Published October 07, 2010
At the time that he died in a plane crash in 2007, aviation pioneer Steve Fossett was in the middle of launching a new project that was very down to earth. The aeronautical adventurer had his sights set on breaking the then decade-old land speed record of 763 mph, set by Andy Green of Great Britain in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.
To accomplish this feat, in 2006 Fossett purchased a vehicle called the ‘Spirit of America – Sonic Arrow’ from one-time land speed record holder, Craig Breedlove. The 69-year old Breedlove had hoped to break Green’s record himself, but due to various circumstances was unable to get his car to travel faster than 675 mph, despite projections that it could crack 800 mph.
Fossett put the full force of his aerodynamic expertise behind redesigning the jet-powered vehicle, rechristening the effort “Target 800 mph”. However, with the changes made by his team, and a better power to weight ratio than a jet fighter, he expected it to hit 900 mph.
Development continued after Fossett went missing, but the project was eventually mothballed in 2008 after over $4 million was invested. Now, in what is likely the only supersonic car to ever have a ‘For Sale’ sign put on it, the vehicle, blueprints, transporter and everything connected to the effort, including a catering truck for those long days in the desert, are being made available to the highest bidder, with a starting price of $3 million.
The sale is being handled by Project 100 Communications, a British motor and adventure sports marketing firm that has represented many of Fossett's previous efforts and it is looking at all serious offers. The company's Managing Director, Stuart Radnofsky, says he has already been contacted by four or five legitimate interested parties.
Keeping in mind that a new Bugatti Veyron costs between $1.5 and $2.5 million, and it only goes 258 mph, Fossett’s folly could turn out to be the high-speed deal of the 21st century.
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(This article corrects a previous one that erroneously credited Steve Fossett with the creation of SpaceShipOne)