BABS Reborn Racing Car: Owen Wyn Owen Lecture



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Welshman Owen Wyn Owen was a mechanical engineer best known for restoring the racing car ‘Babs’, which broke the World Land Speed Record on Pendine Sands, South Wales, in 1926, with John Godfrey Parry-Thomas at the wheel.

Parry-Thomas was killed in 1927, when Babs crashed during another Land Speed Record attempt. The car (which was originally built in 1923 by Count Louis Zborowski) was buried on Pendine Sands; 40 years later it was excavated and restored by Owen Wyn Owen.

This ebook contains photographs of Babs and other racing cars built, restored and raced by both J G Parry-Thomas and Owen Wyn Owen.

The images were used in a presentation to the Gwynedd Engineering Society, following an interview with Owen Wyn Owen in 2009.

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Further information

The car was originally built in 1923 by Count Louis Zborowski as the fourth of his Aero engine Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang cars. Being the last and the largest he named it the Higham Special. Following the Counts death in 1924 the car was bought from his estate by John Godfrey Parry Thomas for £125. Parry Thomas was at the time one of the better designer-drivers in this country who had had some racing success and held several national records in cars of his own design.

Thomas raced ‘Babs’ at Brooklands in 1925 and made a failed attempt at the World Land Speed Record in the car that year. He modified the car (together with designing and building his owned an 8-cylinder 1500cc race car) during the winter and attempted the WLSR on Pendine Sands, South Wales at the end of April.

On the 28 April 1926, Thomas and ‘Babs’ broke the record at 171.09mph. During the rest of the year Thomas continued to race his cars and at the end of the year lapped Brooklands in ‘Babs’ at over 125mph. In the meantime, Campbell had taken the record to 174 mph.