World’s Fastest Sunbeam


It’s not often we find ourselves drawn to a WLSR vehicle. But when we saw the ‘Slug’, the 1926 1000HP Sunbeam ‘Mystery’ at Beaulieu over the summer, we were stopped in our tracks.

It seems the renowned English carmaker, who we remember mainly for making the achingly pretty Alpine, had more to its heritage than we thought.

There’s something about the brutally burly lines of the aerodynamically bodied machine that puts it out in front of other aspirants to the Land Speed Record in that pioneering era.

The slug was, apparently, powered by a pair of 22.4 litre aircraft engines, one situated forward, one aft of the driver. In 1926, driven by English playboy aristo Henry Seagrave, this was the first wheeled vehicle to exceed 200 mph – and the first non-American car to streak across the rubicon on the classic Daytona beach testing grounds.

Shows that pleasing, classic design and purposeful focus were never mutually exclusive.