Fifty years ago this month, Britain’s greatest ever speed king, Stirling Moss, catapulted himself to international fame by shattering the class F world land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in a revolutionary, streamlined, MG car, named EX181. (Class F is for cars of engine size 1100cc to 1500cc).

Already an established track driver, the 28 year old Moss was chosen by MG’s racing chiefs as the person best suited to try and beat the existing class F record of 203 mph set by the legendary Goldie Gardner shortly before the outbreak of WW2.

MG had already moved towards production streamlined cars with the launch of the MGA in 1955 and saw the potential marketing benefits of being able to show car buyers that they had the capabilities to produce the fastest car of its size in the world.

The mid-engined EX181, tadpole-like in appearance and commonly referred to as the "Roaring Raindrop", had been designed by the company’s illustrious chief designer, Syd Enever, and had a twin cam 1500cc engine, which had been supercharged to give 290 bhp at 7,300 rpm.

Fifty years ago this month, Britain’s greatest ever speed king, Stirling Moss, catapulted himself to international fame by shattering the class F world land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in a revolutionary, streamlined, MG car, named EX181. (Class F is for cars of engine size 1100cc to 1500cc).

Already an established track driver, the 28 year old Moss was chosen by MG’s racing chiefs as the person best suited to try and beat the existing class F record of 203 mph set by the legendary Goldie Gardner shortly before the outbreak of WW2.

MG had already moved towards production streamlined cars with the launch of the MGA in 1955 and saw the potential marketing benefits of being able to show car buyers that they had the capabilities to produce the fastest car of its size in the world.

The mid-engined EX181, tadpole-like in appearance and commonly referred to as the "Roaring Raindrop", had been designed by the company’s illustrious chief designer, Syd Enever, and had a twin cam 1500cc engine, which had been supercharged to give 290 bhp at 7,300 rpm.


 


 


 


 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Film of Stirling Moss breaking the Class F world land speed record at Bonneville, 1957

Stirling Moss breaks the Class F world land speed record at Bonneville, 1957

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In August, 1957, Britain’s greatest ever speed king, Stirling Moss, catapulted himself to international fame by shattering the class F world land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in a revolutionary, streamlined, MG car, named EX181. (Class F is for cars of engine size 1100cc to 1500cc).

Already an established track driver, the 28 year old Moss was chosen by MG’s racing chiefs as the person best suited to try and beat the existing class F record of 203 mph set by the legendary Goldie Gardner shortly before the outbreak of WW2.

MG had already moved towards production streamlined cars with the launch of the MGA in 1955 and saw the potential marketing benefits of being able to tell car buyers that they had the capabilities to produce the fastest car of its size in the world.

The mid-engined EX181, tadpole-like in appearance and commonly referred to as the "Roaring Raindrop", had been designed by the company’s illustrious chief designer, Syd Enever, and had a twin cam 1500cc engine, which had been supercharged to give 290 bhp at 7,300 rpm.

The record itself was achieved on the 23rd of August and apart from poor weather delaying the start, the day surpassed even the MG team’s most optimistic expectations with Moss blitzing past the previous record with a two-way average time over the course of 245.64 mph. This was more than 20% quicker than Gardner’s time and made the Roaring Raindrop the fastest MG ever.

The success of the record run not only attracted huge international publicity for MG, but also cemented the company’s position as being one of the world’s leading sports car manufacturers which saw them achieve unparalleled sales for the best part of the following 25 years.

Now, long retired, EX181 is one of the prized exhibits at the Motor Heritage Centre museum in the English Midlands and still attracts considerable interest.

As for Stirling Moss, his achievement at Bonneville and subsequent exploits on racetracks around the world, helped to make him one of the most successful racing drivers of his generation, and to this day, he remains one of Britain’s most iconic sportsmen.

To view the film, scroll to the bottom of the page

Story provided courtesy of www.auto-history.tv

MG EX181 as it looks today