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Jesse James Sets New Speed Mark for Hydrogen-Powered Vehicles

By on June 17, 2009 9:09 AM
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Bad boy bon vivant and modern-day master of custom motorcycle and car building, Jesse James can now add one more item to his formidable lists of accomplishments: land speed record holder. As part of his new "Jesse James is a Dead Man" TV show, the high-profile founder of West Coast Choppers piloted a hydrogen-powered streamliner across the fabled El Mirage Dry Lake bed to a top speed of 199.7 mph. The feat, verified by the equally legendary Southern California Timing Association, eclipsed the exiting 185 mph mark for a hydrogen-powered car that was set in Germany by the BMW H2.

James was helped in his quest by veteran land speed racer legend, Mike Cook, who provided counsel on both design optimizations and driving techniques. Another key member of the team was engine builder Kurt Urban, who prepped a 572-cubic inch twin-turbocharged Chevy V8 to run on gaseous hydrogen that was stored in Quantum Technologies tanks at 10,000 psi. This potent zero-emissions motivator was fitted to another high-velocity veteran: the '60s-era Dees-Milodon Engineering-Davis B Streamliner that had once blasted across the Bonneville Salt Flats at over 237 mph in its original form. The successful speed run -- as well as a fairly spectacular just-in-case crash simulation sequence with James escaping from a burning test fuselage -- will be documented in the show's season-ending episode that's set to air on Sunday, August 9 at 10:00 PM on Spike TV.

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