December '19

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32 THE SHOP DECEMBER 2019 I first went to Bonneville Speed Week in 1975 after reading about it for years in HOT ROD magazine as a kid. It was an odd place to go on our honeymoon, but my wife and I had a great time, made many new friends and definitely got salt fever. I rubbed salt in that wound until the early 2000s, when I managed to run my own car—a 1928 roadster with a Bill Mitchell Products engine—and set a record at 208.454 mph with my partner Jimmy Shine driving. Bonneville is a tough place to race—evi- dence 2019—but it's very addictive, and racers return year after year in search of that elusive red hat, which is pretty much all you get for breaking a record at over 200 mph. However, it's not that easy—the hat does not come automatically with a run over 200 mph. The Bonneville 200 MPH Club sets arbitrary minimums to qualify for the hat. For example, in 2018, my good Brit friend Geoff Stilwell of BUA Motorsport set a record in his rear-engine modified '27 roadster at 258.569 mph, but was told that the minimum for the hat in that class was a steep 290 mph. Quite why the 2Club sets those arbitrary minimums I don't under- stand, but there it is. Stilwell subsequently had the car totally rebuilt at Mick's Paint in Pomona, Cali- fornia, where Mick Jenkins employs race car-experienced fabricators. Indeed, Jenkins and his team were heavily involved in the GM/SO-CAL Speed Shop LSR program of the early-2000s when GM set numerous records. GOING FOR THE RED HAT In order to reach the 300-mph goal, Stil- well needed a strong engine and turned to Jon Beck of Vintage Hot Rod in Chico, California. Beck has a lot of LSR expe- rience and currently runs his own #911 300-mph roadster with partner/driver Dave Davidson. Officially tagged World's Fastest Roadster, this '34 has gone 304 mph. Knowing that he knew how to get there, Stilwell went with Beck's tried-and-true formula. Bonneville— 32 THE SHOP DECEMBER 2019 Racers make a pilgrimage for speed. The Great White Dyno By Tony Thacker Bonneville is a tough place to race, but it's very addictive, and racers return year after year.

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