Former land speed record car on display in driver's hometown
A car which was the once the very fastest in the world will be on display today in Wrexham, the home of the man who built and drove it. John Parry-Thomas piloted 'Babs' to a new land speed record at Pendine Sands in Carmarthenshire back in 1926. He died a year later, on the same beach, in the same car, attempting to reclaim the record.
Parry-Thomas was born in Wrexham in 1884, and became an engineer of luxury vehicles. He bought a car - 'the Higham Special' - and fitted it with a new 27,059cc engine and Benz gearbox, rechristening it 'Babs'. In April 1926, he set a new land speed record of 171.02mph - on the beach at Pendine.
By the following year, his great rival Sir Malcolm Campbell had broken that record in his 'Blue Bird.' In March 1927, Parry-Thomas returned to Pendine for an attempt to reclaim it. He was on a timed run when the car skidded and overturned. Parry-Thomas was killed.
His car was buried in a hole on the beach, and remained there until 1969. Owen Wyn Owen, an engineer from Capel Curig in Conwy, dug 'Babs' out of the sand, and spent 16 years restoring it.
Since then, the car has been displayed at Pendine's Museum of Speed, and at numerous vehicle rallies and shows. Today - for one day only - it will be there for visitors to see at Wrexham Museum.