PA2009_116.jpg Model, Car (about 1930s). Collection of Puke Ariki (PA2009.116).

It may look the part, but this speedy looking clockwork model is tarnished by high profile failure. This model of the Silver Bullet, a supercharged car designed by the Sunbeam Motor Car Company Ltd of Wolverhamton, was made to cash in on the glamour of the company’s attempt on the World Land Speed record in 1930.

The Silver Bullet was to be driven by Kaye Don, a tried and tested Irish speedster, and powered by twin V12 engines. Hopes were high when the rocket-shaped speed machine travelled to Daytona Beach for a shot at glory. But according to the Wolverhampton History and Heritage website, the car was plagued by mechanical problems and unfavourable weather. After 18 unsuccessful attempts, the Sunbeam team gave up and returned home in April 1930.

They never made another attempt at the record and the Silver Bullet, revealed as a Silver Lemon, was sold to a Southport garage owner, who scrapped it after he was unable to iron out the mechanical problems. 

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