do You remember the FIAT waking up to life after a century of slumber? A hellish roar, black smoke, fire, and rudeness in the pure state. Its four-cylinder engine cubicaba more than 20 litres, but the protagonist of our story leaves him in the ridiculous. It was called White Triplex Special, and it was a race car designed to beat speed records. With three aero engine Liberty L-12 twelve-cylinder, to a total of 81 liter displacement, and an estimated power of 1,500 HP, their goal was to exceed 200 miles per hour. The sands of Daytona Beach lived its glory and disaster. This is an engrossing story, but a story of tragic ending and painful. You are advised.
At that time, the only easy way to get raw power was to install a larger motor.
Were in the last 20 years, and the grieving Campbell-Seagrave was at its peak. These two british competed to be the men’s fastest planet, arrebatándose records every few months. Jim White – a wealthy businessman from Philadelphia, decided that it was time to bring the speed record on land to the united States. And for this, he devised and built a vehicle which he named “Triplex by White”. Also known as the White Triplex, their approach to the speed record was very american: displacement, more displacement and zero refinement. What such os rings the use of engines seized of aviation and a chassis business from a truck?
1928 was the year in which the speed became deadly in the sands of Daytona Beach, Florida. And a large part of the blame is the White Triplex. To achieve a maximum speed of record there were not many alternatives at the end of the year 20: power was the solution. White is made with three engines of aviation surpluses of the First World War, three giant Liberty L-12. Three engines are already so out of date, but the aviation engines were the only way to get raw power quickly at that time. Each one of the gigantic V12 air intake developed an estimated power of 500 HP, for a total of 1,500 HP.
Suspensions of leaf springs, tires that are not wider than those of a utilitarian and even a retention system for the pilot. It was also the year 1928.
This beast of 81 litre displacement and 1,500 HP had a size of about 5.85 meters and a weight of no less than 4.068 kg. A motor is mounted in front of the pilot, and the other two engines were mounted in the rear. At the end of years 20 did not take into consideration the safety of the pilot: he was sitting between the front engine and the two engines in the rear. The White Triplex was not gearbox or clutch, just a direct transmission of a single relation: the car had to be started “to push” and there was no way to stop it once the engines were torn off. The only way to stop it was to cut the fuel supply.
One of the few considerations to safety were a few rudimentary drum brakes. Only mounted on the rear axle, by the way. The front of the car was fairing, but not had any concession to aerodynamics, beyond a small windshield for the pilot. To make the record attempt on the sands of Daytona, the judges demanded that the car be able to turn back on by itself. After the failed attempt to install an electric motor – completely inadequate to the force of the three V12 – White came up with an additional axis coupled by means of a secondary transmission. A solution that is truly farfetched and almost improvised, but effective.
Not demonstrated its operation, and not mounted during the record attempts, but received the nod from the judges.
The story of a record that should not have been tried to overcome
Few pilots are dedicated to the speed record survived for a long time of their deeds at that time.
on April 22, 1928, Ray Keech was at the wheel of the White Triplex. The pilot had experience in speed records pre-and a great track record in racing of the era. In the endless sands of Daytona Beach, Keech did two test rides. In the first, was scalded with boiling water: one of the hoses of a radiator to be let out. In its second trial run, flames from the front engine had burns on face and arms. Keech had to visit the hospital prior to the final attempt of record. The White Triplex was beginning to prove that it was a difficult beast to tame.
In his third attempt to end, Keech managed a tip speed of 207,55 miles by now, equivalent to 334,02 km/h. An impressive figure for the year 1928, but the record was not kept intact even a year. In 1929, Henry Seagrave exceeded 230 miles per hour, also in Daytona Beach. Jim White reconvened Ray Keech to retrieve the record, but Keech refused to conduct again the Triplex. It was an unknown named Lee Bible in charge of piloting the Triplex again, the owner of a car workshop, with a very limited experience in oval ground. Lee Bible did not take a good decision one month of march.
For the Bible was the opportunity of his life, but the life has sometimes a sense of humor very black. The tour of record it was made a round and a turn. The back Bible is not able to overcome the 186 miles per hour, and in the back he tried to beat his own mark. He crossed the line to 202 miles per hour, but possibly in a moment of fear, he lifted the foot from the accelerator very abruptly, and the car lost its way. The car crashed into the dunes and took more than 60 metres to stop, twisting and turning of the hood and ending at the moment with the life of Lee Bible. The car was absolutely destroyed, with only its engines recognizable.
A photographer was a secondary victim of the accident, and died by getting in the path of the car. If he had stayed in his assigned place, nothing would have happened, the car came in your path of escape. Second parts were never good, and it was not the only story of record failed of the time. guts and desire of fame exceeded the common sense.
Source: Selvedge Chino Yard
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