Thursday, October 25, 2012
Jet car first for Motorclassica
Developed in 1968, Project 500 was Australia’s first jet powered vehicle. It was built by Terry O’Hare and Jack McDonald to make an attempt on the world land speed record set by Donald Campbell in 1964 in Bluebird of 403mph (648kmh) run at Lake Ayer salt flats in South Australia.
It was powered by a Rolls Royce Derwent jet engine from a Meteor fighter with custom designed afterburner. It produced 2750lbs of thrust and 4125lbs of thrust when the afterburner was engaged. Braking was assisted by two specially-designed slotted parachutes fitted to ejection tubes at the rear of the fuselage.
It was built at a cost estimated at $150,000 in 1972.
Although tested for a recorded 378mph, Project 500 was wind tunnel tested at 500mph plus during the design phase of the project ct.
Designed to break the 500mph barrier, it never reached its potential due to the flooding of Lake Eyre in 1973. Further attempts were planned but apart from a run at Lake Hindmarsh in Victoria in 1974 it failed to challenge Campbell’s record.
The Project 500 Jet Car has been fully restored by the apprentices at the Kangan Batman TAFE College. This is only the second time the car has gone on display in its 35 year history.