Rocket Racing with Slammin' Sammy
By Peter Broadribb
A bunch of us got to talking with Sammy Miller in England, and he and his crewman were explaining to us about the auto-shutoff system he eventually had installed on his funny car. This applied the brakes/chutes after the fuel had burnt, in case he was "out of it" at the time.
In reference to his earlier car, he said that if we looked real close, as he launched on the green light, we would see his hand come up. It wasn't a wave to the crowd; he was going for the chutes, because if he didn't get the release handle at the first attempt, it would be too late! He did wear anti-gravity suits.
He performed a very short demo at a small circuit (Crystal Palace) near central London. A friend of mine was there and watched him measure out the fuel using a sight-glass attached to the side of the fuel tank. When he had the correct amount in the tank, he removed the sight glass and discreetly tipped out the fuel onto the grass. My friend said it ignited instantly on contact with the moisture in the grass.
Another incident involving that car was after Sammy had sold it to a French man. Apparently a French news crew decided to use a helicopter to hover over the crew fuelling the tank and blew fuel everywhere. The media was not popular at all; that Peroxide stuff is not nice to the skin.
Does anyone remember Sammy's rocket dragster? Also, that he was going to run it on some glacier in Scandinavia with skis mounted on brackets which fitted on the front hubs. I saw it at the car show at the Crystal Palace with the skis in place. Never heard any more on that project.
Draglist.com shows Sammy's best times as 3.58 seconds at 386 mph. This was at Santa Pod in England. I seem to remember them saying he did zero to 100 mph in 18 inches and zero to 60 mph in 0.3
secs! They estimated him pulling 14g, which was 3g more than re-entry from a space flight.