Quest for Speed by Barry John now available in U.S.

Quest for Speed
The epic saga of record-breaking on land

By Barry John
Foreword by David Tremayne

US price: $40.00
ISBN: 978-1-910505-59-5
Format: 11.4 x 8.3 inches (landscape)
Page extent: 184
Illustration: over 350 color illustrations

LONDON (Dec. 9, 2020) – “Quest for Speed: The Epic Saga of Record-Breaking on Land,” by Barry John, is now available in the U.S.

As Land Speed Record historian David Tremayne states in his foreword, “This is a wonderful book that celebrates passion.” In a remarkable first book, Barry John has celebrated his life-long passion for the quest for speed by writing, illustrating and designing this fascinating history of record-breaking on land.

Along with his informed and detailed text, his beautiful artwork shows all significant record-breakers in their immense variety, each illustrated in profile and accompanied by a cameo portrait of its driver. From the start of it all in the late 19th Century to today’s challengers seeking to reach “the last frontier,” 1,000 mph, the story that unfolds will enthrall not only enthusiasts for the subject but anyone appreciative of innovative engineering and brave human endeavor.

Key content:

  • Early records, often achieved with electric cars such as Camille Jenatzy’s La Jamais Contente (65 mph, 1899) and steam-powered vehicles such as Fred Marriott’s Stanley Steamer (127 mph, 1906).
  • American pre-eminence in the jet age, when a flurry of Bonneville records fell to Art Arfons in Green Monster (576 mph, 1965), Craig Breedlove in Spirit of America (600 mph, 1965) and Gary Gabelich in Blue Flame (622 mph, 1970).
  • Californian Danny Thompson’s successful attempt in Challenger 2 to pick up where his father Mickey left off in 1968 in the Challenger 1 (448.757 mph, 2018), vindicating his father’s design.
  • American Charlie Nearburg’s run in the normally-aspirated Spirit of Rett, to honor his son, who died of cancer at the age of 21 (414.316 mph, 2010).
  • With actor Paul Newman’s support, stuntman Stan Barrett’s controversial supersonic attempts in the Budweiser Rocket, claiming a 739 mph pass.
  • Other notable early American achievements, set on the beach in Daytona, Fla., in cars such as Henry Ford’s 999 (91.37 mph, 1904); Ransom E. Olds’s Pirate (57 mph, 1903); and Alexander Winton’s Bullet (57 mph, 1903).
  • Richard Noble’s exploits at Black Rock Desert, first as a driver in Thrust2 (633 mph, 1983), then as mastermind of ThrustSSC, the current record holder with Andy Green and the only car to have broken the sound barrier on land (763 mph, 1997).
  • Britain’s speed kings, most significantly Malcolm Campbell, whose record-breaking began with a Sunbeam 350HP (146 mph, 1924) and culminated in him becoming the first man to exceed 300mph, in his final Blue Bird (301 mph, 1935).
  • Besides the absolute records, the book covers national and class records where we encounter vehicles as diverse as Dave Spangler’s Turbinator II (fastest wheel-driven car), Andy Green’s Dieselmax (fastest diesel), Rocky Robinson’s Ack Attack (fastest motorcycle) and Don Wales’s Inspiration (steam-powered record-holder).

About the Author:
Like every boy in the 1950s, Barry John knew the names of Cobb and Campbell and possessed battered Dinky toys of their cars. When he was 15, he discovered Hot Rod magazine and, instantly mesmerized, bought it when pocket money stretched that far. In Hot Rod’s pages he discovered the exploits of Breedlove and Arfons — and has been fascinated ever since. After studying at London’s Harrow School of Art, he pursued a career as a graphic designer. Now retired, he has applied his professional skills to his passion and produced this book. He lives in Kent, England.

Evro Publishing books are distributed in North America by Quarto Publishing Group USA. Books can be ordered from Quarto by email:; phone number: 800-328-0590; or website: Please use the relevant ISBN number when ordering.

“Quest for Speed: The Epic Saga of Record-Breaking on Land” is also available in the U.S. from specialist and online booksellers.

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