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Enterprise
Owned by Norm "Wizard" Smith   Select Image to Enlarge
4 August 1931 Well wishers surround Norman 'Wizard' Smith's 'Enterprise', before his attack on the world land speed record. The attempt was successful, and on 26 January 1932 at Ninety-mile Beach, New Zealand, the 'Enterprise' reached 164 miles per hour, to capture the 10 mile record. Reproduced in The Labor Daily 5th August 1931, State Library of NSW. Picture - Sam Hood
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Norman "Wizard" Smith at wheel of the car "F.H. Stewart Enterprise" in street, c1931 (Don harkness Archive Collection, Powerhouse Museum)
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launch of car "F.H. Stewart Enterprise", c1931 (Don harkness Archive Collection, Powerhouse Museum)
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Norman "Wizard" Smith and [Cyril Westcott, General Manager of C.C. Wakefield & Co. Ltd Australasia?] beside the car "F.H. Stewart Enterprise", c1931 (Don harkness Archive Collection, Powerhouse Museum)
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Group portrait of men inspecting the car "F.H. Stewart Enterprise", c1931
Typed caption on reverse 'World's Land Speed Record. From left to right:- Mr. Don Harkness, designer and builder, Mr. Norman "Wizard" Smith, driver, and Mr. A.R. Code of the Vacuum Oil Co.m discussing the engine of the "F.H. Stewart Special", with Mr. Don Bradman the famous cricketer. Photo by courtesy of the Vacuum Oil Co. Pty. Ltd.' (Don harkness Archive Collection, Powerhouse Museum)

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Group inspecting the car "F.H. Stewart Enterprise", "The Sun" Picture Bureau, 1931
From left to right: Jock Clarke (C.C. Wakefield & Co Ltd), Cyril Westcott (General Manager of C.C. Wakefield & Co Ltd Australasia), Norman "Wizard" Smith and Don Harkness. Photo is inscribed on front 'Best Wishes & Congratulations on your "Enterprise" Cyril L. Westcott August 1931'. (Don harkness Archive Collection, Powerhouse Museum)

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group inspecting the car "F.H. Stewart Enterprise" in workshop, c1931
Typed caption on reverse: 'World's Land Speed Record/ Mr Norman"Wizard Smith illustrating the driving position of the F.H. Stewart Special to Mr Don Bradman, Mrs Smith and Mr A.R, Code of the Vacuum Oil Co./ Photo by courtesy of the Vacuum Oil Co. Pty. Ltd.' Second typed caption on reverse: 'One for the Road/ Designer Don Harkness in shirtsleeves on the right, believed the Enterprise could reach 280m.p.h., 40 m.p.h. faster than Malcolm Campbell's world record. But a feud developed between driver Wizard Smith, Harkness and backers of the venture and it ended in failure. Here Don Bradman, at left wearing a hat, inspects the immensely strong chassis of the car.' The words 'One for the Road' indicate that Harkness supplied the photo to Jack Pollard for his book of that title. (Don harkness Archive Collection, Powerhouse Museum)

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group portrait of men inspecting the car "F.H. Stewart Enterprise", c1931. From left to right: Unidentified, unidentified, Norman "Wizard" Smith, D.J. Harkness, unidentified. (Don harkness Archive Collection, Powerhouse Museum)
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detail of the car "F.H. Stewart Enterprise", c1931 (Don harkness Archive Collection, Powerhouse Museum)
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group portrait of men inspecting the frame of the car "F.H. Stewart Enterprise", c1931
D.J. Harkness is in the centre of the photograph. The man seventh from the right, holding a hat, is probably Harkness's brother-in-law, William Wallbank. (Don harkness Archive Collection, Powerhouse Museum)

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detail of the car "F.H. Stewart Enterprise", c1931 (Don harkness Archive Collection, Powerhouse Museum)

Wizard' Smith's 'Enterprise', designed by Sydney engineer Don Harkness, the 26 foot long vehicle was powered by a 1700 horsepower aircraft engine.

A sponsoring cartel was formed and Smith's colleague, designer Don Harkness, soon unveiled the "Fred H. Stewart Enterprise" (named after one of its major backers). This ungainly contraption resembled an early Hoover vacuum cleaner laid lengthwise, but it sounded like an airplane-logically enough: Harkness had stuffed a Rolls-Royce Schneider Trophy aero engine under its bumpy bonnet. He had also added tail fins and the whole thing was painted gold, with the driver in his open cockpit looking like a man sitting up in bed.
Smith, his crew, and the Fred H. Stewart Enterprise landed at Ninety Mile Beach near Auckland, in New Zealand, during December, 1931, ready to try to beat Malcolm Campbell to a new world record (held by Campbell at 246.09 mph since the previous February).
Gentlemanly as always, Campbell sent Smith a cable expressing good wishes. He could have saved his money; no sooner had the Aussies encamped than the project dissolved into bad luck, bickering and rotten weather. All three persisted for weeks, hovered over by the malicious second-guessing for which newspapers are so famous.
While Smith and Harkness publicly questioned each other's intelligence, integrity and ancestry, the Fred H. Stewart Enterprise just sat there. When it finally got running, Smith broke the world 10-mile record of 164.084 mph as a preliminary to the all-important flying mile.
He never got a crack at it; the Enterprise caught fire and conked out in a run after the 5-mile mark. His patience finally snapped, Smith returned to Australia, engaged in a nasty legal wrangle with his detractors, and then disappeared forever from the scene. The Fred H. Stewart Enterprise disappeared along with him-leaving Fred H. Stewart, presumably, holding the bag.

Records

Distance Date Location Driver Speed
10 mile 26 January 1932 Ninety Mile Beach, New Zealand Norm Smith 164MPH

Where is it now?

I have been told, as rumour only, that the cut-up chassis was buried under engineer Don Harkness' later workshop, now the site of the Drummoyne R.S.L.Club, on Victoria Road in the Sydney suburb of Drummoyne.

When the British motoring historian (and film editor) Ted Inman Hunter was in Sydney in the 1940s, he asked Harkness about the 'Enterprise', and Harkness went and found a huge file of drawings and gave them to him, more or lrss oncondition that he took them as far away as possible, as he (Harkness) never wanted to see them again.

At this time the Rolls engine was inatalled in the basement of the Bank of New South Wales head office, 341 George St., Sydney, powering an emergency generating plant. When (rarely) fired up, it shook the building, and sent fine jets of water everywhere from its vast number of small, inter-cylinder water hoses. Sadly, it was scrapped in the 1950.

 
 
 
 

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