For sale: a rocket-powered car named Bloodhound built specifically to break the land speed record. Theoretical top speed of 1,000 miles per hour. Seats one. Price? A paltry $11 million.
The tortured saga of the Bloodhound Land Speed Record project has reached a sadly predictable impasse: the current owner is done spending money trying to set a new record after saving the project from bankruptcy in 2018. It’s hard to blame him. The Bloodhound program has been going for the better part of a decade at this point and has yet to break the 763 mile-per-hour record, let alone scratch at the group’s ultimate stated goal of 1,000 miles per hour.
The Bloodhound still needs the actual rocket in order to make its full-speed runs, too, despite hitting 628 miles per hour in a late-2019 test. (It’s currently jet engine powered.) The pandemic killed the project’s momentum, though.
“Work now needs to restart in the next few months to get ready for a 2022 record attempt,” a blog post on the Bloodhound website reads. “The alternative would be to put the car into long-term storage, with no certainty of being able to restart the project. As the prospect of a post-Covid world beckons, the Bloodhound team now needs to find a new owner to continue its ‘engineering adventure’.”
Don’t get me wrong — $11 million is a lot of money to most people. But in many parts of the economy right now, money is nearly free. In the last half-year alone, for example, billions of dollars have been thrown at unproven automotive startups that have no chance of turning a profit anytime soon, thanks to the boom in mergers with special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs. Why not a rocket car?
Bloodhound argues buyers could recoup their investment as long as a record attempt happens. The Bloodhound team says there is “significant” fundraising potential “as the record attempt gets closer” and that selling sponsorships and rights could generate cash in the short term. Perhaps there’s a SPAC out there willing to test this claim before the inevitable SPAClash arrives? Or maybe the growing billionaire class would like to pitch in?
The gang behind the Bloodhound has a ways to go to beat the land speed record, but the project has been through so much that it’s hard to imagine things ending here. Scraping together another $11 million could be tricky, but it’s easier — and certainly less physically risky — than finding those last few hundred miles per hour.