The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, in Hampshire, has launched a campaign to return its Sunbeam 1000hp land speed car to Daytona Beach, Florida, in 2027, for the centenary of its record-breaking run.
Major Henry Segrave averaged 203.79mph over one mile in the purpose-built Sunbeam, also known as ‘The Slug’, on 29 March 1927 in front of around 30,000 spectators.
The Sunbeam 1000hp Restoration Campaign aims to raise £300,000 to restore the Sunbeam’s two 22.5-litre V12 aero engines before it runs in Florida in four years.
The Sunbeam was built with one purpose: to break the 200mph barrier. But now it has been more than half a century since ‘The Slug’ was last fired up, and both its engines have been damaged by corrosion.
Ian Stanfield, senior engineer at the National Motor Museum, is in the early stages of stripping down the Sunbeam, which has been on display at the museum since 1958, but more money is needed to complete the restoration.
‘The Slug’ will tour museums and events across the world to raise awareness of the campaign and money for the project.
Once work is under way, parts of the restoration will be done in front of visitors to the National Motor Museum, while films and blogs will capture behind-the-scenes work.
There are also plans to use the project to inspire the next generation of engineers and enthusiasts with STEM workshops for young people.
The museum will work with Hampshire-based Brookspeed Automotive to hit the £300,000 target, through donations and sponsorships, and complete the restoration.
Footage of the Sunbeam’s record-breaking run is available on the National Motor Museum’s YouTube channel.
Major Henry Segrave broke the land speed record across two runs on Daytona Beach.
The car weighs more than three tonnes and is powered by two 435bhp Sunbeam Matabele V12 aero engines – it earned the nickname ‘The Slug’ thanks to its aerodynamic body.
Michelle Kirwan, head of development at the National Motor Museum, said: “This is a wonderfully exciting opportunity to raise the funds necessary to breathe new life into the two aero engines and enable the Sunbeam to run again.
“To be able to take this iconic car back to Daytona, where world Land Speed Record history was made, would be incredible – especially in the centenary year.
“We are grateful for Brookspeed Automotive’s support with this campaign and look forward to working together to achieve the ultimate goal of such an historic run, which will capture the imagination of motoring enthusiasts around the world.”
Email michelle.kirwan@beaulieu if you can help to support this campaign.
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