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A diminutive of the female given name Barbara with suffix -s (-sy).
Babs was the land speed record car built and driven by John Parry-Thomas. It was powered by a 27-litre Liberty aero-engine. Babs began as 'Chitty 4', one of Count Louis Zborowski's series of aero-engined cars named 'Chitty Bang Bang'. As it was built at Zborowski's estate of Higham Park near Canterbury, it was also known as the Higham Special. Using a 450 hp V12 Liberty aero engine of 27 litres capacity, with a gearbox and chain-drive from a pre-war Blitzen Benz, it was the largest capacity racing car ever to run at Brooklands. Still not fully developed by the time of Zborowski's death in 1924, it was purchased from his estate by J.G. Parry-Thomas for the sum of £125. Parry-Thomas rechristened the car "Babs" and rebuilt it with four Zenith carburettors and his own design of pistons. In April 1926, Parry-Thomas used the car to break the land speed record at 171.02 mph. Babs used exposed chains to connect the gearbox to the drive wheels. It has been said that the high engine cover required Parry-Thomas to drive with his head tilted to one side. This story is of course nonsense: photographs show that the bonnet was not that high and the driver can see straight ahead.
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