Home > Car Tech, Industry News > Toward a New Land Speed Record: the North American Eagle “Turbojet Car”

Toward a New Land Speed Record: the North American Eagle “Turbojet Car”

We found a really interesting article on XConomy Seattle and just had to share it with you.  Ed Shadle, 68, and Keith Zanghi, 55, partners and co-owners of the North American Eagle, are nearing the end of “a more than 11-year journey to build the fastest land vehicle in the world. The goal: 800 miles per hour.”  That’s faster than the speed of sound.  According to Wikipedia, “In dry air at 20 °C (68 °F), the speed of sound is 343 meters per second (1,125 ft/s). This equates to 1,236 kilometers per hour (768 mph), or about one kilometer in three seconds and about one mile in five seconds.”

There are a number of competitors to break the current world record for land speed of 763.1 mph, held by Great Britain’s Richard Noble and Andy Green since 1997 with their ThrustSSC.  To set the new record and beat its competitors,

the North American Eagle will have to beat the previous record holders by one percent, meaning that it will need to be clocked at a speed of 770.7 mph for a distance of one mile, twice within a 60-minute time period (going in opposite directions). The two measurements, taken to ensure there is no tailwind advantage, are averaged to give a final speed. In order to push the Eagle even harder, the team has made a number of additions to the engine, including switching from a two-line to a four-line burner, allowing twice as much fuel to be pumped into the afterburner in the same amount of time, and adding about 2,000 more horsepower to the engine.

That, my friends, is FAST and POWERFUL.  Take a look at the North American Eagle:

The North American Eagle: Future World Land Speed Record Holder?

The North American Eagle: Future World Land Speed Record Holder?

The North American Eagle is a 56-foot-long tubular car built from the fuselage of a Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. Shadle and his crew are all based in Washington state.

For both Shadle and Zanghi, the thirst for speed was born out of a love of drag racing at an early age. And naturally, like any “typical teenager of that era,” as Shadle calls himself, drag racing led to more racing at higher speeds, and eventually, flight.

“For me, it started back when I was just a kid back in the late ‘40s, early ‘50s. My uncles were all back from World War II and they got into stock car racing—the old jalopies running on dirt tracks. And of course we used to go to the races, so I’d hang out in the pits and watch my hero uncles,” Shadle said. “My first drag race on a real strip was at an airport. We raced on Friday nights for 50 cents and you could race all night.” Later, in his 20s, Shadle joined the Air Force and developed his career as a pilot.

“Just like Ed, we all grew up with the space program. The Mercury astronauts were my heroes—the Gemini and Apollo [as well]. All I did was build model airplanes when I was a kid,” Zanghi said.

Ed Shadle in the cockpit of the North American Eagle, a contender for the world land speed record

Ed Shadle in the cockpit of the North American Eagle, a contender for the world land speed record

Wish them luck, success, and safety as they speed towards and through the sound barrier!  I wonder if they’ll play Coldplay’s “Speed of Sound” at the victory celebration party?  I think it’s appropriate.

We’ve got some fast exotic sports cars here at Select Luxury Cars in Marietta, GA (just Northwest of Atlanta), but nothing quite like this!  Still, you can call us at 770-421-0070 or visit our Atlanta luxury car showroom at 985 Cobb Parkway South, Marietta, GA 30060.  Or email us at info@selectluxury.com.

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