictures. Chamberlain created scores of wood casting patterns for the undertaking, rebuilt the physique across the powerplant, and began the engine as soon as once more in 1982 after 67 years of neglect.
The Napier Samson L48 loved a second life as a present and exhibition automobile for a decade, after which it was consigned to Australian businessman Peter Briggs, who purchased it in 1983 and cared for the Napier in the previous few many years of his life.
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