This year marks the 70th birthday of the famous Napier Railton. Commissioned and driven by John Cobb and designed and built by Reid Railton, the 24-liter Napier aero-engined leviathan captured 47 world records between 1933 and 1947, including the 24-hour record at 150.16 mph. It set the Brookland’s outright lap record in 1935 at 143.44 mph and won the 1937 Brooklands 500-mile race at 127.05 mph average.
As a way of honoring this historic anniversary, the Brooklands Museum brought a piece of history to life when it restaged the scene of a famous photograph demonstrating the wide variation of cars that competed together at Brooklands in the ’30s. The photo depicts John Cobb at the wheel of the Napier Railton, while in the foreground is Austin works team leader Pat Driscoll, in one of the four supercharged 750cc works racers. The Austin, nicknamed “Rubber Ducks”, set many national and international speed records between 1931 and 1934 and raced regularly against the Napier Railton at Brooklands in 1933 and 1934. Some 70 years later the team from Brooklands and the owner of this remarkable, unrestored works racer, Martin Eyre, restaged the scene from that original photograph.