The Brooklands Society
know your cars and drivers section


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Parry Thomas

Born in Wales, John Godfrey Parry Thomas was the Chief Engineer of Leyland Ltd. In the early nineteen twenties he was testing the Leyland Eight luxury car at Brooklands and persuaded Leylands to enter into a racing programme.

When this was discontinued he decided to go it alone, took up permanent residence at Brooklands and hired Ken Taylor, later of Thomson and Taylor to assist him in producing a number of Leyland-Thomas racing specials. In 1924 and 1925 he broke the lap record in one of these cars, raising it on 1st June 1925 to 129.36 m.p.h. Previously the record had stood at 123.39 m.p.h. which Kennelm Lee Guinness had set in a Sunbeam in 1922.

He went on to build smaller four cylinder cars winning the 1925 News of the World handicap in one of these which in turn were followed by the straight eight supercharged flat iron specials, so called because of their very low front ends.

After Louis Zborowski died he bought the 400 h.p. Liberty engined Higham Special for about 125.00, modified the engine by fitting pistons of his own design and extra carburettors and re-worked the body, lightening and streamlining it.He re-christening the car Babs, it is said, after one of his young nieces , set about racing the car at Brooklands, breaking the outer circuit lap record in the process and also took the Land Speed Record at Pendine Sands in South Wales.

In 1926 he again took the car down to Pendine and twice broke the Land Speed Record, raising it to 172.331 m.p.h.

He returned to Pendine again in 1927 but on the 3rd March while attempting to increase the record, something broke - nobody is sure exactly what, a wheel, a driving chain or a radius arm, but the car turned over and Thomas was killed.

Babs was buried at Pendine, later disinterred and has since been rebuilt and raced in VSCC events.

 

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| Performance Parameters | General Data |

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