Figure 6: The Need for Speed

This plot shows the history of manned speed records on land, sea, and air. Hover for details. Only successful (i.e. survivable) runs are counted. Dashed lines indicate records excluding propulsion mechanisms contrary to the normal nature of the platform (land and sea vehicles that are propelled by thrust, rather than interaction with the ground or water, and air vehicles with non-airbreathing engines).

Only powered vehicles are included here, because speed records of the unpowered predecessors are not well recorded. The clipper Sovereign of the Seas' 1854 run at 25.3mph likely held the sea record until Arrow in 1903. The land record was probably on horseback or potentially on a bicycle until overtaken by steam locomotives in the late 1820s. And the air record was probably held by a glider that pulled out of a steep dive at nearly terminal velocity until the early 1910s.

All of these records were obliterated when Yuri Gagarin kicked off the manned space race in 1961. The overall manned speed record is actually held by Apollo 10, which re-entered at 24,790 mph.

These records are merged from many different rulesets, so there is no consistent regulation for distance travelled or wind direction. Since 1924, FIA and FIM rules dictate most of the indicated land speed records (speed over 1 mile, averaged over opposing runs). Modern air records are measured in air-speed, putting them on slightly different footing to land and sea records. Sea data prior to 1874's Sir Arthur Cotton is almost certainly incomplete.

I just love the mindset that decided "strap a rocket to it" was a reasonable strategy. And when something like that isn't allowed, we have turboshafts!

If Bloodhound actually hits 1,000mph, it will absolutely demolish the existing record.

Some of this history is absolutely terrifying. Because flying a rocket-powered plane wasn't extreme enough, some of these records were set in a dive. The overall land speed record has been held by motorcycles (well, two wheeled streamliners that don't look anything like what you're picturing). But nothing compares to the high speed boat record; the majority of attempts to beat it have been fatal (including the only example of a rocket boat that I found).