The Railton automobile was produced between 1933 and 1940 and built by Fairmile Engineering Company in Cobham, Surrey. The place where the Railtons were produced was the same location where the Invicta cars had been built. The Invicta Company had been started by Noel Macklin (Sir Albert Noel Campbell Macklin). Mr. Macklin had a history of building cars and as a boat designer. His companies included the Eric-Campbell (1919), the Silver Hawk (1920), Invicta (1925), and Railton (1933). As the 1930s came to a close, they founded the Fairmile Marine and supplied boats to the Royal Navy during World War II.
The 'Railton' name came from the British automotive engineer named Reid A. Railton. His resume included designing land and water speed record vehicles. Mr. Railton had little involvement in the company, although he did receive a royalty for each vehicle built. One of Reid Railton's principal clients was an individual by the name of Mr. Cobb. John Rhodes Cobb was an individual who had the necessary means and finances to participate competitively in racing during the 1920s. His list of impressive cars included a 10-liter Fiat, a 27-liter Parry Thomas Special named the 'Babs' Special and even a 10.5-liter Delage V12. His Delage was even driven to a lap record at the Brooklands circuit with an average speed of nearly 130 mph.
Mr. Railton, who worked as Technical Director for Thomas & Taylor, was responsible for designing John Cobb's 1933 Napier Railton car and the Railton Mobil Special car, along with Sir Malcolm Campbell's Bluebird Land Speed Record cars during the early 1930s. The Railton Mobil Special car set the Land Speed Record in 1938 with a speed of 353.30 mph. It was also the first car to break the 350 mph barrier. It was powered by two supercharged Napier Lion VIID W-12 aircraft engines. With further development, it re-set the land speed record in 1947 at 394.7 mph.
In 1932, Hudson Motors introduced the Terraplane model which would remain in production until 1938. The Terraplane automobile was inexpensive yet powerful. With the help of Hudson's other models, the company would win 72 official performance records by 1934.
After the evaluation of the Hudson product, an agreement was made with the Railton Company to import the straight eight-cylinder chassis. The chassis and suspension were modified and fitted with custom coachwork by independent coachbuilders. The first Railton received two-door tourer coachwork by British coachbuilder John Charles Ranalah. This was followed by other body styles including Saloons, Drop Head Coupes, and Touring Cars.
These British-American hybrid cars benefitted from the durability of the American engines and the styling and handling of British engineering. The early cars were powered by a 4-liter 8-cylinder engine. In 1935, the engine grew in size and offered 13 more horsepower, now rated at 113 BHP. A smaller six-cylinder car was added to the lineup in 1937. An even smaller Railton was introduced in 1938 and built on a Standard Flying Nine chassis.
In 1939, Noel Macklin sold the Railton Company to Hudson Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan. Production soon ended due to the outbreak of World War II.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2015
1937 Railton Fairmile II
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|1941||Chevrolet (1,008,976)||Ford (691,455)||Plymouth (522,080)|
|1940||Chevrolet (764,616)||Ford (541,896)||Plymouth (430,208)|
|1939||Chevrolet (577,278)||Ford (487,031)||Plymouth (423,850)|
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