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Full steam ahead for record-challenging streamliner

Florida-based Cyclone Power Technologies is close to completing a steam-powered streamliner that could set a new land speed record.

Owner, builder, driver Chuk Williams hopes to set new land speed records in the Cyclone-Williams LSR streamliner. Cyclone Power Technologies

Steam-powered engines have been around for about 300 years, but they've never been known for amazing speeds. Now, a company in Florida and a streamliner designer from Tennessee are building a steam-powered streamliner vehicle.

Cyclone Power Technologies

Cyclone Power Technologies today announced it is working to "complete installation of the engine, gearbox, and fiberglass body" of the Cyclone-Williams LSR streamliner--a steam-powered car that could set a new land speed record.

More traditional land speed record-breaking streamliner vehicles, such as Poteet & Main's Speed Demon, can reach speeds of more than 450 mph, with 1045 hp and 672 pound-feet of torque. The steam-powered LSR is expected to reach speeds of more than 160 mph on an expected 100 hp--about the same as a 1.5-liter, five-speed subcompact such as a Mazda2 or Toyota Yaris--but with 850 pound-feet of torque.

Designed by Chuk Williams of the U.S. Land Steam Record Team, the LSR is designed to set new standards in steam-powered vehicles.

"With the Cyclone engine, we feel that we have an excellent chance of breaking the existing record of 148 mph set by the British team Inspiration," Williams said in a statement. "We need to bring this historic record back to the United States, and we want to do it with a steam engine that can eventually be placed into everyday passenger and commercial vehicles--something that hasn't been done in over 100 years."

"Our calculations show that we can break this record with our stock automotive engine," Cyclone founder Harry Schoell said. "We considered modifying the engine and combustion chamber to increase power output and speed, which we may do in the future. But for right now, we think it's important to demonstrate the power, clean emissions, and multifuel qualities of a Cyclone engine as you may possibly see it one day in an American-made Ford or Chevy."