Sunday, August 29, 2004

The Jasper Wiglesworth Automotive Collection Auction in Shawnee, Kansas

The Stephenson Rocket set the first world speed record in 1829 at 35 mph. This 1927 replica was commissioned by Henry Ford and was unfortunately a victim of museum zeal by way of a cutting torch. To show the certainly impressive and fascinating engineering, this rocket was sliced open to show the working components. Perhaps an illustrated poster next to the rocket replica would have satisfied curiousity and allow this mean machine to race another day.

Looking at this antique it is difficult to remember that at one time this was the absolute limit of engineering and manufacturing technology. The wood was probably still green and the paint was wet when the driver climbed on top of this machine with the terrifying boiler at maximum pressure and straining against the rivets. 35 miles per hour would have seemed like defying all rules of nature.