Excelsior! Fastest arse in the world! This is the ‘Silver Comet’, prepared by Claude Temple to take the world speed record in 1931, with a supercharged 1000cc ohv JAP JTOR engine. Fast as it looked, it wouldn’t break 170mph, so was retired… but what a looker.

The J.A.P. JTOR racing engine with total-loss oiling system but 100hp running on alcohol. [The Vintagent Archive]

For the tech-minded, the engine put out 100hp at 15psi blower pressure, at which point the blower was absorbing 15hp. It drove thru a 2 speed Burman gearbox built to withstand 120hp. Fuel consumption estimated at 5mpg, oil at 50mpg, using four oil pumps to liberally coat the machine for greater speed (oh all right). Paxon flexible saddle! All that power was controlled by a single lever on the handlebar, not a twistgrip throttle. One little finger controlling 100hp.

Joe Wright aboard the Excelsior-JAP Silver Comet resplendent in polished aluminum. [The Vintagent Archive]

You’ll note rider Joe Wright on the Paxon flexible saddle has simply taken off his suit coat, and is still wearing the vest from his 3-piece and shiny street brogues.  Wright took this machine to 163mph at Tat, Hungary in 1930, but 170mph was the goal.



Paul d’Orléans is the founder of TheVintagent.com. He is an author, photographer, filmmaker, museum curator, event organizer, and public speaker. Check out his Author Page, Instagram, and Facebook.