Deartháir’s post was unbelievably awesome, and it shook loose this nugget from my skull about airplane-engined insane cars. The Railton covers all the bases: unusual aircraft-derived engine cylinder layout, multiple engines, unusual power delivery.
Let’s get more specific: first, anything with a Napier badge on the block is pretty awesome. I’ve got a serious obsession with the , which in my opinion is possibly the most badass engine ever created. Well, even Napier’s “more conventional” engines, like the were pretty wild. Yes, that’s W, not V. Lightyears before Volkswagen had even dreamed of gorging upon Bugatti’s epic past to build a W16 quad-turbo Veyron, the Railton was sporting two of the monster 23.9 liter Lions with additional supercharging, making a total of 2,700 HP. That is space-time-warping levels of awesome. It was also enough to make it the first land vehicle to break 400 MPH.
The second is how these Lions were laid out. No transmission at the time could handle anywhere near 2,700 HP, so Reid Railton, the eponymous creator of the Special, had a bright idea – why not use two transmissions and two driveshafts? Each engine powered a different axle, giving functional four-wheel drive. A Subaru it wasn’t – we think of 4WD as an offroad thing, but for Railton, it was just a solution to getting the power down. The Special ultimately held the world land speed record until 1964, when jet-powered vehicles got into the game. For being all kinds of badass, this gets the Redusernab seal of approval and the nod for the first update to our Craziest Engines list.
Seven miles a minute! Wow, that just sounds cool.