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An all-Australian assault on the World Wheel Driven Land Speed Record driven by Glen Davis. With an output of approximately 5000 horsepower from its two turbo charged V12 engines, the Woomera1 was the most powerful automobile ever constructed at that time. The vehicle was four wheel drive with one transmission driving the front wheels and the other driving the rear wheels. This was the first time a driveline such as this had ever been designed and assembled for an attempt on a World Land Speed Record. The driveline function and purpose make it unique in Automotive Engineering terms, the development of which has took four years and many thousands of man hours. Its target is the long standing World Land Speed Record of 428 M.P.H. held by Al Teague who broke the 30 year record held by the American Summers brothers and the aim is to bring the record back to Australia with the record raised to around 450 M.P.H. (720 km-h).

The vehicle was a very aerodynamically efficient design, with a C.D. (co-efficient of drag) of only 0.135. Basic construction of the vehicle revolved around a steel monocoque tub section. This method of construction was pioneered by Colin Chapman in producing the Lotus 25 Chassis used during their 1962 Formula One Championship season. Sheet steel was rolled into shape, wrapped around twenty-two formers (or bulkheads) in the tube and then riveted tight with 4,500 monobolts creating an enormously stiff structure. The monocoque is approximately 7 metres long and carries all the mechanical components.

The turbo charged twin Rolls Royce Meteor MK 4B engines were developed from supercharged Merlin engines used in the Mustang and Spitfire fighters of World War II fame. They had shaft drive overhead cams, three piece construction (head, cylinder and block), wet sleeve cylinders, four valves per cylinder and dry sump system. The choice of these engines was first and foremost for reliable horsepower, capable in full racing form of ultimately producing a maximum safe 2,500 BHP per engine. To break the existing records, only approximately 1,500 BHP per engine would have been required although the L.S.R. vehicle's drive line limitations as constructed is a maximum speed of 570 mph at 4,000 rpm. To reach the full benefit of engine potential modifications would have to been made possible through information provided by the on-board computer during test runs and the eventual L.S.R. attempt. The choice of Allison transmissions and Monroe suspension systems was one of both advanced technology and suitability to perform the task required. The relatively low rev range the Meteor V12 operates at (4,000 rpm maximum) enabled the fitting of twin HT 741 automatic transmissions. These highly modified units were fitted with Allison Transmission Electronic Control (A.T.E.C.) the most significant design advancement in the history of Allison Transmissions. Allison Transmission Electronic Control enables push button gear selection with both transmissions synchronised by computers to give split second timing between front and rear transmissions. While the power is transmitted through a unique 4WD system specially designed for the vehicle.

With each Rolls Royce engine and Allison transmission accurately mounted in the tub section, the basic Driveline layout showed the gear box centre-line to be above the engine centre line requiring the Drive to each gear box to be stepped by the ratio of 1 - 1.6. This task was achieved by designing a series of transfer cases. The first being the Engine Transfer Cases mounted between each engine and gear box. In order to spin the gear box at the same speed as the engine, these Engine Transfer Cases have a 1 - 1 ratio. This was also to make sure that we were working within the 4,000 rpm range and gear box revolution limitations. Since both the engine and gear box rotate in the same direction as each other, an idler gear was placed in the Engine Transfer Case between the engine input driver gear and the driven transmission gear. These three gears being 30 Tooth and 4 DP (Diametric Pitch)

To transfer the power from the gear boxes to the Final Drive it was then necessary to design a second pair of transfer cases. The Final Drive Transfer Cases contain two gears. The first is a 42 Tooth 4 DP Driver Gear and is mounted on the output shaft of the gear box. This gear drives the second gear mounted on the pinion shaft which is 26 Tooth 4 DP giving the required step up ratio to the Final Drive of 1 - 1.6.

The design criteria meant that these transfer cases needed to be designed and custom built and it was decided to fabricate them from aluminum plate with steel bearing carriers thus making them light but strong. Their basic construction consisted of a 20mm aluminum front and back plate profile cut by a computerized high pressure water jet cutter. The space between the two plates is also 20mm aluminum bar and is 70mm wide. The ends were rolled to suit the radius of the case plates and then welded to the straight sides forming the outside shape of the transfer case. Each transfer case was then totally machined in a CNC machining centre, bolted together and line bored for precision bearing alignment. All of the tapped holes in the transfer case side plates were fitted with recoils (steel threaded inserts) to give a strong thread in the aluminum. The bearing carriers are held in with 7/16" UNC cap screws and the side plates fixed to the spacers with 3/8" UNC capscrews. Oil is pressure fed to each transfer case by dry sump pumps through stainless steel hoses. It is scavenged from the bottom of the Transfer Case by a scavenge pump fed back into a de-aerating tank where it is then pressure fed through an oil cooler and filtered back into the Transfer Case. 

The Final Drive Gear Cases have been fabricated from steel plate. Housed inside are the two bevel gears, crown wheel and pinion (the pinion being the driver) which are 1 - 1 ratio. The crown wheel (on the rear axle centre-line) and carrier are supported by two Timken tapered roller bearings. These bearings can be adjusted for pre-load and are also pressure fed with oil from the Transfer Case Dry Sump System. The steel bearing carrier is housed between aluminum end plates that have been cast, heat treated and CNC machined.

· Both engines have a unique inlet manifold system. Custom designed and handcrafted from 3mm aluminum sheet the Rolls Royce Merlin inlet manifold features for the first time direct port fuel injection. Each manifold has no less than forty-eight (48) individual injectors, two for each valve, two valves per cylinder.

Special L.S.R. tyres of nylon cross-ply construction and mounted on cast magnesium split rims similar to those used currently in aviation. They had a tread thickness of only 0.5mm and inflated to between 130 and 150 psi. On high speed runs rhey spun at 5,600 rpm. The operating temperature at record speed of 450 mph (720 km/h) was at the same level as the standard automobile tyre reaches at 100 mph (160 km/h).

Test at Lake Gairdner

In 1998 a test run was organised. It was an enormous effort getting all the equipment to the Lake as it is situated in the remote and arid outback of South Australia. This included 12,000 liters of water accumulation and food supplies for four weeks, a doctor had to be on stand-by for every run as did rescue and fire crews. Because of the enormous cost in this exercise we lacked all the spares and infrastructure we needed to run the vehicle. We had four major problems attributed to lack of finance and vehicle preparation:

  1. No spare fuel pumps
  2. We had a faulty fuse holder in the covering which was damaged during the traveling
  3. No onboard data acquisition system
  4. Lack Of funds to complete the task

Despite this the team worked hard to make the exercise a success and without their dedication we could not have done it. But we needed to test the car and the only way to do that was just "do it" !

First hand account

On 29/3/19898 we ran 223 m.p.h. in second gear, which was our Fastest run at the lake. Roger and Paul placed the canopy down and I primed both engines. We started  the front one first - 1,900 r.p.m. down to 1,100 r,p.m., 400 kpa  oil pressure, rear engine started - 1,300 then 1,100 r.p.m running alright but DO NOT SHIFT again! We had to stop. Paul came over and re-taped part of the wiring loom. We re-started engines and I moved off. Eased on the throttle, nerves gone, focused on driving. About half mile into second gear at about 3,000 rp.m., "DO NOT SHIFT" again. I tried to shift to third gear but could not. I wanted to shake the wiring but assuming we could get another run I used this run to learn about driving the vehicle. I drove about 1 1/2 miles and could see the timing traps. The car was positioned well, it has excellent stability. I an learning to trust it (I must thank the designer. I added a little more power to 3,600 r.p.m. I was sure I was still in second gear hut I had the shifter in 3rd in the hope it would shift up. AIl things considered it was an excellent run . The car maintained a constant 3,600 r.p.m. for the run, in top gear, this translates to approximately 500 m.p.h. It could have easily achieved the 400 m.p.h. pass we intended. If it had only up-shifted. The rear motor had leaned out and burnt the body in the shape of the air flow; our first scar. I didn't mind the damage because I knew how well the car had gone, 223.4 m.p.h in 2nd gear after only 3/4 of a mile, dead straight and plenty of power . Better than I had planned, I brought the car in and the mechanics left the lake again. We learned that records do not come easy, if we had done it the way we had planned for 10 years we would have had a record. I am proud to have worked with all the team and volunteers that helped us out in getting to the remote and spectacular: Lake Gairdner, with. right sponsors and support we shall be out there again. The end of our run, more season opening rain than they had in 16 years, it left 12" of water in the morning.


  • Wheelbase 22.1 ft (6.742m)
  • Front Track 37" (940mm)
  • Rear Track 26" (672mm)
  • Overall Length 42 ft (12.8m)
  • Ground Clearance 5" (127mm)
  • Height 35" (889mm) Including ground clearance
  • Engines Front & Rear V12 Rolls Royce Mk 4B Meteor
  • Displacement 1650 cu in (27 litre)
  • Weight Approximately 8,500 Ibs
  • Chassis (Monocoque) Steel riveted
  • Gear Box Front & Rear Allison HT, 741 Automatics 4 speed ATEC
  • Fuel Tanks Aluminium with rubber bladder
  • Fuel Tank Capacity 450 litres
  • Driver Seating Forward
  • Callipers  PBR Corvette Front
  • Discs Special Disc for High RPM
  • Suspension Double Wishbone and Push rod, front & rear
  • Steering Hi-Drive Hydraulics
  • Dampers Air/Hydraulic. Air Bag with Monroe Shockers
  • Radiators Heat exchangers using dry ice
  • C.V.Joints Lobro
  • Bore 5.4" Dia (137mm)
  • Stroke 6.0"(152.4mm)
  • No. of Cylinders 12
  • Displacement 1650 cu in (27,000cc)
  • Cylinder Arrangement 60 degree Vee
  • Induction Twin T18 Garrett Turbo's
  • Fuel System Constant Flow Fuel injection through 2 stage circuit with 1200 gal enderle fuel pump.
  • Horse Power 2,500 per engine
  • Maximum RPM 4,000
  • Torque 2,000 ft Ibs estimated
  • Fuel Methanol
  • Suspension Pivots Spherical Bearings
  • Wheel Bearings Timken Tapered Roller Bearings
  • Steering Wheel Specially made
  • Wheels A.A.K.D. Cast Magnesium
  • Drive Layout Four Wheel Drive Four Wheel Independent
  • Tyres Al Mickey Thompson 30.0 x 8.75 - 18 30.0 x 9

Woomera1 Sold

The streamlner was eventually sold by 2004 to Dave Cox in the USA and transported there. The car was parted up for a measely $250,000, compared to the over 2million invested by sponsors and family. In 2006 the car was reported being on the ranch of George Calloway on the edge of El Mirage dry lake.

The only text from Dave I have seen on his intentions were on the Landracing Forum

It's definately going to need some work before it can be run here, the driver's cage is non-existant (all composite, It won't pass tech inspection here). The only changes will be in the steering (mechanical instead of the hydraulic it now has), moving the fuel and water tanks forward and moving the driver to the rear. If the car pencil rolls, I want to have the rear section break off (20g shear pins) and deploy 4 parachutes automatically. None of the center section will be changed, nor will the drivetrain (other than starting with a simpler set of motors and transmissions to wring out the car). Nothing will be altered so the car will again use the Meteors. The suspension and final drives are a thing of beauty! Great engineering went into the car. Visually little will change other than the loss of the 2 side vertical stabilizers and the addition of a single vertical tail (move the CP back). We'll likely even use the front cockpit for the cameras!









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