Ladies and Gentlemen…. The Napier Railton. It is machinery like this which forms the very bedrock on which our total commitment to The Car is based. It’s only because of the work of clever chaps in oily overalls decades of years ago that Motorsport- and consequently fast cars- ever became a thing. We thank them.
We also thank Fiat, for building a car in 1911 with a 28.4 litre (1734 CID) four cylinder engine. And we collectively thank our chosen higher forces for the fact that we can see, hear, smell and feel their presence today.
This is Poseidon. Driving it must be a challenge. Driving it well must need miracle reflexes and an innate ability to communicate with metal.
That engine, which to look at appears more closely related to an industrial boiler or some kind of Victorian catering aparatus, nevertheless creates fire and brimstone enough to develop 300hp. There are no exhausts (there were, once, but they aren’t present today) so the headers are completely open. This means big gulps of flame and perceptible shockwaves within quite a wide radius as it passes.
This car hasn’t been seen, let alone driven hard, in public for A Century. Well, all I can say is it was well worth the wait. For everybody. Just standing next to it as it cooled down, I felt privileged to be there.
Not really sure which images to use. I’ll just put them all up.
Those seats have been perched upon by the bottoms of one hundred and four years worth of people. I’m equally Eww and Woah.
Scant information on offer to the driver, steering wheel looks like it once either weighed anchor or controlled the flow of liquid in an industrial pipeline. I guess the only information the driver needs between starting the engine and silencing it, is whether he’s still alive or not.
And so to the Napier Railton. The same voices of awe and celebration apply here equally, except that in this case we have an extra injection of Aerospace thinking. Under that long, alluringly polished bonnet there beats the heart of a Lion. An un-supercharged Napier Lion Aero engine of 24 litres capacity with a dozen cylinders in a w-configuration. 580hp (measured at 5000 feet…..because aeroplane) and brakes on the rear wheels only. Interesting, when you’re doing 168mph.
Which it could do. In fact, it averaged 150mph for 24 hrs at Bonneville. These cars were driven by heroes.
If you’ve got a moment, get a beverage and watch the video below which includes these two monsters arriving into their garages. I only wish you could smell it.
(All images and video copyright Chris Haining / Redusernab 2015)