CCW feature Whistling Billy and the article can be found here:
A video of Billy (and from this video you can hear how Billy got the name here
Whistling Billy Video
"Making it’s first big show debut was Whistling Billy, the 1905 steam-powered racer that was campaigned in period by the great Webb Jay.
Owner Dr Robert Dyke, who has recently completed a six-year restoration of the race car, told CCW: “The restoration was a mammoth task. I had nothing more to go on than period photographs of the car. It’s only just been road-registered and I’ve only managed to cover about 12 miles in it due to a knee operation – and the weather!” Originally named Billy, it gained its full moniker due to the screaming noise from its burners as it hit top speed.
As well as Race Retro, the car has been taken to the Prescott Hill Climb. Robert had a scare during one of the events, explaining: “The boiler began to get red hot and the temperature touched 1200F as the pressure went through the roof. All of a sudden the back wheels span up to 100mph, damaging the crankshaft – cue another rebuild!”
The car was originally built by the White Company and was raced in America, where it clocked a world record fastest mile of 48.35 seconds, beating the old record by some four seconds. An average speed of 74mph was recorded during the run, but the car was capable of reaching a scarcely-believable 120mph. In an age when motorsport safety was almost non-existent, Whistling Billy was a dangerous car to drive. Numerous pilots were injured in crashes, including Webb Jay, who suffered head injuries and nine broken ribs in one accident. The car fared little better, being rebuilt in 1907 and again in 1908, following an off-piste trip into a trackside pond, among other incidents.
Unlike conventional racing cars, driving Whistling Billy can be difficult to master. “It’s much trickier because of the huge amount of weight over the front axle. At the beginning of a race the boiler holds about 280lb of water, but by the end of the race this is more like 40lb. Not only does this drastically change the dynamics of the car, it makes it get an awful lot faster!” The 20hp White steam car engine features a piston valve instead of a slide valve and runs on a 80:20 petrol/diesel mixture. Incredibly, the car doesn’t even feature a clutch – the torque being enough to get the car underway. The throttle is controlled by a smaller wheel that sits within the steering wheel, allowing the brave driver to feather the throttle through bends. Most of the other components were taken from production cars of the period."
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