Bonneville Salt Flats Rods, Racing & People

Coupe

Salt Flats Speed Shop Open House August 10th

A quick plug for the Salt Flats Speed Shop Open House on August 10th (Wednesday before Speedweek).  Chris will have the Rolling Bones Hot Rod Shop as Special Guests again with more hot rods and land speed race cars this year.  It’s a can’t miss for any coming out to Speedweek!


Odd Balls

In this post, I wanna show off some odd ball cars.  Bonneville seems to have a decent amount of crazy.  The standard racer you will see at Bonneville is the Ford Model T, A and B roadsters, 1927 through 1934.  Lakesters (open wheeled racers) and Streamliners (covered wheel racers) are what you’ll see littering the salt as well.

One of the fastest most odd balls our there is this 1959 Berkeley convertible  called “Bonner’s Bad Berkeley”, which has been totally modified in the front per the Modified Sports (MS) rules.  This car has gone 310 MPH “out the back door” and will be bringin’ the boosted heat again at Speedweek 2011.

This C engine Gas Altered (C/GALT) coupe is Japanese in lineage.  That’s right, this is a Datsun.  Not the popular Datsun 510 or 240Z, but a 210 (I’m pretty sure).  This thing has gotta be a handful… it’s so narrow and short with the powerful V8 up front. 

Ok, I’m not sure what this bright yellow custom rod is.  It’s got lots of body mods and a totally custom, modern interior.  Anyone know what we’re looking at here?  A Nash?  A Henry J?  Who knows!

Ok, so a VW Bug is not an odd ball as far as the fact that they were in production with the same basic model for like 50 years throughout the world, but it is an odd ball for being a land speed racing chassis.  I mean, Come On!?  The VW Bug has like speed brake aerodynamics, its anti-aero.  haha  It runs in the Fuel Altered class with an F motor where the class record is held by a Honda CRX at 187 MPH.  I remember chatting with the Stahl Racing guys and I think they said the Bug has run in the high 160’s. 

I’m not sure what this is either.  It’s a Suzuki bullet bike motor powered Comp Coupe, that’s a mouth full.  I’ll have to check out the website on the roof, AndySaundersCustoms.com, maybe there’s more info.

Pontiac Fiero’s are funky cars, mid engine Pontiac sports cars, sort of Poor Man Porsches in a way.  So, how do you make a funky car, funkier?  Stretch out the nose, sit where the stock engine use to be mounted, and throw a big V8 up front and get ready to go fast.

I’ll finish tonights quirky quick cars with this chop top, long nose, almost-funny car lookin’ 1st Gen Mazda RX7 called “Sundance”.  Look at the hood scoop!  It is in line with the roof and has a nice ramp for the incoming air to ride up into the scoop.


Chop Top Bonneville Coupes

Found some mean lookin’ coupes from my Speedweek photos.   Been going through some HAMB build threads, 2 local Utah dudes from the Throttlers Car Club.  Made me look back through my photos and found these…

This is a great lookin’ ’33-34 (still need to learn the differences between ’em) chop top coupe I spotted at World Finals 2009 just after sunrise.  I like the color scheme too.  According to its class markings on the door, it runs in the UnblownVintage Fuel Flathead Altered class.  Checking SCTA’s site, the class record is 134MPH.

Roy Creel’s chop top Coupe is easily the top coupe in dry lakes racing right now.  I found this hanging from the window with some cool info about the car and its records.

The coolest part is its running a vintage 4 cylinder, a 1934 Model B to be exact.  It’s running a Nelson & Nelson billet aluminum head and fuel injection. Running gas, it has set the record at 157MPH, with fuel, it gets bumped up to 173.  Quite a difference!

There’s the aluminum headed B motor.  Cool!

Sweet 5 window coupe street rod from the Gear Grinders Car Club cruising the pits at Speedweek 2009. Man, my tastes are really starting to get fine tuned.  As much as I dig this street rod style, I much prefer a more traditional style hot rod.  Cool Avanti in the background as well.

Cool pic here under the canopy of the Tech Inspection area.  Sweet blown chop top deuce coupe with the blower hat turned around.  Next to it a belly tank lakester and another blown coupe of some sort 2 down.  The Tech Inspsection area is a cool place to hang out.  You learn alot and get to see many details of the race cars as the men in white carefully check off each car.

Now, heading over to the Nugget Casion cruise in in Wendover…Pretty sure this “59C” coupe is a Rolling Bones car.  See, compare this with the street rod deuce up above and I much prefer this chop top coupe.  Gimme steelies, black walls, flatheads and paint instead of chrome.  Oh, and lightly salted please!

So, I’ve kinda always skipped over this photo ’cause it doesn’t show the entire car, but tonight, I really dig it.  I like the vintage lettering on this one.

This tractor nosed chop top coupe (I think its a Model A) really talks to me.  I love the steering arm blister, the holed windshield visor, low ride height.  Perfection right there!

I really dig this wide white wall dark maroon coupe.  Sits super low and has that traditional flare to it I like.

That’s it for now.


A 62′ Galaxie, 5 Window Coupe and Two New Friends

It’s no secret that I fell in love with this Mild Custom ’62 Galaxie 500 at Speedweek 2009 (check out the background picture for the blog in the top right).  I did a feature story with a few of my favorite photos on MyRideisMe.com HERE.  

But, over the last year and a half since that day in August 2009, I have gained a big appreciation for the 5 Window Coupe as well.  Of course, with 2 wicked hot rods, the owners have to be just as cool right?  A lot of hot rodding for me is meeting people with the same passion.  People who eat, sleep and breath cars like I do.  I really dig dudes (and gals) who build their own cars. 

This blog entry is more about the experience surrounding my introduction to Nick, ex-owner of the Galaxie (no worries, he’s got another hot rod up his sleeve) and Jeff, owner of the 5 Window and their cool hot rods from Nebraska.

I first spotted Nick’s Galaxie on Friday cruising around the pit area.  I snapped a few photos and knew it was a stand out hot rod to me.

My buddy Craig from MyRideisMe.com and I headed over to the 9:00 am drivers meeting.  We found out we could drive down the track to check it out, so we ran over to his ’27 Model T lakes modified roadster appropriately named “Bonnie”, fired up the twin carb’d 4 cylinder and not knowing what the protocol was, just started following the others to the starting line and onto the track.  As we were heading down the track, we spotted Nick again with his dad riding shotgun.

Here’s Nick and his dad, with their car guy arms hanging out the window enjoying the moment.  This would make the long trek out from Nebraska all worth it.

Here Craig and I reach Mile Marker 6 and soon pull off.  What a trip it was to drive down the Long Course where man and machine have gone 400, 500, 600 and even 700+ MPH in years past.  Wow!  Amazing history has been set on this white, salty ground.

As we pulled off, we noticed Nick and Jeff in their rods right behind us.  We didn’t know their names yet as we hadn’t actually met.  Almost simultaneously and spontaneously, we all headed west away from the return road out into the virgin salt.  Virgin salt is a whole different experience compared to the salt that cars have driven over and purposefully dragged with equipment used to flatten the salt for make shift pit roads.  Virgin salt is much more thick, chunky and sticky.  The open wheels of Craig’s ’27 Lakes Roadster were launching salt chunks up into the air and it landed all over the car, inside and out.  So cool!  So, we slowed down, all 3 cars and we parked to snap some beauty shots of the cars.  We met Nick and Jeff and introduced ourselves, then started snapping pictures.  I was able to take some epic photos.  Well, to me they are.  Partly because the photos turned out cool and partly because I really felt a part of the hot rod scene and all that is Bonneville.

Here’s Jeff’s 5 Window Coupe.  It’s certainly an unfinished car, but it has all the workings of a traditional hot rod.  I’m a big sucker for wide white wall tires on steelies and Jeff’s Coupe is working the big n little look nicely.  I blew it though, I didn’t get enough photos of Jeff’s coupe.  To be honest, I didn’t appreciate it enough at the time.  It’s since that ride in Craig’s roadster and seeing the old Model A and 30’s Fords that I’ve fallen in love with this era of Fords, the coupes, roadsters, sedans and pickups. 

We didn’t know it, but Jeff had brought along with him a homemade land speed racer, of a smaller scale.

Yes, this is Jeff and his home made rocket powered land speed racer.  LOL!  It needed some work though, it was a little unstable.  I think it needed a streamliner body fabbed up or at least a vertical tail.  haha  I wonder if Jeff has been fine tuning this machine for Speedweek 2011.  haha

This was my first trip to Bonneville with the nice Digital SLR camera.  This photoshoot just sort of happened.  It was not planned at all.  It worked out great, the way Nick and Jeff parked their cars, the mountains in the background, the photo editing skills of my wife and boom, my most favorite photo of Speedweek 2009.  My most favorite 10 minutes as well.  I chatted with Nick, Jeff and Nicks dad.  Come to find out he used to own a Comet like my dad had.  We got the details on the hot rods while we snapped away on our cameras.  Then we found out that Nick and Jeff drove out with a small group of guys from Nebraska.  That just made the story even cooler. 

I’m a HUGE CAR NUT, no doubt.  But, my involvement in the car scene has been very limited.  I have put my priorities on raising a family, going to college and taking care of grown up responsibilites.  So, my involvement in the scene has been limited to going to local car shows, checking out other peoples hot rods from a distance.  I don’t know a lot of guys who have cool hot rods.  After Speedweek 2009 was over and regular life resumed, I became Facebook friends with Nick and Jeff.  We’re not super close or anything, but I comment on Nick’s latest build, a ’29 Ford Roadster built in the traditional way and can’t wait to see these guys in their hot rods at Speedweek 2011.  It’s my small story, but its mine and it means a lot to me.  I love cars.  I love hot rods.  I love Bonneville.  I have Salt Fever bad and can’t wait to get my fix.  I’m counting the days!

See you on the Salt!


Roadsters and Coupes and Subscibing by email

Ok, time to look at some Bonneville coupes and roadsters, the bread and butter of the salt flats history.

I’ll start off with the “VooDoo Speed Lounge” coupe.  This is one of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken and unfortunately, it was with the old point and shoot, not the D90 Digital SLR camera.  This was taken at Speedweek 2008 I believe.  It might have even been World of Speed 2008.  I can’t remember any more.  I’m not expert in telling the difference between 33’s and 34’s, but I believe that’s what this is.  I dig the finned valve covers, ram horn exhaust mani’s and the red grille.   I think this photo would look cool in black and white too. 

You can’t get any cooler than the Rolling Bones deuce coupes lined up here at Speedweek 2010.  The signature aggressive chop, weathered paint jobs, traditional power plants, they all make for amazing pieces of hot rod art.  The coolest part about these deuces is the fact that they were driven across the country from New York state all the way to Bonneville. 

This 1931 Hudson (I only knew that because its license plate said 31HDSN) was definitely in my Top 5 hot rods crusing the pits at Speedweek 2010.  Those wheels in the rear are one of the best looking designs.  The cream paint was different and it totally worked.  The Hemi up front looked the part too.  The entire package is absolutely perfect to me. 

This scalloped deuce roadster with convertible top was purty.  The yellow wheels with red/white paint and tan top at first just rubbed me weird, but now that I’ve looked at it a few more times, its really starting to work well together.  Either way, its super clean and well built.  The spun aluminum gas tank up front (even if its not functional) is a nice touch.  Personally, I’d probably go sans tank, maybe some black wheels with white walls or maybe some white wheels with blackwalls would be my personal tweaks to bring this roadster to more of my liking.  But, a cool photo with the ’31 Hudson coupe in the background nonetheless eh?

It was nice to spot this “Dodge Boys” 1928 Dodge roadster race car from Montana running in the V4F/BSTR (translation?  Blown Vintage flathead 4 cylinder street roadster class).  Satin black paint, moon discs and serious roll cage is a nice combo.  Its also running the rear fenders.  According to the run sheets on the SCTA site (check links at your right to get to the SCTA site), this roadster ran 132 mph in the 2nd mile.  The record is 115mph, which is held by this very #60 roadster, and since the ol’ Dodge couldn’t make a second pass, the record still stands at 115 .  Now, think about this… the V8 roadsters in the late 30s, early 40’s were running in the 120-130 mph range.  So, this 4 cylinder is stout.  Cool to see the speeds increase over the years for all the various classes.

This tracknose roadster is gorgeous.  The bright yellow just pops against the bright white salt.  This car was almost too nice to drive around on the salt… almost.  haha  I don’t really know what else to say about this roadster, its … see, I can’t come up with anything intelligent.

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