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Reid Railton – Man of Speed

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  • 978-1910505250
Reid Antony Railton, Cheshire-born automotive engineer par excellence, created an extraordinary... more
Reid Railton – Man of Speed

Reid Antony Railton, Cheshire-born automotive engineer par excellence, created an extraordinary range of cars. He rose to renown during the 1930s as chief engineer at Thomson & Taylor, Brooklands-based racing-car builders. There he realised the dreams of that era’s top men of speed, including Tim Birkin, Malcolm Campbell, Whitney Straight, John Cobb, Raymond Mays and Goldie Gardner. His great cars powered them all to sensational racing and record-breaking success. This magisterial book, by one of the world’s foremost automotive historians, tells Reid Railton’s personal and professional story in superb detail and fascinating depth, with special focus on Reid’s unique insights — amounting to genius — and technical accomplishments.

  • Record-breaking on land by evolving Railton-designed Blue Bird cars for Sir Malcolm Campbell, smashing the 300mph barrier in 1935.
  • Designing and building chassis and suspension for the celebrated ERA, working with Raymond Mays and Peter Berthon.
  • Creating the great Napier-Railton, with which John Cobb achieved the fastest-ever lap at Brooklands in 1935 and set numerous long-distance records at Bonneville.
  • Railton’s supreme engineering achievement, John Cobb’s land-speed record challenger, takes the record ever higher, culminating at Bonneville in 1947 with 394.2mph – which remained unbroken for 16 years.
  • More speed records in numerous classes with Goldie Gardner’s Railton-revised MG EX.135 either side of the war.
  • The lure of speed on water: designing two successful record-breaking boats for Sir Malcolm Campbell and Crusader for John Cobb, who exceeded 200mph on Loch Ness in 1952 moments before crashing fatally.
  • Road cars too: working with Parry Thomas on the Leyland Eight supercar of 1920–23, his own Arabs of 1925–27, road-going Railtons from 1933 and a decade of top-level consulting for America’s Hudson Motor Company.
  • In WW2 working with America’s Hall-Scott on high-powered engines for Britain’s fast patrol boats.


  • Specialist Motoring Book of the Year, Royal Automobile Club (UK, 2018)
  • Mercedes-Benz Montagu of Beaulieu Trophy, Guild of Motoring Writers (UK, 2018)
  • Michael Sedgwick Award, Society of Automotive Historians in Britain (UK, 2018)
  • Best Automotive Heritage Book, Automotive Heritage Awards (US, 2019)
  • Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot Award (English), Society of Automotive Historians (US, 2019)
  • Thomas McKean Memorial Cup, Antique Automobile Club of America (US, 2019)
Language: English
Number of pages: 848
Dimensions: 235 x 280 mm
Author(s): Karl Ludvigsen
Configuration: Hardcover, 2 volumes with slipcase
Photos and images: 1000 photographs
ISBN: 978-1910505250
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