Babs - the ParryThomas Land Speed Record auto.
This copy of The Nelson Lee Library comic-book is dated December 10th 1927, and was purchased because of the illustration of the Babs land speed record vehicle, demonstrated in the cover. Stories of dashing automobilists, risking everything within the pursuit of rate, frequently appeared within the pages of comic books within the 1920s and '30s, and several such comics have been looked at within this portion of the website. The illustration shows Babs, a 27-litre aeroengine machine, streaking along, looking for the land speed record. J.G. ParryThomas grips the wheel, keeping the powerful Babs on path as they sped along Pendine Sands in South Wales.
Cover illustration of Babs
Unfortunately, from the exact time of publication, Babs and ParryThomas were no further, because of a terrible accident that happened at Pendine in March 1927. The narrative of the automobile, which, subsequent to the crash, was buried forevermore (or so that they thought) about the shore, is told inside the pages of the copy of The Nelson Lee Library. Babs, it appeared, was lost forever, together with its gallant driver. This is the way the story was told, inside this classic comic-book, just months following the injury happened.
An intriguing nutshell history of the creature racing car "BABS".
A tremendous racing motorcar having a child name, "Babs", was meant to accomplish really large things. Among the accidental enormous issues it did was to show too-tight for Brooklands track! It was completely too quickly for something like safe-driving on this famed run way, and so "Babs" had to go elsewhere to show her paces - to the roomy Pendine Sands, where her owner, part-designer and driver - the late J.G. ParryThomas - proceeded to break records with her.
Thomas was a expert among motor racing guys, for he was practical engineer - three points in a single, automobile designer and most skilful driver. "Babs" was almost the goods of his own minds. Originally the automobile was but an indifferent performer, so when the Higham Special the rate of 160 miles-per hour seemed completely beyond her abilities.
Completely Reconstructed!
Before she became "Babs", the Higham Special was the home of another renowned racer, Count Louis Zborowski, who drove her for many she was worth. Although not in his Higham Special, the Count was killed whilst racing in Italy. That device then handed to J.G. ParryThomas.
He turned the vehicle inside-out, completely reconstructed some parts of it, tinkered up the engines usually, named her "Babs", and straightaway declared her total transformation from a comparative slowcoach into a genuine out-and-out racer, which he considered to be effective at reaching 200 miles one hour!
Although he lost his worldrecords of 171 and 170.5 miles-per hour for the kilometre and mile respectively, to Captain Malcolm Campbell (a product of whose "dark horse", the "Blue Bird", was introduced with last week's NELSON LEE LIBRARY), he relied on "Babs" to conquer all worldrecords, and also to do things which he'd found difficult with his old Leyland-Thomas car.
Completely Wrecked!
For the entire world's rue, he didn't do them. "Babs" was flinging the Pendine Sands behind her in the speed of 180 miles an hour when a completely unlooked-for calamity happened. Every possible eventuality was offered for, as Thomas and everybody else involved completely considered.
However among the driving chains snapped, and Thomas was killed immediately. The chain whirled round like a flail, and hit him. "Babs" herself was absolutely wrecked - and, with real tributes of esteem and extreme grief, was buried within the sands where she smashed.
Other racing vehicles which have "crashed" have almost always been reconstructed, for, despite the great turbulence within the machines which normally results from the smash, there are components which is often used again after a small pro tinkering.
Racing vehicles price quite great amounts of cash, so it's extremely seldom that opinion is enabled to stand within the method of some return to the debris. It doesn't go to the scrapheap, but in the repair center.
"Babs" nevertheless was given the signal honour of interment - with which her driver, who for decades was missing dying by inches, would presumably have agreed.
A Gallant Driver!
If racingcar and driver died "in harness", ParryThomas and "Babs" did. Every motorracing enthusiast was happy that Thomas held no less than one report when he handed out - the lightcar hour record, which he created with his Thomas Unique, of their own creating.
Thomas had noone with him in "Babs". He preferred to play a solitary game altogether, both on and off the monitor. "One guy will do at the same time" was his invariable answer when asked why he didn't get a mechanic for business's benefit although racing.
A noble finish for a noble British automobile plus a fearless, gallant Britisher!
The resurrection of Babs.
Noone in 1927 could have predicted this in 1969, some 42 years after, Babs will be exhumed, and restored to full working order. It might be an additional Welshman, Owen Wyn-Owen, that will mastermind the retrieval of the astonishing land speed record car. In the intervening years, after the crash, a segment of the seashore was turned over to the Ministry of Defence, to utilize for a firing range, and it was through this place that Babs lay. Prior to the green light was provided, having the Army to consent to his ideas took deft negotiation, and time.
Till that stage, simply faded old photos could hint at how badly broken and deteriorated the automobile may be, after this type of long "remainder" under the sands of Pendine. Once exhumed, the real state of the automobile could possibly be evaluated, and also the results were fairly supporting. Yes the chassis was badly bent, and also the aluminium castings critically corroded, but what could not be reconstructed would need to be remade, at cost. Amongst other things, an upgraded Liberty aero-engine must be sourced, with one from a motorboat ultimately being secured for the job.
It might take 15 years for the automobile to be returned to functioning state, as a young adolescent I vaguely remember it going on show in an automobile dealer's window in Stockport, and in more modern times it has showcased in the Festival of Speed.
A site remembering ParryThomas was made, and may really be seen here: Babs herself can generally be seen within the Museum of Speed, overlooking the shore at Pendine - well-worth a visit it's also, check opening times prior to making a journey although.
Inside the comic there's mention of the free Babs model being integrated - created from a level bit of steel, you will find directions on the best way to bend it to create a model of Babs. Do these designs endure I wonder? Babs is only one piece of interest within this copy of the Nelson Lee Library nevertheless, since there's a ripping yarn, totalling six pages, titled Sons of Pace - a fictional narrative about racing within the Italian Grand Prix.
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