The 20th century was filled with attempts to break the sound barrier. It wasn’t until the end of the century, in 1997, that a car was able to fly past that milestone.
The “barrier” refers to the effects on a vehicle (usually aircraft) as they approach supersonic speed, 767 mph (343 meters per second). For years it was believed that aircraft (and other vehicles) would not be able to surpass that barrier, and then they did.
On October 15, 1997, the Thrust SSC or “Super Sonic Car” surpassed that barrier in the Nevada desert. Driven by Andy Green (an RAF Wing Commander), the car achieved 763 mph and became the first car to break the sound barrier.
Eighteen years later, the record still stands as the fastest speed by a car and, thanks to the power of the internet, you can watch — and hear — that record-setting feat.
The actual crack of breaking the sound barrier occurs at 2:31.