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 January 2005

©2005 by Jim Alexander
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1977 Steamin' Demon

MODEL:Steam Powered
 World Record Car
BUILT BY:Jim Crank
 Redwood City, California
ENGINE:Steam Turbine, 250 H.P.
Displacement:Operating Pressure 900 P.S.I.

The 1977 turbine-powered Steamin' Demon displayed here was built by Jim Crank, a steam car buff, who purchased the engine from Lear Motors and built the body with help from Fiber Fab and Volkswgen of America. He attempted to break the Land Speed Record for steam-powered cars set in 1906 by Stanley Steamer's "Stanley Rocket" at 127.656 mph. Crank was unable to reach 100 mph and sold the car in 1982 to Barber-Nichols Engineering Company in Colorado. They rebuilt the car and tried for the record at El Mirage, California, reaching 111 mph. The company tried again in 1984 at Bonneville Salt Flats reaching 110 mph. Success came on August 19, 1985, when Robert Barber drove the Barber-Nichols Steamin' Demon at Bonneville to a new record of 145.607 mph. This remains the current world record. Barber said that when he reached 140 mph, the door jiggled loose and blew off and, at the end of the run, the engine compartment was on fire. The 250 hp Steaming' Demon weighs 5,000 pounds, 1,000 pounds of which represents the stainless steel steam boiler. The boiler holds 60 gallons of water. When floorboarded, the steam reaches 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit at a pressure 900 pounds per square inch. The super heated, high pressure steam then feeds into a 60,000 rpm turbine.

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