World's fastest car, Babs, visits Swansea's National Waterfront Museum

By Culture24 Reporter | 10 April 2013

A replica version of Babs, the fastest car in the world, has gone on display at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea after being reconstructed by an engineering lecturer from Bangor University.

A photo of a huge racing car inside a museum
© National Museum Wales
Owen Wyn Owen rebuilt the Higham Special car 42 years after its original driver, JG Parry Thomas, died during a bid to beat the 171 mph record on the same Carmarthenshire beach where it had been set in 1927.

Weighing in at 1.72 tons and fuelled by Shell aviation spirit and benzole, Babs was originally built by Clive Gallop in 1923 and driven by Count Louis Zbrorowski before Parry Thomas redesigned it with lightning-quick results.

A black and white photo of a man in a racing car
JG Parry Thomas - a driving hero
The secrets behind its incredible velocity included a new lightweight aluminium body, improved carburettors and Parry Thomas’ choice of pistons.

Perhaps the most curious feature of the new addition to the museum’s Main Hall is its lack of a speedometer. Stopwatches were used instead to measure Babs’ pace on race tracks.

It will be on display until May 19 2013.
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