All those who knew Charles Burnett III were shocked and greatly saddened to receive the news of his death.
Charles Burnett III, Tonia Bern-Campbell and Don Wales with British Steam Car 'Inspiration'
Lord Montagu said: “Charles helped a number of local charities including the National Motor Museum Trust. His relationship with the National Motor Museum started when my father and I introduced him to the steam car project. This was a student exercise at Southampton University but the plans had not gone beyond the drawing board. Charles took up the challenge with great enthusiasm, invested in the best engineers and, after further development, produced the car which set a new world speed record at 148mph. We were subsequently pleased to provide space for the car in the museum’s Land Speed Record display area. More recently, Charles made a substantial donation to the National Motor Museum Trust.
“He will be remembered for his great generosity to charities and individuals, mischievous sense of fun, wonderful parties and love of fast vehicles. Prior to setting the steam car record, he was the class II offshore power boat champion between 1993 and 1996. The sadness is that he was working on a number of exciting plans for the future including another steam car, which was quite well advanced. Whilst he his death was premature, he went in the way that he might well have chosen, at speed!”
The record-breaking steam car Inspiration in which Charles Burnett III set his world record remains on show in the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu as part of the Land Speed Record display. It is a landmark of alternative fuel technology, having played its part in the century-old British quest for ultimate speed that continues today with the Bloodhound SSC project.