Picture of The Day: Opel RAK 2 rocket car

The Bloodhound SSC land speed record car will attempt to break the 1,000mph next year, most of the power being provided by a socking-great rocket.

Rockets cars are nothing new. People have probably been experimenting with them even since before the internal combustion engine was invented.

Back in the 1920s, for reasons that seem to have been lost, German carmaker Opel thought it would have a go at building its own rocket car.

The first attempt, the RAK 1, was a disaster, only reaching 47mph. RAK 2, seen here, was the second. Where RAK 1 was just A Car with a few rockets strapped on, RAK 2 was a proper machine. The latest thinking on aerodynamics was applied to the bodywork, including the downforce-generation wing which was a real innovation at the time.

And it had 24 solid rocket boosters stuffed up its bottom. In May 1928, Fritz von Opel drove RAK 2 at the Avus track in Berlin to 143mph. In an open cockpit, with no helmet. And 24 quite large explosions going on behind his head. Nutter.

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