Guinness, known in racing circles as K.L.G., is
only the third British driver to appear on the list
of World Land Speed Record holders. K.L.G. was the
younger brother of Sir Algernon Lee Guinness, who
had made an un-recognised run at 117 mph. in the
200 horse-power Darracq as far back as 1906, and
so came from a motor-racing family.
K.L.G. made his
successful attempt at Brooklands on May 17, 1922,
driving the 350 horse-power racing Sunbeam prepared
for the purpose under the direction of Louis Coatalen.
(Incidentally, this very car is still in running
order at the Montagu Motor Museum).
Guinness had to
wait all day at Brooklands because the wind was too
strong to drive at high speeds on the steep banks,
and it was not until evening that he was able to make
He was timed over both the mile and the
kilometre in opposite directions, and the average of
the kilometre runs was 133.75 mph. and the mile runs
129.17 m.h. International agreements provided for the
run to be made in both directions over the kilometre. K.L.G.'s
car was another of the aero-engined specials which
had become fashionable for land speed record attempts
at this time.
It was a narrow single-seater with a
V12 Sunbeam engine of 18,322 cc., designed to produce
350 horse-power at 2,100 r.p.m. The engine had aluminium
pistons, three valves per cylinder (two exhausts),
single-overhead camshafts to each bank, twin plugs
and dual magnetos, and only two carburettors.
were eight main bearings and a giant flywheel almost
two feet across. This cumbersome affair was persuaded
into a narrow but massive chassis with a 10ft 7in wheelbase,
the outfit weighing nearly 32 cwt. The four-speed gearbox
had to be separate since it was mated with an aero
engine, and the drive to the rear wheels was, of course,
The short tail concealed the fuel tank, and
the radiator was hidden by a cowl as was the practice
on many of the fast Brooklands cars. Another indication
of the car's track-racing ancestry was that the long
semi-elliptic springs were tightly bound with cord
to restrict their movement on the notoriously bumpy
Brooklands concrete. It was the last car to take the
land speed record at Brooklands.