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1. The Arno Motor Company of Coventry 1908-1916, by Damien Kimberley
2. The Beech on Wheels, by Derek Robinson and forum member Foxcote
3. A brief history of Saint Osburg's, in pictures, by Damien Kimberley
4. The Brough Superior, by Damien Kimberley
5. Coventry Volunteer Fire Brigade - Illustrated London News, Jan 4th 1862
6. Coventry's Great Flood - London Daily Graphic, 2nd January 1901
7. Coventry's Rich Heritage, by Pete Walters
8. Coventry, the Home of the Cycle Trade - 1886 magazine article
9. Coventry, the Silk Trade and the Horsfall family, by Ian West
10. D-Day and Monty's Staff Car, by Paul Maddocks
11. The Dragoon Cycle Company of Coventry, by Damien Kimberley
12. Edwin Brown, Victorian Animal Artist, by Stephen Catton
13. The First Tudor Feast, by Richard Ball
14. The Great Flood of December 1900, and the lost Bridges, by Damien Kimberley
15. Henry Cave, and the 'Lady' Autocar of 1899, by Damien Kimberley
16. Let's talk about Rex, by Damien Kimberley
17. The Lion Bicycle Company of Coventry & Wolverhampton 1877-1882, by Damien Kimberley
18. Miss Bashford, a Teacher's Tale, by Simon Shaw
19. Motor Panels (Coventry) Ltd, by Damien Kimberley
20. The New Bablake Schools - 1889 article
21. New Drinking Fountain at Coventry - 17 Sep 1859
22. Not Forgotten, the 1939 IRA bomb attack, by Simon Shaw
23. Phil Silvers Archival Museum, by Paul Maddocks
24. Proposal for St. Michael's Campanile c1890
25. Public Baths - The Building News, Jan 24th 1896
26. The Saint Joseph the Worker parish in Coventry, by Terence Richards - Part 1
27. The Saint Joseph the Worker parish in Coventry, by Terence Richards - Part 2
28. The Saint Joseph the Worker parish in Coventry, by Terence Richards - Part 3
29. A short history of Coventry's Theatres and Cinemas, by Bill Birch
30. Sixty Years of Cycling - 1897 magazine article
31. The sound that almost killed my Dad in the War!, by Paul Maddocks
32. The Tapestry and its Hidden Secret, by Paul Maddocks
33. Transport Museum pt.1 - How the Queen's 1977 visit sowed the seed, by Paul Maddocks
34. Transport Museum pt.2 - New Hales Street Entrance in 1985, by Paul Maddocks
35. Transport Museum pt.3 - Creating the Blitz Experience, by Paul Maddocks
36. Transport Museum pt.4 - Coventry's Land Speed Record Cars, by Paul Maddocks
37. Transport Museum pt.5 - The 1987 F.A. Cup Winners' Sky Blue Bus, by Paul Maddocks
38. Transport Museum pt.6 - The Royal Cars, by Paul Maddocks
39. What links a Spitfire's landing gear to a baby buggy? by Paul Maddocks
40. What links R2D2 to a Coventry Hydrogen/Electric cab company? by Paul Maddocks
41. Whitefriars Gatehouse and Toy Museum, by Paul Maddocks
42. WW1 and Wyley of Charterhouse, by Paul Maddocks
43. 1930s Austin's Monthly Magazine articles, by John Bailey Shelton MBE
44. Plan for the City Centre - The Architect and Building News, 21st March 1941
 

Transport Museum pt.4 - Coventry's Land Speed Record Cars, by Paul Maddocks

The first Thrust car
The first attempt by Thrust did not end well.

Richard Noble was keen to break the world land speed record. His first car, called Thrust, crashed and overturned, but his next car, Thrust 2, was better designed and more thoroughly tested.

Thrust 2 broke the world land speed record in 1983 at the Black Rock Desert, USA, with a speed of 633 mph, driven by Richard Noble. Subsequently, the Thrust team decided that the car should be allowed to tour the UK to allow the public to get a close-up view of this historic car.

Chris Boyce, the Transport Museum's Development Officer, decided to contact the Thrust team to see if they would be willing to loan it to the Coventry Transport Museum. Not only did they agree to do so, but they agreed that the museum could be the home of the car whilst not on display anywhere else. The car was on the back of a low loader and it would be parked up in the large display area at the rear of the museum. Sometimes it would be taken out to attend race meetings or exhibitions.

Thrust 2
Richard Noble achieved his first land speed record success in Thrust 2.

In 1986 the Thrust team decided that the car would be placed on permanent loan to a museum, and they held a competition to decide which organisation could come up with the best proposition for displaying the car. Everyone assumed the car would join other former land speed record cars, such as Bluebird, the Golden Arrow, etc., which were then displayed at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu. However, Chris Boyce, and I as the museum's Exhibition Officer, had other ideas, and proposed a multi-media, audio-visual exhibition. It was far and away the competition winner and Thrust 2 duly arrived on permanent loan.

The Thrust 2 auditorium was opened to great acclaim in 1987, and visitors regularly stood and applauded after seeing the audio-visual show called 'The Fastest Car on Earth', a brief history of land speed cars and the ups and down of the Thrust 2 attempts to break the record. It was a twelve-projector show with a short film project at the end of the final run. It would then go completely dark and Thrust 2 would appear from behind closed curtains with associated visual and audio support. With spinning spotlights, it gave the appearance that the car was speeding forward with a great rumble and roar.

ThrustSSC on parade in Broadgate
ThrustSSC on parade in Broadgate.

This display continued for a number of years and, in 1992, the Thrust team decided to sell the car to raise funds for their ThrustSSC project. The museum, led by Barry Littlewood the Managing Director, immediately set about raising the purchase price. Through setting up a lottery, unique gifts were given to the museum, such as prizes like a go in Pete Waterman's Ferrari sports car around the Silverstone race track, and many other one-off prizes. This was years before the National Lottery was set up. We sold tickets throughout the year at many different events - including the NEC Motor Show, the Royal Show at the Stoneleigh Showground, and many more. We raised thousands of pounds, and this funding was matched by various grants from national funding bodies. Eventually the money was raised and Thrust 2 was purchased for the city in March 1993.

In 1997 ThrustSSC broke the world land speed record - this time driven by Wing Commander Andy Green, again at the Black Rock Desert in the USA, at a speed of 763 mph.

ThrustSSC
ThrustSSC remains one of the Transport Museum's most popular attractions.

The relationship with the Thrust team was such that, with the engineering support of many local companies (so much so that the car is the only world land speed car to have the name of a city on its side, and carries the legend City of Coventry), that it was agreed it would go on a public tour of the city in December 1997. Such was the huge public reaction that there was a great clamour for ThrustSSC to be acquired by the City and join Thrust 2 at the museum. The museum staff accepted responsibility for raising funds and, thanks to massive support from the newly formed Heritage Lottery Fund, the purchase price was soon realised and ThrustSSC was acquired for the people of Coventry.

Thunderclap

ThrustSSC was originally displayed in Broadgate on its arrival. The crowds were given 'MACH 1' Thunder Clappers to recreate the sonic boom. I had printed loads of comic type card and paper Clappers which had ThrustSSC on (see above). In the 'Mach 1 exhibition', denoting the fact that it was the first car in history to break the sound barrier, it was later to join Thrust 2 in the 'Spirit of Speed' exhibition opened in January 2003. The exhibition was a fully immersive audio-visual display that included a high-tech, sixteen-seater simulator where visitors could enjoy travelling inside the cockpit of ThrustSSC.

Today, the two fastest cars in history are displayed in a special area at the front of the museum for the enjoyment of visitors.

Paul Maddocks, 2022

Paul's next super Transport Museum article tells us about the 1987 F.A. Cup Winners' Sky Blue Bus.


 
 
 
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