During the following years he went on to push the limits
ever further with many runs at well over 300mph and in
1984 he achieved a staggering pass of 3.58 seconds
with a terminal speed of 386mph....a record that remains
unbeaten to this day and which has given the Pod the
honour of being the fastest dragstrip in the world.
Sammy returned to the Pod in later years but by then the
high quality hydrogen-peroxide fuel the engine required
to run efficiently was no longer available. Those of us who
had witnessed those amazing passes of the 1980's could
remember how clean the rocket ran during those runs.
The later runs produced great clouds of steam which,
though spectacular, was evidence that the inferior fuel was
preventing the motor from producing the enormous power
(estimated in excess of 20,000bhp!) that had once been
its domain....Sammy tried various (sometimes risky!) ideas
to get by the fuel problem but it proved insurmountable.
We all hoped that the old magic might somehow return and
his ambition to break the 400mph barrier would be achieved.
Sadly it wasn't to be for just a few months after his last
visit to the Pod at the 2002 Speedfreaks Ball we were
shocked to learn of his death in an oil-field accident.
He will always be one of the most fondly remembered,
remarkable and bravest people to have driven at the Pod.
Fortunately at least two movies of Sammy's epic runs which
were made during the 1970s&80s at the Pod still survive.
I am indebted to www.ukdrn.co.uk for kindly allowing me to
use these movies on this website.
The first clip is of Sammy running 4.35s/317mph.
The second clip is from 1986 but the time and speed are
unknown. It is staggeringly quick and must be one of the
best runs he made at the Pod.
(Quicktime Player is needed to view them)
During the 1970's some experimental rocket propelled cars
were being run in the USA but after some serious accidents
the authorities became reluctant to sanction such vehicles
running on American strips. As a result, Sammy Miller who
was one of the pioneers with these extraordinary vehicles
came over to Europe where such restrictions didn't exist.
Spectators at the Pod, therefore, were to witness what must
remain the most mind-blowing series of passes ever to be
seen on any dragstrip. In 1979 he became the first driver to
exceed 300mph on British soil in his "Vanishing Point"
funny car....This is a stereo recording of the event taken at
the end of the quarter mile when he runs 4.20 / 307.6mph.
4.35secs / 317mph
time / speed unknown
It is interesting to observe the time counter at the bottom
of the Quicktime player on this second movie....About 0.2
of a second passes before the car moves and it is past
the lights by 1 second....in the following second it looks to
be very near to the eighth mile....amazing !....the G force
Sammy was experiencing can hardly be imagined.
NOTE: A good quality and much longer clip of Sammy
running 3.81 secs / 331 mph in his dragster-style "Oxygen"
car can be found on the www.ukdrn.co.uk forum here.
Some clips of Sammy are now finding their way onto YouTube.
Below is a clip of Sammy at The World Finals in 1984. The time and
speed are unknown. This clip shows well the enormous acceleration
through the 1/8 mile mark. (courtesy of www.timetraveldvds.co.uk)
Another YouTube clip shows Vanishing Point over the 1/8 mile at
Zandvoort in Holland during 1984 (the shutdown area must have
been a test of Sammy's courage!)