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US spook just record speed bump
Rosco McGlashan with his new engine. Picture: Steve Ferrier/The West Australian

Interrogation by the US Department of Homeland Security will not budge Rosco McGlashan from what he describes as his life's course to raise the world land speed record.

McGlashan, who set Australia's record of 802.6km/h in 1994, said a special agent from the department had made a surprise phone call demanding to know details of where he bought parts of his rocket engine. The call had been triggered when he revealed on his website that the engine included an injector from a US Atlas rocket, which had travelled at speeds of more than 8000km/h.

He said the agent had been shocked to learn he had sourced the parts from a shop in California through long-time US contacts. After swapping several emails, he believes he has now alleviated any issues with his buy.

"It's a very intricate part of American history and obviously it cost the US taxpayer a lot of money, so they were a bit disturbed to see I had one sitting in Mullaloo and it was going in my car," McGlashan said. "Obviously, we're out to make friends and not enemies and they haven't knocked on the door yet, put it that way."

McGlashan's new rocket engine, which roars to 220 decibels, is powered more simply than its jet counterpart and is propelled by liquid oxygen and kerosene.

The 62-year-old is adamant his car will tear through the 1600km/h mark next year and smash the 1227.986km/h world record set by British Royal Air Force fighter pilot Andy Green in 1997. He is planning several runs, initially to break his Australian record and then to go past the world mark, which the British team is also aiming to extend.

McGlashan said the latest incarnation of his Aussie Invader was three-quarters finished. It was recently valued at $1.5 million and he is searching for a sponsor to fund up to $500,000 to help him get it to the starting line.

He is hunting for a suitable plot, stretching 26km, of alkaline clay-based land for his world record attempt. He hopes it is somewhere in WA, possibly in the Pilbara, so the record could be claimed in his home State.

"This is the best land speed car that has ever been built . . . it's quicker than a bullet," he said.

"It will be the greatest event in motorsport history and it's here on our doorstep. There's no ego trip in it for me or my crew. It's an ego trip for Australia to say we've got the world land speed record and we've built a car in downtown Mullaloo that's gone faster than any car in the world."