Gloucestershire

Jet-powered hearse Dead Quick makes debut

Matt McKeown with his converted 1992 Ford Cardinal hearse "Dead Quick" at the Prescott Hill Climb in Gloucestershire. Image copyright PA
Image caption Cheltenham-born Matt McKeown is hoping to break the world record for the fastest hearse

An extreme engineer hopes his jet-powered hearse will lay the existing world record to rest.

The souped-up 1992 Ford Cardinal - named Dead Quick - is capable of reaching speeds of 200mph (322kmh), its creator claims.

Matt Mckeown is aiming to smash the current record of 115mph (185kmh).

Mr Mckeown, who already holds the Guinness World Record for riding a jet-propelled shopping trolley, is taking the hearse for its maiden spin later.

He said he has "never driven it before" but will be testing it out at Cheltenham's Prescott Hill Climb.

'New lease of life'

Mr McKeown bought Dead Quick after it was retired from active service last year.

Since then, he said, the vehicle has been given a "new lease of life", with an ex-RAF jet powered provost engine, racing seat and roll cage.

"A hearse makes a perfect shape for a land speed vehicle it's aerodynamic, long, thin, steady with a wedge back end," said Mr McKeown.

"Dead Quick's good for 200mph but this is a work in progress. We've got another more powerful engine we can put in but we're going to engineer all the suspension and brakes first and then we'll go for more power."

Image copyright PA
Image caption He currently holds the Guinness World Record for the Fastest Shopping Trolley, which is powered by a Chinook helicopter engine
Image copyright PA
Image caption Last year he discovered a 1992 Ford Cardinal Hearse for sale which had recently retired from active service

The current Guinness World Record for the fastest speed in a hearse is 186.04 km/h (115.60 mph) and was achieved by Australian Shane Hammond in Tasmania in 2010.

Ahead of Mr McKeown's record bid this summer, Dead Quick is being put through its paces in "low speed tests" at Prescott Bike Festival.

"I've never driven it before, the furthest I've ever driven it was getting it off a trailer and putting it on a starting grid," he said.

"I've never actually turned the wheel with the jet engine running, that's going to happen for the first time on Sunday."

Image copyright PA
Image caption This summer he will attempt to secure a new record, and speed into the history books

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