April 2, 2009

Steam-powered car aims at speed record

The British builders of a steam-powered car say they are targeting 127.7 mph, the speed record for steam-power set in 1906.

The team said the car, nicknamed the world's fastest kettle, made it up to 80 mph Wednesday during a test run on a Ministry of Defense runway at the Thorney Island airfield in West Sussex, England, The Times of London reported Thursday.

Don Wales, 48, who drove the car during the test run, said all appears on track for the record attempt in June at the Edwards Air Force Base in California.

The car really did handle beautifully. As it was building up steam, you could hear it gurgling, he said.

The steam-powered car contains 12 boilers that are made from nearly 2 miles of tubing. The water, which is used by the car at a rate of 13.2 gallons per minute, is superheated to 750 degrees and injected into the vehicle's turbine at more than two times the speed of sound.