Napier 6


Date Location Driver Driver Country Vehicle Power Speed over
1 Km
Speed over
1 Mile
January 24, 1905 Daytona Beach, USA Arthur MacDonald France Napier 6
6-cylinder in-line
IC 104.65 mph (168.42 km/h)    

The car equiped with a 6 cylinder engine of about 848 cubic inches (6 x 5 inch), was rated 100hp. The Napier won several races during this event : the five miles race in 3 min 17 sec; the Bowden Cup -one kilometre- in 23 sec; the flying mile race. During this last one, the huge Mercedes of H.L. Bowden beat the world record in 34,2 sec but it was not accepted as the car, driven by two 60hp motors in tandem configuration, gave the car a weight of more than the 1000kg limit set by the Automobile Club de France. So, the Napier L.48 was declared winner as it only took one fifth of a second more than the Mercedes.

After that competition, the Napier was brought back to Europe in time to participate to the Gordon Bennett Cup held in the Auvergne region of France. But this is another story. Using some parts of the original Napier L.48, Mr Chamberlain in Australia built, some years ago, a very nice reconstruction of L.48. The car was at the 2000 edition of the Goodwood Festival of Speed and it also ran in various VSCC events.

This extraordinary photo is shot at the end of January 1905 and shows the ace driver Arthur Macdonald, at the steering wheel of the Napier L.48, when competing in the Speed trials at Daytona Beach in Florida. (photo collection Rober Rozeman; other photos taken at the same spot and same occasion you can find in The Motor of February 1905.)
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