Thrust SSC and Thrust 2 – Coventry, England - Atlas Obscura
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Coventry, England

Thrust SSC and Thrust 2

One of these two land speed record-breaking vehicles went so fast it shattered the sound barrier. 

No longer zooming at record-breaking velocities, these two futuristic vehicles have put their need for speed behind them. They’re now happily retired and at rest within the Coventry Transport Museum, where they amaze visitors with their historic accomplishments.

When Royal Air Force fighter pilot, Wing Commander Andy Green broke the world land speed record in 1997, his supersonic, jet-propelled car Thrust SSC was the first land vehicle to shatter the sound barrier. As of March 2018, the record still stands at mind-boggling 763 miles per hour.

The record Green broke (a still-impressive 633.468 miles per hour), was set in another jet-propelled car, Thrust 2, piloted by Richard Noble (who was also project director of Thrust SSC). This vehicle was powered by a single jet engine from a fighter plane. Many people think that with its genuinely car-like design, it’s aesthetically more pleasing than Thrust SSC, which has two jet engines and looks very much like a plane stripped of its wings.

As if having just one of these iconic vehicles were not enough, the Coventry Transport Museum houses both of them. The two vehicles are now parked in a special part of the museum dedicated to world land speed record attempts. They remain two of the most popular exhibits in a museum which is not short of fantastic vehicles, ranging from bicycles to fire trucks.

Know Before You Go

If driving toward the museum, take care to avoid the many camera-equipped bus only lanes in the city.