Fastest machine ‘in’ Earth for sale at classic car auction!
Kholod scramjet rocket
At a classic car auction by RM Auctions in London’s Battersea Park on 8 September, tucked in between, I’m guessing, and old Alvis and probably a super expensive 1960s Ferrari 250, will be… well not a classic car at all.

‘And next up I have for you, with just two careless owners from new, the fastest machine within Earth’s atmosphere, one HFL Kholod rocket!’ Gosh. I wonder if there’s a reserve on it?!

Initially I thought this was one of those April Fools or Christmassy press releases, but it’s dated 17 July. No this is for real. This rocket is one of nine made as part of a $95m joint venture between NASA and the Russian Institute for New Propellants in the 1990s. It was, and theorectically still is I suppose, capable of Mach 6.47 (4310mph or 6936kph) – sorry, you have a Bugatti what? Pfftt…!

That made it the fastest serially produced machine to travel within Earth’s atmosphere. But whoever buys this might have a bit of a issue getting it running again as it used pioneering propulsion technology – cryongenically cooled liquid hydrogen utilising oxygen from the surrounding atmosphere, rather than storing it onboard, otherwise known as ‘scramjet’.

Of the nine rockets, five were destroyed during tests runs up at altitudes of 35km. One of the remaining four is already in a private collection right here in the Middle East apparently, while the others were still at the Kazakhstan base were the tests took place.

But in less than two months you could bid on a HFL Kholod rocket system alongside 70 vintage and classic cars. Hopefully it will come with full service history, provenance, and matching numbers! It’s all a bit rather surreal.

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